How can I relax when my job has ramped up?
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“I already work from home and am very grateful for that. I work in e-commerce, so this virus has actually made me busier. This has made this experience even more isolating for me, even though I live with my boyfriend.
I work all day and have meetings all night (my coworkers live in another time zone). I am trying to figure out a work-life balance, especially during this particularly isolating time. Any advice on how to give yourself permission to take a break and relax?”
I’ve worked from home on and off for years, so I totally understand how the line between professional hours and personal ones can start to blur. We’re often so grateful for the leisurely setting, we rationalize that we can (and should) do just one. more. thing. I do it all the time!
But when I struggle with granting myself permission to take a break, wondering whether or not I even deserve it, I try to think about what both my work life and personal life would look like if I didn’t. Oftentimes, it means less productivity—because in doing one task, my mind wanders to others. This leads to more resentment (because I’ve failed to strike a balance and have no one to blame for it). *Sheepishly waves at self in mirror*
An uninterrupted schedule isn’t sustainable. No matter how badly we may want it, our bodies won’t. Nor will our brains. We’re rejuvenated by rest. Studies have shown that taking breaks boosts our creativity, releases stress, and increases our output. So if you ever find yourself feeling guilty about taking one, consider if pushing through would have those same benefits.
If you’re beginning to feel burnt out, ask for support from coworkers and loved ones alike. Can a teammate take a task? Can your boyfriend clean the kitchen? And if you feel comfortable doing so, talk to your employer about their expectations and be honest about your current capabilities. Make a list of your priorities, but (here’s the kicker) be sure to include a personal one! Or two. Whether you value exercise, cooking, or cuddling, adjust your schedule around at least that act to ensure that you always have time for it.
Once you’ve reclaimed break(s), here are some ways to enjoy them: Have a real (see: nourishing) lunch. Do some lunges. Step outside. Find a funny meme. Close your eyes for a minute-long meditation. Clear the clutter from both your desk and your desktop. And once you’ve signed off, consider turning your email notifications off during non-work hours. Make your shower a mini-spa session. Indulge in something that’s purely for your enjoyment and nothing else. Then, of course, try and get some good sleep.
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Danielle Cheesman was born and raised in New Jersey, where she lived until moving to Philadelphia to study journalism at Temple University. She has spent her years writing and developing editorial visions for music, art, and lifestyle brands. Now residing in Los Angeles, you can usually find her taking pictures, making playlists, or cuddling her pup. Say hi on Instagram!