How to Handle the Stress of Working From Home
Tips for Managing the Stress of Working at Home
Fortunately, there are many tools at your disposal and you are not alone in experiencing stress from working at home. While people who work together can gather and discuss the challenges of working in their office environment, those who work from home may need to be more proactive in finding a venue to give and receive support, and to discuss the challenges they face. It can be more challenging to realize that you’re not alone in what you’re dealing with.
Now that you know how common some of these stressors are, you may feel less isolated in what you face. You may also feel more energized in tackling these challenges head-on and minimizing some of the stress that comes with them. Here are some proven strategies for minimizing the stress of working from home.
Set a Schedule
While it’s wonderfully freeing to set your own schedule, it’s vital that you do set a schedule rather than working when you find the time. If you wait until you feel like working, the distractions will come from all sides and swallow up your time, so setting a schedule and sticking to it is a vital component of working from home for most people. There are several useful tricks for doing so, however, from calendars and apps to detailed to-do lists.
Here are some things to keep in mind when determining when you’ll work:
Work when you work best. Many people find that working in the morning when they feel rested can provide a more productive experience than beginning work halfway through the day after cleaning house and doing other non-work-related activities. This isn’t true in all cases, so feel free to experiment if this advice doesn’t seem to ring true for you.
Prioritize the challenging tasks first. Rather than letting unpleasant or difficult tasks hang over your head and create stress when you think about them, pushing yourself to get the most difficult jobs done first can help you to clear your plate of those less exciting tasks, and you’ll feel a sense of accomplishment and increased energy and satisfaction throughout the day.
Make use of technology. There are apps that can help you to track your social media usage (to help yourself use it less), remind yourself to work when you become distracted for too long, create to-do lists, and more. Learn what’s available and use these tools to your advantage.
Create a Cohort and Stay Connected
When you feel isolated, it can be difficult to have as much energy to be productive. Plus, it can be very unpleasant and difficult to sustain for the life of your career. If you work from home and feel a bit too alone, it’s important that you take responsibility for your own social life.
You can create your own supportive network of colleagues, fellow work-at-home buddies, or like-minded individuals relatively simply through social media groups, planned meet-ups, or even text-chat groups. You can also find already-established groups through social media or online.
To keep your motivation up, it’s vital to create your own personal rewards. Actually, taking a step back, it’s a great idea to break tasks down into smaller, workable steps. However, the point is that it’s up to you to make your work experience pleasant, for you to keep yourself feeling appreciated (even if you yourself are the only one who appreciates you), and make forward momentum a regular part of your life.
You can do this by breaking down your tasks into smaller goals and then rewarding yourself for taking each step. This keeps people motivated and excited to let go of comfort and move toward the life they really want, even if it takes a sustained effort to get there. (Hint: Rewards don’t need to be food-based to be rewarding!)
Get Comfortable Saying No
You’ll be faced with many requests, most of which you need to refuse if you want to have enough time to get everything done. It can be surprisingly difficult to say no to people you don’t really owe your time to, simply because most of us can find reasons why a “yes” is a perfectly reasonable answer.
We may think of their needs and see ourselves as a great answer for them, and not realize that saying yes to them means saying no to ourselves. We may have our egos involved. Whatever the challenge, realize that saying no to the time drains you didn’t plan for often means saying yes to the life you truly want, one step at a time.
Protect Your Sleep, and Don’t Use Mobile Devices Late at Night
You may already know that this is a no-no but do it anyway, or you may not be aware yet, but using screens late at night can alter your sleep patterns and make it difficult to get to sleep. It can also make you more wakeful during the night.
Because healthy sleep is vital for your productivity, do what you need to do to protect your sleep. (This includes setting a bedtime for yourself and sticking to it.) This can be quite challenging, but well worth the effort.
The Benefits of Doing a Digital Detox
A Word From Verywell
While working from home can provide an amazing sense of freedom and flexibility as well as a no-cost commute, there are pitfalls and hidden stressors to be aware of. By focusing on what you can do to mitigate this stress, you can enjoy the added benefits of a work-from-home situation without the added stress. This is a great step toward achieving an ideal work-life balance.