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5 Ways to Limit the Stress of Working from Home

Ditching your commute to work from home might sound like the path to pure happiness. Yet, research shows that it’s not quite as pleasurable in practice.

Gallup’s research on working from home stress conducted between April and September 2020 shows that almost a third of remote workers are stressed.[1] They’re so stressed, in fact, that they say they are always in or near a state of burnout.

That’s especially concerning because occupational burnout can lead to everything from disengagement to despair. And with the Great Resignation in full swing, employers can’t afford to lose the skills or input of talented staff members.

Of course, virtual working doesn’t have to feel like a burden or become an addiction. The key is to figure out how to balance the demands of a job with the demands of a household.

Whether you became a remote worker by chance or choice, you shouldn’t have to live under undue stressors. Apply some of the following advanced tips to keep your working from home stress from getting out of hand.

Here are five innovative strategies for lowering work from home stress.

1. Set Tech Boundaries for Everyone in Your Family

When you work virtually, you’re bound to have off-the-chart screen time. If you’re a parent, your school-age children may spend many hours daily learning on their laptops and tablets. Consequently, make sure everyone gets away from their digital devices by setting up “techless time.”

For instance, consider turning dinner into a tech-free zone, or set aside time every evening where all your family members can recharge their phones while they recharge their spirits. Reading a book, getting some exercise, or just relaxing away from technology allows you to unplug and unwind.

Be aware that middle schoolers and younger teens won’t necessarily like these rules. That’s where buying them a phone with limited capabilities can give you a parental assist. Gabb Wireless offers a thoughtfully engineered kids’ phone built without access to social media sites or the internet.[2] It’s a streamlined, practical way for you to worry less about your children being tempted to spend day and night online.

2. Stop Answering Work-Related Pings When You’re”Off the Clock”

You’re kicking back in bed with a book at 10:30 p.m. when you hear an alert on your phone. It’s your boss, asking about an assignment. Your stomach starts to churn, and your head begins to ache. Is it better to answer the call of duty (even though it could make you feel overwhelmed) or put off responding until the morning?

Unfortunately, our always-on culture promotes the belief that it’s rude to ignore texts, emails, DMs, and calls. This can lead to us feeling guilty for playing with our kids, talking with our spouse, or just living a personal life free from corporate distractions.

It can be hard to turn off the nagging suspicion that your supervisor will think less of you if you set boundaries. It’s critical to your mental health, though.

Start by telling your team when you won’t be available each day—then stick to whatever you say. Just because your house is where you do your work doesn’t mean you have to be office-ready 24/7.

3. Set Up a Specific Area for Your Home Office

The main reason for working from home stress is the feeling that you’re “on-call” no matter where you go in your house. One way to delineate your personal and professional spaces is by physically setting up at least one office area.

You don’t have to set aside a whole room as your workspace, either. Some people have found success by creating an office nook in a large walk-in closet, the corner of a room, or an area of a finished basement. The point is to have a spot that’s designed for work.

Be sure to fix up your home workspace so it’s pleasant and welcoming. Have plenty of light and decorate it attractively. You’ll feel at ease going to it when you need to get some tasks done. Plus, your household members will learn that when you’re at your remote desk, you’re technically on the job. Consequently, they’ll think twice before interrupting and causing you the frustration of having to constantly switch gears.

4. Hire a Babysitter to Give You a Break

As a parent, you can’t do it all no matter what you’ve heard or told yourself. As much as you might like to be an attention mom or dad to your younger kids, you can’t always do that and be a dependable worker at the same time. So, take a deep breath and check out the online help-wanted pages for a babysitter.

Depending on your arrangement and the age of your kids, you might only need a babysitter occasionally. Look for one who’s knowledgeable, reliable, and flexible. Be sure that the babysitter you choose has enough experience and check all referrals.

You can’t imagine the relief you’ll feel knowing that your children aren’t going to burst in on an important Zoom client call. Yes, it will cost you some money to invest in a babysitter. But if it makes you more productive and reduces your working from home stress, it’s worth a try.

(Side note: Have pets who crave tons of attention? A loving pet sitter can serve the same purpose.)

5. Allow Yourself to Use Up Sick Leave

In an office setting, employees who feel unwell frequently call in sick and use their PTO. Among the work-from-home crowd, you see a bit of difference. Lots of ailing virtual workers force themselves to slog through the day because they don’t feel good about using up their sick leave.

According to a poll released in November 2020 and evaluated by Study Finds, two-thirds of remote workers remained hesitant to use up sick leave on anything less than Covid.[3]

In other words, you might feel compelled to plug on despite aches and pains. After all, you’re home so it doesn’t matter, right? Wrong, as it turns out. Presenteeism—the act of being on the job but not being mentally focused on your responsibilities—soars among the sick. It doesn’t do anyone any good to press ahead if your body and mind require much-needed rest.

If getting as close to a stress-free existence is your goal, do what’s necessary for your health. PTO is meant to be used—even when you’re a WFH team member.

Final Thoughts

It’s not practical to expect that you can totally eliminate all your stressors as a remote worker. But you can reevaluate your choices to improve how balanced you feel at the end of each day. You can start by following these five tips on how to limit the stress of working from home.

More Tips on Dealing With Work Stress

  • How to Deal with Stress at Work in Times of Corona
  • How to Stay Motivated at Work While Working From Home
  • The Secrets to Balancing Work and Family Life

Reference

Gallup: Remote Workers Facing High Burnout: How to Turn It Around
Gabb Wireless: The Ultimate Guide to Keeping Families Connected with A Safe Phone for Kids
Study Finds: Two-thirds of Americans working remotely fear taking sick days for minor illnesses

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Meditation has been a part of my life for a couple of years, and it is now safe to say that there has been visible progress in both my productivity and relaxation. I’ve tried my best to make it a daily habit as I feel that is the only way for anyone to experience all of the benefits.

The benefits of meditation are quite extensive. Although it is most commonly perceived as a relaxation technique, in my experience that is only a very lovable plus. The benefits, being numerous, range from reducing high blood pressure and relieving symptoms of depression and similar mental illnesses to alleviating pain and even increasing creativity and overall sharpness.

Before I started practicing meditation, somehow I instinctively knew that it would be good for me, but I didn’t really understand how deep it could go until I did it myself. I am not a religious man by nature, nor did I have a guru or a spiritual leader, I just liked the idea of being alone with my thoughts and emotions. Truthfully, once you get the hang of it, you will learn more about yourself than ever before.

What do you need to meditate?

One of the perks of meditating is that it requires few to no accessories, but there are certain prerequisites you need to keep in mind.

Time

Clear your schedule for meditation. It doesn’t require a lot of time, but you should devote a certain part of the day where you are going to fit the time for meditation. It is important to distinguish this in such a manner that you are aware that the time is especially there for you.

Noiseless space

There is quite a lot of meditation music on the market, but I have concluded that nothing beats the powerful sound of silence. I believe there is something awe-inspiring in silence and that our minds and ears have grown overly accustomed to noise, so it feels really great to treat them with silence once in a while.

Something to sit on

It is true that meditation does not require sitting, but it is by far the easiest way to achieve calmness. I would recommend beginners to use a chair because it will help them keep their backs straight, but once you have passed that, a meditating cushion is a perfect choice.

Timer

The timer is basically the only physical thing you need to meditate, but even a timer is not essential. Individual meditations are timed to prevent you from rushing it, so a timer is mostly recommended for beginners. If you want to, you can buy a purpose timer for meditation, but I simply use the one on my smartphone.

Before you start meditating

Over the years, I have developed an appropriate ritual before the actual meditating that helps to get into that state of mind. It isn’t always easy, especially if your mind is troubled, but I feel that this ritual has become equally as important for me.

Exercises

Lightweight exercises, regular stretching, or, most preferably, yoga exercises are the best in keeping your muscles relaxed and your blood circulating. I believe I have never missed a warm-up and stretch before meditating as it gives me that finely tuned edge.

Get rid of distractions

Meditation is all about uniting with your inner self, so you might imagine that having a phone buzzing amidst it all is a bit of a nuisance. I devote a quiet little place in the corner of the room with every non-essential appliance in my house turned off while I am meditating.

Don’t overthink it

Clearing your mind sounds like an overly used phrase, but it is kind of a prerequisite. When I started meditating, I had the problem of not being able to focus because I was constantly thinking about every little thing.

Feel free to focus on simply relaxing for the first few meditation sessions as the journey part will come naturally after a few times. Clearing your mind can seem hard at the beginning, but that’s the trick — when you master it, you’ll start gaining the benefits of meditation.

Meditation

As you have probably thus far concluded, there are only a few rules set in stone when it comes to meditation. The point is to have some alone time with the person that is buried beneath all those layers of work-related problems and daily tasks — the real you. Keeping that in mind, there are a few tips that are going to help you achieve that level of thought.

Breathing

Taking deep breaths beforehand is recommended as it will help you relax and set the right mood for meditation. However, during the meditation you shouldn’t give too much attention to breathing; just try to do it normally. You can use the deep breathing technique in those moments when you feel like you’ve lost the momentum simply to bring back the right rhythm.

Sitting position

It is a common misconception that you have to sit in a particular way in order to meditate. The truth is that any position will work as long as it feels comfortable. The famous Lotus position is frequently connected with meditation, but it is not exclusive. Keep your back straight, your arms relaxed, and your eyes closed — meditation comes from your mind, not your body.

Length

When I started meditating daily, I had the time and patience to meditate for five minutes at best. It is not necessarily a bad thing since any time spent meditating is better than none. Not only is it difficult to envision one sitting for hours like a monk, but it is also not necessary. I truly noticed results (increased overall energy and productivity) when I started meditating for around 25 minutes each day.

Focus on the goal

The purpose of any meditation is to clear your mind and assert your presence by distancing yourself from the material world that surrounds you. Spoken in plain English, the goal is to create a habit of taming your own thoughts and emotions.

Sometimes you’ll get bored, at times you’ll even be frustrated, and that is alright, just don’t get discouraged. As it is with any exercise, mastering meditation takes time and commitment, just have in mind that you are doing it for yourself.

Meditation can and will enrich your life and is one of the best weapons in our mind’s arsenal for fighting everyday modern stress.

 

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