Many people have had to adjust to the work from home (WFH) environment over these past years. And while some prefer the greater flexibility and comfort, working at home presents its own unique challenges. The WFH experience can prove to be isolating or difficult to sustain motivation, with more distractions around the house. It can also be easy to feel “Zoom Fatigue,” characterized by exhaustion, anxiety or worry about endless video calls.
These are small, actionable changes that we can begin to implement into our routines to ensure we’re taking care of ourselves in our professional environments.
1- Establish a Set Work Space and Work Hours
WFH boundaries are super important for our mental health. We can set boundaries within the scope of our professional lives to give us more balance. One boundary to set is with our work spaces. Designate a specific spot in your house for work tasks only and organize it in a way that works for you. This will give you a way to mentally differentiate when you are focused on work versus your personal time. Also be sure to communicate with other members of your household about what you may need in terms of space.
Another healthy boundary for work is time blocking the hours in your day or days in your week meant for work and the hours meant for your own time. Perhaps for you, setting a work day from 8 or 9-5pm is best, where you completely shut off your work obligations in the other hours of your day. If you have less traditional work hours, you can adjust this time block to fit your schedule. Just make sure you can differentiate between the two, so your work life and personal life don’t begin to blend together. Establishing set hours for different parts of our day can be a great technique for our wellbeing to help us be more present.
2- Focus on Your Top Three Tasks
If you’re feeling overwhelmed from your seemingly endless to do list, break it up into smaller, more manageable tasks. It’s okay if we aren’t super human and able to get everything done in one sitting. Instead, start out your day by mapping out the top three most essential tasks for you to get done. Then if you have the time and energy, you can work on the less urgent tasks later. Breaking up our to do lists into more manageable bits will give us a greater peace of mind.
3- Create Boundaries With Technology
This tip sounds simple, but with constant news updates and notifications coming at us, it can be hard to limit our screen time from non-work related content. However, creating boundaries with our technology use at work is very important. We can feel even more overwhelmed if we get distracted with our devices and it takes us even longer to complete our work. Set boundaries by turning off notifications during work times, putting your phone on Do Not Disturb or even placing it somewhere across the room.
4- Get Up and Move
You don’t have to be confined to your chair your entire work day. Give yourself permission to take short breaks, even a minute or two to get up and stretch. Stretching your arms over your head, doing neck and shoulder rolls, and reaching to your toes are all simple stretches we can do when we feel tense. If you have a longer break, try to go for a short walk or do some deep breathing yoga. Moving our bodies regularly will help us to release tension and feel better, especially if we have to stay in one space for a long time while working.
5- Communicate Your Needs With Your Work
If you feel like you’re experiencing serious fatigue or anxiety from your work, ask your work how they can accommodate for you. Perhaps you can agree on doing a phone call rather than a video call if you’re feeling Zoom Fatigue. Or maybe they can help you delegate tasks better among your coworkers. It’s okay to be transparent about how you are feeling with your work. They should care about your mental health too and be able to discuss ways they can help.
If you find that you are still struggling with feelings of exhaustion or anxiety in your WFH environment, contact us for a session. Our therapists can help you identify triggers that are causing you to feel worn out, and suggest ways you can better manage stress and avoid burnout.
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