By DeVry University
There can be many advantages to working remotely, such as flexible hours, more time with loved ones and the reduced costs of commuting. But working from home may also present challenges – and make it harder to catch a break. Taking time for self-care is an important part of finding balance and avoiding burnout.
Why Does Self-care Matter?
Work burnout happens when chronic job-related stress is not resolved. With remote work, stress can overlap into the rest of our lives and be harder to successfully manage. When we don’t find the right balance between work and the rest of our lives, we can suffer the consequences of burnout. We might end up fatigued, have negative or cynical feelings toward our jobs and potentially stop progressing in our careers and professional goals.
Keeping burnout at bay should be a priority for remote workers. Taking care of yourself can help you keep a good work-life balance and maintain your wellbeing. In fact, self-care has been shown to impact your wellness in areas from reducing feelings of stress and anxiety to increasing productivity.
How to Make Time for Yourself While You're Working Remotely
Taking care of yourself means making time for self-care by prioritizing your mental, emotional and physical health. If taking care of yourself is taking a backseat to other priorities in your day, consider these four tips for giving it a place on your to-do list:
1. Start with Structure
When your home is also your work, school and social environment, it’s easy to become overwhelmed. Creating and sticking to a schedule can help you manage your time.
Start your day with a routine—whether that’s getting dressed and enjoying breakfast with your family or taking time to meditate or exercise before getting deep into your inbox. Having a calm, predictable start can make stepping into your workday less stressful. Take time for yourself at the beginning of your day to set the tone for everything that follows.
2. Set Boundaries
When you establish a work routine, it’s important to protect it. Set boundaries to make sure you have time for your work, but also to secure the time you need for yourself.
Clearly define work time, family time and me time. Then respect those boundaries. When you’re working, keep personal phone calls for later. Avoid online distractions and social media except during breaks. After working hours, resist the temptation to continue to check email or respond to requests that can wait until tomorrow.
Physical boundaries can also be important. For many, the kitchen table, couch or bedroom may double as workspaces. Even if you don’t have a separate office in your house, you can create some physical space between work and home. Designate a table in one corner of your room as your desk so you can walk away after work. And don’t forget to clean up at the end of your workday. Put away your laptop, papers and notes to signal your brain that this is no longer a workspace.
3. Use Your Vacation Time
As the lines between work life and home life blur, the idea of a vacation might not seem as obvious. According to one recent study, the majority of remote workers polled say they are taking less time off than they would under regular circumstances; over 40% of people working from home said they’re not planning to take any time off at all.
Whether or not travel is in the cards, you should still make a point to use your time off. Take a day. Or a week. Schedule the time in your calendar, turn on your out-of-office messages and plan activities that constitute a break.
4. Learn Something New
Self-care isn’t just about avoiding stress. You can keep your boundaries and prioritize personal time by pursuing something that’s just for you. Step away from work to follow your passions. Make time to learn a new skill or hobby. Invest in your future goals and dreams by exploring online learning opportunities or chances for personal development.
Emphasizing outside interests can be a good motivator for maintaining balance in your life. Don’t just think about how to avoid overwork. Think about what you want to be doing instead. Plan for it and make time.
Make Time for Growth
Whatever your remote work situation looks like, consciously practicing self-care can help you maintain balance in your daily routine. If gaining a new skill is in your future, we offer an array of student resources to help you balance work, school and life.