Working from home, while it definitely has some upsides, can lead to a shattered work-life balance. After almost a year of working from home for most of us, we’re finding ourselves more exhausted and finding it harder to actually wind down after work. Learning how to balance work and life after the day is finished is important for maintaining our mental health and making working from home sustainable. Below, we’ve created a short ritual for winding down after work and making sure that you can find that work-life balance.
Being inside more means we aren’t always getting enough sunlight, which can have detrimental effects on our health. If you haven’t been able to get outside for at least 30 minutes in the sunshine, or it’s been a cloudy day, take a vitamin d3 supplement to help support your body and reduces your risk of developing several chronic diseases such as cancers, cardiovascular disease, diabetes mellitus, and hypertension that significantly higher risk of death from respiratory tract infections than otherwise healthy individuals (1).
Additionally, vitamin d3 can help our mental health. Vitamin d is essential for our brain health, so a deficiency can increase our risk of depression (2). Numerous studies have found links between poor mental health and inadequate vitamin d levels. So by starting your evening with vitamin d, it will help to remind you to take it every day, and also help to maintain your mental health.
Shut the computer
It’s hard to realise that it is time to stop working when you spend all day on your computer, even in your leisure time. One key way to mark the change between work and play is to actually physically shut your computer and walk away from it. It can be helpful to put something on top of it to remind yourself that you’re done with working on it for the day, even if it’s only for the duration of your evening walk.
Go for a walk or “commute”
There used to be a distinct break between work and home that helped you to mark the difference between the two and ensure that you decompress between them. Now, there is no chance to decompress between work and home, so you often end up working later and letting work seep into your home life. Try going for an evening walk and taking in your surroundings, like the sunset, or observing the local flora and fauna to see how it changes day to day, or even explore a new part of your neighbourhood. It will give you something to look forward to after work and encourage you to leave work behind. If you’re lacking in energy, try using some essential oils to invigorate you to get out and walk, the scent will help to mark the change from work if you use it every day.
Drink some tea to decompress when you get back
While a walk is helpful for identifying the change between work and play, it can also be invigorating and might make you feel like it’s time to get back to work. Try drinking a cup of calming tea to help clear your mind and remind you that work is done for the day and it’s time to relax and shut off.
Eat more than 2 hours before bed
If you know you have to go to bed by a certain time, it’s important to not eat too late. Nutritionists recommend eating at least 2-3 hours before going to sleep to allow the body to fully digest your meal and won’t disrupt your sleep (3). Lying down while you digest can cause reflux and cause discomfort, making it harder to fall asleep (4). While cooking can be a relaxing process and is important for helping to take your mind off of work, don’t do it too late or it will have an impact on the following day’s productivity.
Take a bath
A bath is the number one recommendation for self-care and decompressing, and for good reason. The act of taking a bath helps to calm the mind and the body and can have a number of health benefits. It’s been shown that taking a bath can improve your breathing since the pressure on your chest and the temperature of the water increases your lung capacity and oxygen intake (5). New research shows that passive heating, like taking a bath or being in a sauna, can reduce the risk of a heart attack, help to lower your blood pressure, and help your body to control your blood sugar (6,7,8). Try using bath salts with epsom salt or magnesium to calm the body down even more.
Regardless of what you choose to do, it’s important to mark the change between work and leisure time in order to have a good work-life balance. Turning off from work allows you to focus on things that are important to you and ensure that you are taking care of your own needs, making you more productive in the long run.