Top 6 after-work rituals for remote workers

Top 6 after-work rituals for remote workers

The pandemic forced millions of people around the world to work from home. Although working from home allowed some employees to attend to personal matters, it also blurred the boundaries between their personal and professional lives.

For many, this resulted in remote work burnout, or the failure to keep work and personal time separate. People suffering from this condition may feel compelled to keep working beyond their regular working hours, or experience anxiety or mood swings.

To combat remote work burnout, it’s ideal to set a fixed work schedule to help you know if it’s time to stop working. It’s equally important to have an after-work ritual, as it can help you shift from work time to me-time. Here are a few ideas to try:

1. List outstanding tasks

When you work from home, it can be tempting to finish one more thing before you log off for the day. But then that one task bleeds into another, and before you know it, it’s late at night and you’ve done more work than you originally planned.

To avoid this, finish only the tasks that you really need to do on a given day. Then list down all remaining tasks that can wait until the next day to make sure you don't forget them.

2. Put away your gadgets

When your work shift has ended, turn off your laptop and put away all work documents. Store them in an area where you can’t easily access them. Mute all work applications on your phone so you can resist the urge to reply to emails. Doing this can help you disconnect mentally from your professional life, and wind down and recharge.

3. Exercise for at least 10 minutes

Exercising not only boosts your energy and reduces fatigue, but it also releases endorphins in the body, which relieves stress. What’s more, you don’t need to do intense workout routines to reap the benefits of exercise. According to studies, being physically active for at least 10 minutes per day is enough to improve your breathing and enhance your memory. So, find time for a quick workout: do jumping jacks, jog in place, or do some squats or push-ups.

Take a short walk around the block (while wearing a face mask and practicing social distancing, of course) or your yard when you can. You can listen to your favorite music or podcast while exercising to help increase your stamina and improve your mood.

4. Meditate or practice deep breathing exercises

Meditation is one of the best ways to combat work stress. It helps to focus your attention and eradicate the jumbled thoughts that may be crowding your mind.

If you’re not into meditation, you can try box breathing, a simple yet powerful relaxation technique that aims to restore one’s natural breathing rhythm. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Close your eyes, and inhale through your nose for four seconds.
  2. Hold your breath while counting slowly to four. Avoid closing your mouth or nose.
  3. Exhale slowly for four seconds.
  4. Repeat steps 1–3 for four minutes, or until you’re feeling calmer.

5. Connect with someone

Aside from the work stress, you may also feel anxious or depressed because of the social disconnectedness created by the pandemic. Try calling a close friend or a relative ─ just seeing them virtually or hearing their voice can comfort you, enhance your entire mood, and help take your mind off work.

Talking to a good friend or a family member will also remind you that you are not alone. There are people around you who will always support you and help you get over the mental and emotional challenges of remote work.

6. Prepare a nice meal

One of the benefits of working from home is that you have more time to cook fresh and healthy meals, and avoid takeaway foods that may be loaded with fats and preservatives.

As you start chopping vegetables or when you catch a whiff of the dish you're cooking, your mind may slowly veer away from the stress of your work day, making you feel happier. And when you cook your own meals instead of ordering out all the time, you also save money

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