Self care is the new buzzword in the WFH world, and for good reason.
It’s no secret that working from home can be incredibly stressful, and many remote workers find themselves stuck in a pattern of work without time to take a break.
For many, working from home is a dream come true. But the reality of working from home isn't always as great as it seems.
To maintain your productivity and health, it's important to create healthy boundaries between your work and personal life. Setting boundaries and holding them is part of self care.
This article will offer some insight into how you can set up healthy boundaries at work, especially when your office is in your home!
1. Separate your work and personal life
If you don’t have a dedicated workspace, your entire house will end up becoming your office. This can mean that when it's time for the workday to end, you won't feel the physical distance and you might end up working all day long.
If you have the option, find a room to work in where you can close the door. The door will not only reduce distractions but also allows you to leave your work inside when the day is done.
If your place doesn't have an office with a door, make sure to have an area that you mentally cordon off for work only. Personally, I don't have a separate room for use - but when I'm not working, I collapse my table where my computer sits and make it hard for myself to start up on a project during downtime.
Separating spaces for work and relaxation are super important to help your brain know when to turn your working mind on and when it's time to self care.
It can also be hard to separate your work and personal life sometimes, especially when you use social media for work.
If you’re going to be active on social media, it’s important to separate your personal and work accounts. Your personal accounts are a great way to engage your friends and followers, but you should also create a separate business account for your brand.
Try to avoid your business social media accounts on your days off. If necessary, put time limits on your social media apps during your days off so you won't slip into working unintentionally.
2. Be Intentional About Your Self Care Time
"I'm just going to send this email."
"If I don't do this now, I won't remember on Monday."
Saboteur! Just kidding 😁 - but seriously, when you cross your personal time boundary with unscheduled work, you're sabotaging yourself.
Taking time off to recharge, refresh, and replenish can do wonders for your mental health.
Try to find, at the bare minimum, one day each week where you unplug from work completely. Don’t answer emails, don’t check your business social accounts, and don’t go into your dedicated home office space.
If you don't take your personal time seriously no one else will and you'll be working 24/7/365.
Take some time to sit outside at the park, call a friend, or catch up on that podcast you love to listen to. Savor these activities and nurture your connection with those around you. After all, you deserve that break for all the hard work you do.
Quick Tip: Try this Affirmation Jigsaw Puzzle for hours of slowed down, intentional self care time.
No matter where you sit in your work life, the rule applies — unplug on occasion and stick to your commitment to yourself.
3. Learn how to say "No"
One of the most important skills when working from home is learning how to say No. Just like work bleeding into your personal life is a no-no, so is letting your personal life bleed into your workday.
"You're working from home, right? Can you drop something off for me today?"
Sound familiar? If you work from home you might be fielding favor requests from family and friends during the workday. The WFH environment can be flexible in terms of what you wear, how you take mini-breaks, and even your eating schedule - but you probably are expected to observe the exact same hours as the rest of your team and complete your projects on a strict deadline.
Learning how to say No is key to being productive and focusing on the things that matter most - in this way, you can finish your work on time and keep your time to yourself.
Tips for Saying No:
When asked to run an errand for someone during your workday, offer to do it after hours or just say "No, I won't be able to do that."
When you’re working, don’t be distracted by personal emails, texts, social media tags, and anything else that might be crossing a work time boundary.
Plan your daily work schedule in advance. I like to have all of my to-do list items in Google Tasks or write them down in a planner/journal like this one. This way, I know exactly what I need to do and when I say no to something, I am confident in my denial.
You might think that self care is less important when you're working from home.
After all, you have your space to yourself, the flexibility to work where you want, and more breaks than your office-bound counterparts. But remote workers are actually at higher risk of experiencing burnout or succumbing to mental health issues compared with their office-bound peers.
Why? Because of poor boundary habits.
It’s tough to stay focused and productive when you’re working from home — it can feel like your couch is calling from across the room, or your family needs you to run that errand, or you have to send that email on your day off.
To keep yourself motivated, healthy, and on-task, remember:
Separate your work and personal life - keep your workspace and living space separate so your brain knows when it's time to work, and when it's time for recreation.
Be Intentional About Your Self Care Time - make sure you keep your personal time for yourself. Don't be your own saboteur.
Learn How to Say "No" - Don't let your personal life bleed into your workday. Plan what you have to do during the day and stick to it. Say no to people who are crossing your workday boundaries.
Hope this helps and here's to setting healthy boundaries while working from home!
What WFH issue are you battling right now? Let us know in the comments!
Keturah is a Certified Women's Empowerment Coach and received Certification from Cornell University's Women's Entrepreneurship program. She's currently working hard to provide self care resources for all people, but especially hard-working women. She loves spending time on walks with her husband, daughter, and playing with her Maine Coon cat.
Keywords: self-care tips for women, self-care routine ideas, self-love, self-love workbook for women, work from home, wfh, wfh balance, work-life balance