By January 12, 2015 Read More →

How to manage stress and relax more when working from home

Relax more when working from home -Isabelle BanoWith the long Christmas/New Year holiday behind us, you might be starting to feel some stress again.

So it’s the perfect time for this guest post from coach Isabelle Bano.

Isabelle specialises in work-related stress management, especially for women in leadership and management positions:

Whether you work from home occasionally or your home has become your full-time workplace, you may wish you could reduce your stress levels and relax more.

Working from home can be seen as a way to escape from an exhausting commute and a stressful office environment. In fact, like office working, home working has its own challenges. As a homeworker, I realised that there is no escape from work-related stress and that it can be challenging to separate home life and work life.

So to unwind, I am mindful of the following discoveries I’ve made to become more effective and relax more when working from home:

1. Move your body frequently.
If working from home means that you are sitting at a desk for most of the day, your body won’t be happy about it. It wasn’t until I couldn’t use my computer anymore due to an acute pain in my shoulders that I became aware of how much tension the body can accumulate – without me even noticing.

So with the help of health professionals, I learnt that changing posture and moving my body at least every 20 minutes enables the body to relax and let go of the tensions. I do regular relaxation exercises and roll my shoulders back, which feels great.

Relax more when working from home - jasmine2. Create a sanctuary.
Using our home as a workplace can encourage us to leave paperwork or make phone calls in all parts of the house. This can leave us with nowhere to feel at home in our own homes.

If this is the case for you, perhaps you may want to create your own sanctuary to renew and unwind. That space may be a room where you never do any work. When you are there, you know it is time to stop working and relax. Separating the spaces where you do work and where you put your feet up helps the brain to switch off.

3. Laugh with other people.
Homeworkers can feel isolated. After all, we are social beings and we like to share our experiences with others. According to Dr. Robert Provine, a neuroscientist, we are 30 times more likely to laugh at something when we are with other people than when we are by ourselves.

Laughter is contagious and studies show it relieves stress and boosts the immune system. So I take every opportunity to have a giggle with like-minded people and we plan to meet up or call/video call each other regularly. You may know one or two other homeworkers you could create a mini support group with or you could join a co-working group.

Relax more when working from home - nature4. Enjoy an in-between breather.
Living and working in the same place can become too much when you feel you are running from one task to another. A breather when transitioning between work activities and home activities helps regenerate your energy levels so you can keep going.

Getting out of the house for a short walk or going to the gym can be a useful way to leave work behind and adjust back to home or family life. Even a 10 minute breather where you slow down and just enjoy a good cup of tea*, a great read or some music will give you a well-deserved break.

5. Prioritise ‘me’ time.
Setting boundaries for yourself is important and making time for renewal is essential if you want to de-stress. I realised that the time I scheduled for myself didn’t materialise because I was always putting my work and home responsibilities first. It’s OK to put yourself at the bottom of the priority list from time to time, but in the long-term it is counter-productive if it makes you sick.

Now, I schedule time to exercise like I schedule my work and home tasks. I then make it a priority by doing it first thing in the morning whenever I can. So, whatever renewal means for you, whether it is exercising, spending time in nature, or meditating, make an appointment with yourself with the intention to keep it as often as possible.

Relaxation is an enjoyable way to become more efficient and reduce stress. In the end what matters is that you allow yourself to have breaks and take care of yourself. Listen to your body and your mental state, then try different ideas to see what works best for you. That way, you can make become more productive and also relax more when working from home.
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Isabelle Bano specialises in stress management at work and at home. Based in London, she enjoys walks in the local parks and the countryside to relax and unwind.

Photos by Isabelle Bano.

Posted in: Routine

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