How easy do you find switching off when your ‘work’ is just a few steps away from the sofa?
The temptation to send a few extra emails and “just get on with a bit more” is constantly under our noses, especially when we’re all connected.
But there’s a sobering reality to being constantly “switched on”.
Over half a million people suffer from work-related stress, depression or anxiety in the UK.
Between 2017-2018, over 15 million working days were lost for this reason.
The statistics from the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) also show a rising trend in stress and burnout over the last five years.
Yet, when you work for yourself from home, not only are there pressures to not take a sick day (because there’s no sick pay), but there’s also a tendency to work much longer hours.
The perks of being more productive and benefitting from flexible hours often outweigh any negatives. However, being alone means you’re dealing with all the stress that comes with making a lot of decisions alone, trying to be all roles at once and wondering how to find time to do it all.
Of all the hats you wear, being your own occupational health might be the most important: monitoring your stress levels and acknowledging when you need to implement some self-care and time off into your routine to prevent burnout or potential damage to your mental health.
The chill factor
As in our issue 2 interview with Denise Duffield-Thomas, she explained how she neglected the housework for a few months and outsourced as soon as possible.
Talking about her latest book, Chillpreneur, she discussed the habits and mindset we can develop when it comes to working smarter, not harder.
Finding the balance between moving forward and keeping momentum with your work vs making sure you take time for yourself, was a key message from all the homeworkers interviewed in the issue.
Rosemary Ikpeme, founder of MYnd Map (the gratitude and goal-setting journal), discussed the importance of prioritising your mental health and wellbeing.
“If you have a goal and just go for it, go for it, go for it and don’t take care of your health or your relationships, it’s going to be pointless. You’re going to reach that goal and it’s going to be underwhelming,” she says.
The trust factor
Telling yourself you need to stop and recharge is one thing, doing it is another. For anyone with perfectionist tendencies, there is never an endpoint and never a time when you feel completely satisfied with the work you’ve done.
Working from home also means there are no cues to tell you to stop. Unlike in the office, where your colleagues begin to shut down computers, tidy desks and put coats on to leave, at home, there are no distinct boundaries and the hours roll into each other.
One phrase we need to practise saying: I have done enough today.
A simple idea that can be part of the arsenal in developing a better growth mindset. It’s something, psyschologist, Sharon Draper, discusses in the article on Growth Mindset and Self-Worth in issue 2 of the magazine.
Among her tips for nurturing your growth mindset, she says, “If you believe in yourself and your work ethic, then you should allow for relaxed time outside of your business.”
Part of the appeal of working from home is the better work-life balance that can be achieved. To enjoy it, we need to trust that we have the discipline to complete the jobs that need doing while also prioritising downtime.
Draper says, “This calm time is imperative and is as productive as it is doing the work. This is because it allows you to build up your emotional reserves so that you feel capable of tackling the challenges when you get back into business mode.”
You are in the right place
Saying, “I have done enough,” can be surprisingly hard. We may never feel we have done enough, particularly if few things have been ticked off the to-do list.
With effective time management, scheduling and prioritisation, we can develop systems and routines that mean we reach the end of our allotted working hours with the important jobs ticked off.
This is also part of valuing your own time and developing a better sense of self-worth. Draper states in her article: “Recognising how valuable and important your time is, allows you to create a better personal life balance.”
Switching off can be a challenge but is essential for our mental health, for our body and brain to recharge. Nurturing a stronger sense of self-esteem and self-worth, we can trust in ourselves that our work ethic is enough to allow us to rest and still achieve what we need to do. We’ll still make those commitments, but we value ourselves so we don’t feel trapped into working constantly.
Valuing your time and fostering a growth mindset can help you achieve more balance. This allows you to protect your mental health and help prevent burnout and exhaustion.
“I have done enough today. I am in the right place. I have shown up, I have made progress. I deserve to take time for myself.”
For the full article on growth mindset and to read all the articles and interviews in the latest issue of The Homeworker magazine, click here.
If you like this, you’ll love The Homeworker magazine. It’s the first magazine created to inspire, support and encourage you when you work alone from home. Full of practical tips and ideas that help you look after your mind, your body and your business.