WELLNESS: 5 Ways to Improve Your Work-Life Balance
Written by Gracie Chambers
Can you remember what pre-pandemic life was like? Think back to last March...who would have ever imagined that our world was about to be turned upside down with the arrival of a global pandemic, and so many of us would find ourselves working from home? While there are benefits to not having to go to the office—like cutting out rush hour traffic, getting more control of your schedule and only having to get dressed above the waist—there are also challenges. Many of us depended on the structure provided by “going to the office,” and the clear distinction between work and home life.
Without those separations, the lines between work and home have blurred. Our homes are no longer just our homes. Today, they are also our: offices, schools, daycares, gyms, restaurants/cafes, etc. This change has tried our relationships, forced us to rework our daily routines, altered our professional lives and brought new meaning and importance to work-life balance and self-care. Here are some simple things you can do to make working from home more fulfilling, productive and perhaps even healthier than before.
Establish a Routine
When you’re working from home, it’s easy to skip your morning routine and head straight to the computer. It’s also easy to keep working past 5 p.m., because you’re determined to cross one more thing off your to-do list before calling it a day. Establishing and committing to both a set morning and an evening routine gives you a sense of control and ultimately makes you more productive. Try starting your morning with quiet time to center yourself and clearly set your intentions for the day; then end it with a long walk to signal the close of your work day. Exercise should be an important part of your routine—it works wonders for releasing stress, clearing your head and improving sleep.
Establish Places for Work and Play
Set up a designated work space, ideally with natural light, your favorite candle and a good lamp. This not only helps with productivity and focus, but also helps you physically set boundaries between your work life and your personal life. As part of my wind-down routine, I always ensure to clean up my workspace, shut my computer and leave it there. No work leaves that room.
Be intentional about doing things that bring you joy and give you energy. In order to serve others at work and at home, you have to take care of yourself first. Whether you sneak away for a spa day, sit down to enjoy a magazine and a glass of wine, or find a quiet spot and a few minutes to close your eyes and do some breathing exercises, your time will be well spent. I highly recommend winding down at the end of the day with a hot bath filled with Epsom salts, baking soda and a few drops of lavender essential oil, which releases both stress and toxins from your body, and makes your home feel like a sanctuary.
Nourish your Body
One thing that we have all been forced to do more often during the pandemic is cook at home. While cooking may or may not be your favorite thing to do, it most definitely gives you more control over what you are eating and can be a fun family activity to do together. Cooking whole, organic meals, with lots of fresh vegetables, helps to support your overall health, your immune health and your mental health, and will leave you feeling more energized. I encourage you to continue cooking at home more frequently, even postCOVID-19.
Whether it’s grabbing coffee with a friend, scheduling a weekly Zoom happy hour with friends or family, or anything in between, staying connected with loved ones has proven to be more important than ever. Be intentional about it; try putting a different friend or family member on your calendar each week and make a point to connect with them. I like to multitask and call to connect with people during my evening walks, so I get my exercise and can catch up with friends at the same time.
Despite the challenges that working from home may bring, these tips will help you achieve a work-life balance in which you are productive, healthier and more fulfilled than ever before!