5 tips for to tame work-life tension
This post is especially for telecommuters or people with home-based businesses. Some of these tips might seem fairly obvious, but if you’re like me, you might have a light-bulb moment one day and realize that work-life balance is more like work-life battle (though on a good day, it might be work-life blending, if that can possibly be good). Today was one of those days.
I had a gift card to get a massage that I received last Christmas. Yes, that’s right, it took me nearly 11 months to make the appointment to get a massage. I was on the table when I thought of these work-life balance tips. (I will share the light-bulb moment below).
⇒ 1. Separate your working area from your living area
If you don’t have a separate room for your home office, at least have a separate area that you can walk away from when you’re done with work. It needs to be separate enough that family members know you’re working and respect your work time. My office space is in a room that is very lightly used by other family members and they know that if I’m on a call they need to be quiet (though I employ the mute button regularly just in case).
⇒ 2. Set limits with your commitments
Just because you work at home does not mean you have as much free time as an at-home mom who doesn’t have a job. (Notice I did not say, “doesn’t work,” because I totally know that being a mom is work.) You do not have to say yes to every volunteer opportunity at your kids’ schools, you do not have to do more than your fair share of carpool driving, you do not have to bake for every bake sale. (You can always buy cookies at the supermarket if you must, which is what I wound up doing for the last bake table at church and I didn’t even put them on a plate — I just handed them over in the bakery box, unapologetically.)
⇒ 3. Schedule breaks throughout the day
Sometimes I forget to get up until I’m really creaky. It helps to set a timer on your computer, phone, or fitness app to remind yourself to get up and walk around. Give your eyes a break more often and look at something else besides the computer screen.
⇒ 4. Get regular exercise
Seriously, get out of the house and go for a walk. Go to the gym. Do a yoga DVD. My mechanic is the one who told me recently, “Sitting is the new smoking.” I actually envied my massage therapist today because while I am sure it is hard work massaging people all day, at least she is not sitting. She was in great shape and very strong (for her tiny stature — I swear she was no more than five feet tall, maybe less — and she told me she has gone to Gold’s Gym every day for 20 years. I am currently trying to get to Planet Fitness five days a week. I didn’t go today but my husband and I took an extra long dog walk.
⇒ 5. Be realistic about how much sleep you need
Don’t be tempted to do just one more thing at night because before you know it, it’s midnight and you have to get up in five or six hours and that’s really not enough sleep, considering you still have to wind down and actually fall asleep. I am so guilty of doing this, so this is a major “note to self.” Stop working! The work will be there tomorrow.
How I realized I’m dealing with too much work-life stress
I was face-down on the table and my massage therapist was working on my trapezius. (I had buzzing and tingling in between my shoulder blades this past week, which is what prompted me finally to set the appointment.) My right shoulder blade area was so much more tight and painful than my left and I thought about my office space.
When I’m sitting at my computer, to my left side is a window to the great outdoors, with a bush directly below where birds perch and chirp and sing. To my right is the kitchen, which is my primary domain when I’m wearing my homemaker hat. I asked my massage therapist if it’s possible that the tension in my right shoulder is greater because it represents the tension between my work and my home life.
She said simply, “Of course it is.”
Do you have any tips you’d like to share? Comment below!