The pandemic has changed the way many people work and, when working remotely became the norm, it seemed like a wonderful change. However, even for people who love it, the past couple of years have shown that working remotely has far more challenges than anticipated and some who work from home are facing exhaustion and burnout.
From Zoom fatigue to rarely disconnecting, or the lack of separation between home and work spaces, there are many aspects of working from home that need to be managed intentionally or we risk becoming overwhelmed and burnt out. It is vital to take time to recharge if you want to enjoy optimal health and productivity.
Always being “on” and not recharging your mind, body, and emotions leads to higher levels of chronic stress – which eventually results in a host of physical and mental health problems.
Symptoms of chronic stress can include forgetfulness, disorganization, inability to focus, low energy, feeling overwhelmed, procrastinating, and avoiding responsibilities. So, by not taking time to recharge, you are negatively impacting your performance!
Chronic stress also negatively influences your immune system (1), making it more difficult to fight off infections. It can also worsen existing health problems and can even lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.
Fortunately, many of the harmful effects can be diminished or eliminated by taking time to recharge and reduce stress. Even better, finding healthy ways to move through stress and recharge can lead to greater joy and health.
The first step is to minimize stress where you can. Establishing a regular work schedule (with time blocked out for breaks!) and a specific place where you work helps create boundaries between work and home life. Work constantly bleeding through into all other aspects of life can be a major source of stress for people who work remotely.
Whether it be 5 minutes after lunch, a 15-minute nap around 2-3 pm when you feel least productive, an hour at the beginning or end of the day, or an entire weekend once a month, it is important to allow yourself time to just be and rest, without trying to achieve anything.
Connect with People
Humans are wired to connect relationally, and isolation can lead to poor mental and physical health. On the other hand, people with strong social support networks enjoy better health, longer lives, and less stress. Even a few minutes of conversation with a trusted friend can rejuvenate you in the middle of a stressful day.
If you spend a lot of time Zooming, it may be better to connect in person or over the phone. Activities like taking a walk with someone or chatting on the phone allow you to connect, without requiring more time staring at someone’s face.
Have Some Fun
This can be as simple as playing with your kids or animals, spending time on a hobby, singing your favorite song, or a night out laughing with friends. Intentionally incorporate things that bring authentic joy and laughter throughout your day.
Move Your Body
Even two minutes helps! When you get up for any reason, take a minute to stretch your body or walk around the house for a few minutes. Better yet, schedule time to regenerate your body through exercise, whether it be 5-20 minutes of yoga, a brisk walk, or a longer session of higher intensity exercise. Any movement at all is beneficial.
Spend Time In Nature
Immersing yourself in nature can improve your mood and lower your blood pressure (2). Even if you can only step outside, breathe fresh air, and feel the sun on your face for a few minutes, or simply set up your computer so you can look out the window periodically, this will help you to enjoy the benefits of allowing nature to help you recharge.
This is another technique that provides significant health benefits, from reducing stress, blood pressure, heart rate, anxiety, and pain, to improving your immune response and working as an antidepressant. Just 5 – 10 minutes of meditation can help you recharge and eliminate the feelings of stress and being overwhelmed.
It is absolutely vital to take care of yourself, and that includes more than just recharging. Getting enough high-quality sleep, nutritious food, relaxation, and time to just be with the people you love and do what you enjoy will make all the difference in your levels of stress and overall health.
*Side note – a cluttered space makes people feel more stressed and overwhelmed. It is worth it to spend a few minutes cleaning the area that you see all day while you are working. Even if the rest of your house is a disaster, a clear space where you work has a big impact on your mindset. Cleaning a small space also provides the instant satisfaction of completing a task. Listen to music or an interesting audiobook while you are cleaning and, when you combine this with moving your body to clean, you’ve merged three recharging techniques into one!
Recharge as a Team
Our retreats are designed to help teams and individuals recharge and rejuvenate while equipping you with techniques to enjoy lasting benefits of reduced stress, greater wellbeing, and long-term positive behavior change that result in a healthy, balanced lifestyle and improved productivity, teamwork, and a more positive workplace culture. It is our privilege to help you learn alternative ways to balance life and work and to help businesses build resilient leaders and teams.
Casa Alternavida was founded on the principle that there are healthier, “alternative” ways to balance life and work. This alternative is to stop the unconscious addiction to stress, overwhelm, and struggle to focus on a healthy, balanced lifestyle that yields better results. Our practitioners are trained to support you with unraveling those unconscious commitments so you can actively create the lifestyle you want to be living, take charge of your well-being, and reset bad habits. We are experts at creating playful experiences in nature that inspire deep personal insight and long-term positive behavior change. Teams walk away from our facility with new excitement for their projects, practices to work smarter, and a deep appreciation of their companies. If you are a business that cares about your employees and wants to enhance your workplace culture, we are dedicated to providing alternative ways of building resilient leaders and teams.
1. Segerstrom, S. C., & Miller, G. E. (2004). Psychological stress and the human immune system: a meta-analytic study of 30 years of inquiry. Psychological bulletin, 130(4), 601–630. https://doi.org/10.1037/0033-2909.130.4.601
2. Furuyashiki, Akemi, Keiji Tabuchi, Kensuke Norikoshi, Toshio Kobayashi, and Sanae Oriyama. (2019) "A comparative study of the physiological and psychological effects of forest bathing (Shinrin-yoku) on working age people with and without depressive tendencies." Environmental health and preventive medicine. 22 June 2019. doi: 10.1186/s12199-019-0800-1