This article was written by Health in Mind.
Visit the Health in Mind Covid-19 page for more resources and updates.
For the first time for many of us, our homes have now become our everything; our workspaces, classrooms, gyms and places for entertainment. This means that when we’ve finished work, trying to switch off without a change in scenery can be difficult.
We’ve listed a few tips below that can help you to switch off when working from home during this time.
Have a routine
One of the most important things that you can do is build a routine and stick to it. This means waking up, starting and finishing your work and taking your lunch at the same time. If you can, try not to start work early or finish late, just to get on top of things.
Bookend your day
Try to get into a rhythm of doing an activity before and after you finish work. This will help you to know when you’re at work and when you aren’t. If possible try to bookend your day with the same activity to help create a sense of routine. For example, you could use your time for exercise after work and take a stroll around the block as your ‘commute’ home.
Define your desk
It is important that we maintain the boundaries between our work and personal space. If you can, keep your work in an area that doesn’t intrude into the rest of the house. This means when you start work you are at work and when you are finished, you can move into a different space to relax and unwind.
If you are tight on space, try and tidy everything away at the end of the day so that you don’t have visual reminders of your work or your to-do list. You could also have other cues to signal to you when your work is over, like drinking from a different mug.
Switch off your work phone
Try to not answer your emails outside of your designated working hours. When your working day finishes, put your work phone away and try not to check your work emails if you have them on your personal phone. One of the best ways that you can do this is to put your phone out of reach, such as on the other side of the room.
Enjoy your evenings
It is important to try and clear your head in the evening. Try to do something each evening that you can lose yourself in and forget about the working day. Whether it’s catching up with a friend on the phone or video chat, cooking your favourite meal, spending time on a hobby, or learning something entirely new. The most important thing is to enjoy getting lost in the moment and forget about the working day.
Find another purpose
Having a sense of purpose that is separate to your work can help you switch off by focusing your attention onto other things. Why not look into volunteering in the evening, to help give you something to focus on outside of work? There are lots of volunteering options that you can do while still abiding by social distancing practices. Take a look at Volunteer Scotland for some ideas: www.volunteerscotland.net
We will inevitably have times when we think about work outside of our working hours, and that is okay too. Don’t be hard on yourself if you are struggling to switch off – it takes time to adjust.
This is an opportunity to try out different strategies on how to switch off, see what works best for you, and take these with you into the future.