The Ugly Side of Working From Home

August 13, 2021

When the pandemic hits and companies decide to have everyone working from home, I’m sure many of us have the thought of how exhilarating and fantastic the idea is. The thought of waking up in your pyjamas and straight ahead working without even bothering what ties goes well with what shirt or which colour of my blouse goes well with my red stilettos, I mean come on. No shit Sherlock, you can’t even deny that those thoughts make you drool in excitement. The luxury of waking up just on time for work, free from having to endure the hustle of commuting, I’m sure working from home is an enticing idea that we once felt very excited about.

Well, I guess it’s only ideally fantastical if the downside baggage doesn’t come along too. We all thought Covid-19 was gonna end in a few months. Well, surprise, surprise! Ms. Rona won’t just go away and it’s been almost two years that the world is battling with the pandemic. And eventually, working from home stops sounding enticing anymore. We dread waking up every day because apparently, our bedroom which has now turned into our make-do-office and which was once the place where we relax and find comfort has turned to be a place where we felt the most stressed out.

Unplugging sounds quite unfeasible

In the BC (Before Covid) era, even though we sometimes worked over time, at least when we went home, we’d feel all relaxed because the pile of work we had was left behind in the office. They’re far from us which ideally makes people feel completely free and able to focus on other things outside work. But now, even when the supposed working hour is up, we can’t help to continuously think about the unfinished job that we have and these thoughts make some of us don’t even have a ‘clock out’ moment in their day to day life which means we struggle with the concept of unplugging and ending our work day. We constantly feel pressured to finish our job and worst, the thought about it has never even left our head which makes us always stressed out.

What even is self-care anymore?

Apparently, as we are all too engulfed with working, even the idea of bathing sounds like something a history book would record as a human relic in the Covid Era. Too busy with working, we forget about taking care of ourselves. We struggle with setting boundaries both with our professional working colleagues and our personal life people like family and friends. We’re faced with challenges to maintain our relationship with everyone because some cannot fathom that the answer to “Why can’t you pick up my call?” is basically because we are working. Just that, it’s from home. Worst of all, the lack of physical exertion also means that we don’t even reach 1,000 steps of walking a day as we rarely go out. Sometimes, having lunch doesn’t even count as lunch anymore. I mean is eating at 4 PM still considered as lunch?

Tips for managing all of the above

You are lacking self-care and you know it. You’re stressed out but you don’t know how to deal with it. It’s fine really. Know that you are not alone in this and we’re here to work on that. There are numerous methods available to help you manage the stress that comes with working from home. Well, read on to find ways to reduce your stress level while also keeping your beautiful handsome self, maintained.

1. Creating a routine

Suzy Reading, an author, psychotherapist, and yoga teacher, suggested maintaining a loose pattern to create a sense of consistency and rhythm in your day. Creating a routine can help you manage your time and focus more positively on your work, whether you make your own schedule or have specified hours that you must work. Well, if you can’t go big and establish your own schedule, Suzy suggested we start small. Taking baby steps or as she called it ‘micro moments’ like making your bed, tidying your workspace, letting the light in as much as possible, taking a shower and get properly dressed up in clothing that make you feel put together, eating a nutritious meal so your brain is fuelled and you can think clearly, these are all the simple things in which I believe everyone can do it.

2. Set healthy boundaries

When work and personal life get entwined, it is critical to establish boundaries. Consider how you spend your weekends and evenings on a regular basis when you’re still working in the office. Would you rather answer emails at 9 PM or lie in bed? Or would you rather that work ended at 7 PM so you could spend time with your loved ones? You are more likely to stick to it if you start the day with this in mind. In terms of personal relationship, you also need to level up your ‘saying no’ game. Get comfortable with turning down requests or not picking up calls if they are interfering with your ability to get your work done. It would certainly feel difficult having to say no to others and putting your needs above theirs as you’d feel bad about it. But, you know what? It is okay because at the end of the day, yourself is what matters.

3. Reward Yourself

Break down tasks into smaller, more achievable steps and reward yourself for finishing them to keep your motivation up. A reward does not always have to be monetary; it can also be in the form of freedom, such as taking a well-deserved break by going for a walk around the block or taking a relaxing drive across the town at the end of the day. Having your tasks broken down into a checklist and physically marking each item off once done sounds like a great way to reward yourself too. If that doesn’t pique your interest, how about taking a few minutes to check in with friends? A short escapade from the stressful work, you could say. Also, take a few moments to stretch or engage in a relaxation practise after completing a simple mini task. Eventually, each person’s definition of rewarding will vary, so try a few different things to see which ones work best for you.

Final thoughts

While working from home offers freedom and flexibility, as well as the convenience of not having to commute, there are certainly hidden stressors to be aware of. But, you can enhance your overall work-life balance and general well-being by concentrating on what you can do to alleviate this stress. Not only your mental health is taken care of, your body will thank you too.