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As many of us edge towards nearly a full year of remote working, it can feel like our personal and professional lives have blurred into one. Feeling stressed, overwhelmed, or exhausted has been a constant for many people, which is why it’s important to ensure you build those all-important boundaries between work and home life.
Here, we pull out key points from Emily’s session, focusing on the practical tips to improve the dreaded work/life blur; whether you’re working from home for the foreseeable future or a return to the office is approaching.
The challenges we all have to face
Since the pandemic started, we have all been facing different challenges that came with working from home – whether it is distraction, procrastination, taking time off, screen time, loneliness or even lack of alone time. It can be a difficult task but we have to acknowledge the challenges we’ve gone through as it helps us find solutions to make ourselves feel better.
Managing the 3B’s
There are three things we need to better manage; our Belief (in ourselves); the risk of Burnout; and most importantly, our Boundaries between work and life, between ourselves and others, to protect our wellbeing.
- Building back self-BELIEF
Not working in the same environment or team is having more of an impact on our self-belief than you’d realise. Less face-to-face interaction with people, less feedback, and less connection can all make us feel lonelier and knock our confidence as a result, so it’s important to build that back up.
Learning is a major source of self-belief, so engaging in new tasks and experiences improves our ability to develop and cope with the unknown. It doesn’t have to mean learning a new language or picking up a new instrument – something as small as admitting you don’t know everything at work, exploring new ways to enhance your skills, or even tackling a personal project, can really make a difference.
Surrounding yourself with inspiring people who you look up to or who you admire also has a huge impact on your own self-belief, so it is important to ensure you are consuming inspiring information.
Finally, giving others positive feedback is a great habit to get in to; by practising giving and receiving good comments it will also improve your connections with others. Why not reach out to a manager at work or ask for positive feedback from friends or family to help make a step in the right direction?
- The risk of BURNOUT
The second biggest challenge is the lack of self-care. Putting others before yourself, prioritising work over your own needs, and having less access to what you used to do to take care of yourself can have a huge impact on your mental, physical and emotional wellbeing, as well as an impact on work and relationships.
By managing self-care, you can avoid feeling overwhelmed, avoid neglecting your needs, or being unable to cope. It’s important to cover off as many different types of self-care as possible to avoid the risk of burnout, including mental, physical, emotional, and even spiritual self-care.
Taking care of our bodies and minds, engaging in activities that give us a sense of connection and meaning, and activities that help us cultivate positive emotions and process difficult ones are incredibly important. It’s also important to not ignore those more ‘admin’ based life/self-care activities, such as making your bed or hoovering, which are satisfying to have accomplished.
- Building your BOUNDARIES
For many of us, physically working from an office was enough to create boundaries between work and home life, so working from home has presented a unique challenge. Setting clear rules for ourselves when it comes to working hours, time spent on devices, and time given to specific people, is key. By setting these boundaries, you can avoid issues of overworking, or not being able to say no, which will ultimately impact your relationships – both personal and professional.
Consider the ways you can start to develop a clear separation between work and life to strike the perfect balance, but be prepared to be flexible as situations change and you grow into your new routines.
To help with setting healthy boundaries, consider setting up a designated work space and make sure your work items stay here out of sight at the end of the day. It could also mean removing notifications on your phone to avoid distractions while working, or maybe even communicating to yourself your work start and end times – and sticking to it!
There are many things we can all do to manage our 3Bs. Prioritising your wellbeing is not always easy; it takes time, and changes do not happen overnight. By taking one small step at a time, you can start looking after yourself a little better.