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How Do I Separate Work and Home While Working From Home?

Ariannah Hood, LMSW

If your home has become your workspace, you may have found it difficult to separate your personal and professional life. By no longer having the ability to leave a work building and enter your home at the end of a workday creates blurred lines between those parts of your life. It is vital to set boundaries while working from home so that you can be productive while working while also reclaiming your house as a safe and relaxing environment.

  1.     Separate your space

Designate a specific area of your home to work from and avoid working in places that are most homey to you such as your bed or couch. However, if you have limited space then make it a point to put all work-related things away at the end of your workday. Physically remove your laptop, work phones, or documents and store it out of sight for the next day to reclaim your living space without having lingering reminders of work around the house. 

  1.     End the workday by decompressing

Practice deep breathing, soak in a hot bath, do a yoga or exercise routine after your workday is over. These are some ways to let your body and mind process and decompress from the day to make a transition out of work and become fully present at home. Not only will this allow you to unwind, it is also a great way to manage long and short-term stress. If you routinely decompressing after an at home workday it will slowly become easier to close one chapter of your day and begin another.

  1.     Be strict with your working hours

If possible, start and stop your workday at the same time each day. And if your schedule continuously changes chose a time each week or day that will be considered your “hard stop” time. Creating this boundary with your time will allow you to be more effective during your work hours and also prevent you from working continuously throughout the day and night. One thing you may consider is scheduling an away email response during your off hours informing coworkers about the best time to reach you. This way you don’t have to spend any of your off time reiterating that your workday is over. 

  1.     Change your clothes

Something as simple as a change of clothes can help our body go from work mode to relax mode or vice versa. Changing into work clothes while working from home and then putting on comfortable clothes after the workday is done will help to create a sense of separation that is needed to fully check out of the workday. This does not exactly mean putting on full scrubs or a 3-piece suit but going from sleepwear to comfortable day clothes and back to sleepwear after a full workday will help create a separation we can actually feel. 

  1.     Give yourself a break

It’s important to remember that we can only do our best at work when we are at our best mentally. While working from home, it can be easy to get sucked into a nonstop work routine. Every few hours give yourself a 10 to 30 minute break. Set an alarm on your phone to remind you of these breaks. And if possible, set these breaks for the same time each day so that it becomes routine. Try spending at least one of those breaks outdoors by taking a quick walk or eating outside. This is especially important when the sun is out as studies have shown that vitamin D is crucial in mood regulation and combating depression.

 Do you find yourself still having difficulty balancing your work and home life? Do not hesitate to contact the intake specialists at Symmetry Counseling and get help setting those work-life boundaries. Talk to a counselor today!

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