Setting boundaries between your work and home life is definitely not an easy thing to do, especially when the two take place in the same spot.
It’s a reality you’ll be familiar with if you’ve been working from home since the start of the pandemic. Despite your best intentions to log off at 5pm and spend the evening winding down and relaxing, it can be too easy to get sucked back into answering ‘one last email’ or prepare for the following day.
It’s as though we’re living at work, rather than working from home and the pressure of that can take a real toll on our mental health. With that in mind, prioritising a work/life balance is crucial. But actually, sticking to that can be a struggle. One of the main parts of achieving a work/life balance is knowing how to switch off from work.
Although we cannot create a physical distance between our work and home, there are ways we can help our brains switch off at the end of the working day.
Talk to a friend
One of the best ways to ensure you switch off from work on time is to set yourself a non-negotiable appointment and scheduling a call with your friends is a great way to do just that.
Having a chat is a perfect way to distract yourself from anything you’re worried about and can lower your stress levels. It’s brilliant for straight after that end-of-day rush at work.
Cooking dinner may sound like one of the simplest suggestions there is, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised with how big a difference it can make to your headspace.
This is a great idea as it doesn’t just engage you mentally, but physically, too. You won’t be able to log back on to your laptop or check work emails when you’ve got vegetables to chop.
Tidying up is especially important if your workspace is used for other things in your home so you’re not mixing your work life with home life.
The term ‘out of sight, out of mind’ has never been so fitting. Not only will the act of tidying up help to create a boundary between work and the evening, but putting your work things, such as your laptop, away will prevent you from getting the urge to ‘check in’ later.
Go for a walk
If you’re the sort of person that needs that sense of physical distance to switch off from your workday, heading out for a walk could make all the difference to your headspace. Not only does this distance you from your work environment, but it helps mimic a commute-like journey home.
Write it all down
If after work you tend to have worries that seem stuck replaying on your mind all throughout the evening, create a brain dumping activity to get everything you need to remember down on a paper. It doesn’t have to be fancy, simply grab a piece of paper and write everything you want to be reminded of and put it away until the following morning until you’re back on shift.
By the simple act of writing everything down, it’ll help alleviate stress and you’ll be less likely to spend the evening fretting about all the things you need to get done the next day. Plus, you’ll feel so much more organised.
Have a bath
Is there even a better way to leave the working day behind you than to jump straight into a steaming hot bath filled to the brim with your all-time favourite bath products?
If you’re a fan of planning ahead of time you could even start running the bath half an hour before finishing work. This way you have no choice but to climb in as soon as you finish work.
Move your body
Having a set workout routine at the end of the day is a great way to steer your focus off of work and shake your mind off any stress you may be holding on to. Don’t worry if you’re not in the mood for a high energy workout after work, some sort of less strenuous exercise like mobility work or yoga can still help you unwind.
You’ll probably find it so much easier to plan out before work what workout you’re going to do, so as soon as you finish work you can dive straight into it. You could even lay out your clothes and equipment to make it easier.
Change your clothes
Whether you manage to slip out of your loungewear, changing your outfit for the evening is a simple way to mark the transition from work to relaxation.
Changing into something comfier like a pair of pyjamas may also make you feel more relaxed.
Listen to a podcast
Instead of casting your mind to obsess over all the tasks you didn’t manage to get done for the day or need to do the following day, try transporting yourself into your favourite podcast and letting the conversation distract you and take you to a whole other place.
Especially if you used to listen to a podcast whilst on your commute, this is a great way to mimic that transition and helps you schedule in some ‘me’ time. An absolute necessity if you find yourself struggling with your stress levels.
Create a skincare routine
Whether or not you’ve been wearing makeup while working from home, cleansing and taking care of your skin after work is a great way to metaphorically and physically wipe away the stress for the day.
Applying your go-to skincare products is a brilliant way to practice self-care and wind down for the evening – especially if you’re one to take your time whilst doing it.