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"Clocking Out" is More Important Than Ever

Have you found yourself constantly exhausted, irritable, or lacking motivation lately? You are not alone! These are only three of the signs that you could be experiencing ‘burn out’. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit over a year ago and many people around the globe shifted to working from home, people are feeling symptoms of being overworked now more than ever. Some other signs that you’re burnt out include:

  • thinking about work or what you have to do the next day when you’re not working or trying to fall asleep

  • feeling impatient or finding it hard to focus

  • using food or other substances to “make you feel better”

  • physical ailments such as constant headaches or new digestion issues

HR Executive conducted a study in December 2020 and found that nearly 70% of people have been working weekends while 45% admit to working longer than 8 hours a day. People are even taking fewer sick days and doing more unpaid overtime than before they started working from home.

How many days over the last year would you have taken off if you had been working in the office? As a certified health coach and someone who has worked from home for years, I wanted to share a few of the tips I have found helpful in setting work-life boundaries. Are you already doing any of these things during these times when your office doesn’t require a commute?

  1. Set up an office space. If you don’t have a whole room you can turn into a dedicated office, set up a space that you can walk away from, close behind a door, or clean up and put in a corner during your off hours.

  2. Stick with a schedule. Just because work is accessible at all hours of the day doesn’t mean you have to work all hours of the day. Try to continue working the same hours you worked pre-pandemic.

  3. Take a real lunch break. I know there were many days I ate lunch while continuing to work. Don’t do this. Sit in a different room, put your computer away, get outside for some fresh air if you can, and take a brain break!

  4. Have a morning routine and eat breakfast. Just because you can roll out of bed and get straight to work doesn’t mean you should.

  5. Take mini breaks throughout the day. Back-to-back video meetings and endless emails can be hard on your eyes. Follow the 20-20-20 rule: every 20 minutes look at something 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Also make sure to get up to walk around and stretch every hour or so!

  6. Take up a hobby. Having something fun to do on the weekends and after work gets your mind off all the things you need to do tomorrow and gives you something to look forward to.

  7. Fake commute. Turn off your computer, go for a stroll outside, listen to a podcast, and decompress after a workday.

  8. Unplug. This might be the most important tip of them all. Avoid working on the weekends and past business hours during the week. Maybe even take a vacation (or staycation!) where you completely unplug from all things work-related. Just because our offices are now at our fingertips 24/7 doesn’t mean we need to be at our boss’s fingertips 24/7 😉

Check in with yourself and set aside some time for self-care, whatever that means to you. When was the last time you took a real day off? Did you still check in with work or did you fully disconnect yourself? Our brains can’t function at their best when we are exhausted, mentally or physically. Creating boundaries for yourself when it comes to working from home will allow you to be more productive and make less mistakes than being plugged into work around the clock.

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