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The effects of no separation between work, family, and no down time to decompress can vary from person to person. On top of that, having to work from home can be challenging and difficult to adjust to, especially if that’s not your norm. When this happens, it can create a stressful environment for you and those around you. It’s important to create boundaries for yourself to avoid letting that stress build up in you.

Here are some tips on how you can create a boundary between your work, family, and self-care to ease the transition of working at home!

  • Designate one spot in your home as your work area. In this area, create an environment in which you can focus on your work and other priorities and try to devote this place for work only. By creating a work only space, this allows you to decompress in other areas of your home without thinking about work.
  • You might even have to share your workspace with someone else. If that’s the case, create a schedule for the space or work out a plan for sharing and dividing the space. This will help keep everything a bit more organized.
  • Create and set boundaries with your kids! Let them know that when you are in your workspace, you can’t have any interruptions unless it’s an emergency.
  • If you are working from home with other people around, have a conversation with them. Talk to them about what you need from them to make it work.
  • Take regular breaks throughout the day! Whether it be from your work or from your family, give yourself time and space away from others to clear your mind.

According to research done by the American Psychiatric Association, “regularly detaching from your work tasks—both during the workday and in your off-hours—can help restore energy in the short term and prevent burnout in the long term. Much like regular exercise and sleep, work breaks function both as prevention and intervention, Fritz says. ‘Taking regular breaks helps us to be more resilient when stressors arise, and they function as an intervention to help us deal with the daily grind’” (Weir 2019).

  • After your workday is over, decompress for a little bit in your work area before you see your family and kids. One way to do so is to just sit and relax for a few moments and do breathing exercises or meditation.
  • Create a schedule for yourself to follow during the day. While doing so, make sure to give yourself time in the morning to wake up before jumping right into work. When you’re done with work, you should be done with work for the rest of the day. That can take over any personal time you have.
  • Give yourself some reachable goals throughout the day, but don’t beat yourself up over not accomplishing these goals. By setting goals, you are also setting boundaries for yourself because you are forcing yourself to stay focused on what you need to do to reach these goals.
  • Reflect on your workday before regrouping! This is a great way to prevent mixing your work life with your personal life, and it gives you the chance to enhance your mood.
  • If a busier workday is expected, set aside 1-3 main goals to achieve for the workday. If you achieve these goals, you are more likely to feel accomplished when you reflect on your day.
  • Find an activity that you’re passionate about or haven’t done in a while. When you do this, you can escape into your own little world and you’ll find that you are calmer and more relaxed and ready to do the next thing.

Journalist Diana Raab is an expert in helping others transform and become empowered through creativity. She believes that “[the desire to escape] can also be a temporary way to withdraw from life’s stressors and challenges, whether it’s looking after a family or navigating health challenges. The escape method you choose will depend on the reason you wish to escape, what you’re escaping from, and the results you’d like to achieve” (2018). Remember to give your mind time to withdraw from life’s stressors and challenges. Your mental health matters.

Written By: Krishna Patel, Family Life Intern, Social Work, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Sources:

Weir, K. (2019). Give Me A Break. Retrieved June 2020, from https://www.apa.org/monitor/2019/01/break

Raab, D. (2018, October 25). Escaping Reality to Heal. Retrieved June 2020, from https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-empowerment-diary/201810/escaping-reality-heal