10 Activities to Help Relieve Work From Home Stress
Although working from home (WFH) brings a lot of benefits, it can also be very stressful. And with the Coronavirus pandemic still forcing governments to mandate strict remote work policies, it will be a while before most employees can return to their previous work schedules. If you have recently been experiencing high levels of WFH stress, here are eight activities that you can surely help you out:
1. Eat (and never skip meals)
Nothing can be more stressful than coping with working at home on an empty stomach. If you have been accustomed to skipping meals while you were still working in an office, forget that routine while in your remote work setup especially if you’re already stressed to begin with. Working hungry while beating deadlines is never a good combination and will only hinder your productivity.
Whether you are working in the morning or evening, always make time to eat full meals. You can also set an hour-long break where you can enjoy your meals and do a little bit of relaxation similar to when you were still working in an office. Access to food should no longer a problem while working from home since you’re panty or refrigerator is just a few feet away from your workstation. Additionally, the massive popularity of online food services also makes it easy and convenient for you to order from your favorite restaurants at any time.
2. Have snacks at the ready
Speaking of never skipping meals, you can also have snacks in your workstation so that you can have something to munch on while completing your various tasks for the day. Food has always been a great equalizer for work related stress so why limit yourself to breakfast, lunch, and dinner when you can have snacks in between your full meals. Constantly eating also keeps you alert throughout your entire shift.
Choices are aplenty when it comes to snacks, whether it be hearty sandwiches, decadent sweet treats, or even crunchy potato/corn chips. You can even create a weekly snack plan where you can map out the food you will be eating for the entire workweek which is also very advantageous on your end so that you can do some groceries during the weekend or in your free time.
If you’re worried about gaining weight and not go hungry at the same time, go for high-protein snacks such as fresh fruits, eggs, nuts, yogurt, chickpeas, and popcorn. You can even mix these foods together to have a more satisfying snack time.
3. Move around
One advantage of working remotely is that you can have quick breaks throughout your shift whereas you may be discouraged to do so when in an office setting. While on a work from home setup, utilize quick breaks by moving around the house or the location you’re currently working in. Walk around the four corners of your room, the living room, the kitchen, or even in the yard. You can even go outside and start walking around your neighborhood.
Moving around helps you clear your mind and also prevents work from home burnout. Even if you don’t have a large house to begin with, you can utilize whatever space or even go outside if your space is limited. Just remember to return to your work from home office after several minutes and not use the time you have to do some groceries or shopping. You have all the leisure time once you finish work.
4. Have an exercise routine
Moving around your home may already be classified as light exercises but you can always add a full exercise regimen if you feel like exercises can help you relieve stress at home. Exercise is a great way to inject some much-needed energy into your body and is very helpful if you want a maintain a healthy lifestyle even when stressed from work-related activities.
Just make sure to choose exercises that won’t completely tire you out, leaving you completely exhausted to finish whatever work you plan on finishing for the day. But if you’re the type who has been accustomed to rigid workouts before going to the office, then proceed with what you’ve been accustomed to.
As to the exercises you aim on doing, there are numerous you can check out online. You can even subscribe to online fitness trainers who can help you in developing a daily or weekly plan that revolves around your current diet and health condition. It is understandable that it can be tiring to do some exercises before or after work with some people thinking of exercises as added stress. But know that a regular exercise routine is very beneficial for your mind and body long-term. You can always sweat it out during the weekend if your schedule doesn’t permit you on weekdays.
5. Call a friend or family member
Having a chat with someone that makes you happy is one of the most effective and inexpensive stress-free tips out there. These days where most cities in the world are in a strict lockdown, communication has become more important than ever. Even if it’s only communication via an online communication platform such as Zoom, Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, or Google Hangouts, just to name a few, it’s still better than having no conversations at all. As long as you’re not beating deadlines, you can always call a friend or family member during your spare time.
The person you will be calling might be using the same video conferencing platform you are using for work so make sure to add them to your contact list so that you won’t be switching from one device to another during the call. Texting can also be an option but numerous studies have already shown that video calls or conversations where voices are heard and faces are seen are more effective. You should also consider calling a work colleague especially the one you are very closed with as they are the ones who completely understand your work-related issues.
6. Sing and dance
Singing and dancing are some activities that you are never allowed to do inside the office unless it’s an office party or social event. If you have been itching to play some tunes on loud speaker or bust out some dance moves, now is your time to do so when on your full-time (or even freelance) remote work setup. Even if you’re not a good singer or dancer, it shouldn't stop you from doing it even if some members of the household may tease you afterward.
It is suggested that you prepare a playlist ahead of time so that you won’t have to click through different songs while working. You can also choose from hundreds of playlists online, saving you the time from choosing songs to add to your personal playlist. Switching different playlists will not only help you discover new songs but rediscover old classics. These songs will certainly give you the inspiration you need to fight off stress and finish all of your work within the given time frame.
7. Make use of your streaming subscription
Make use of your streaming subscription is one working from home stress relief that you should consider especially if you’ve been constantly postponing your “Netflix and chill” plans. Watching movies or television shows is a great source for relaxation and if you can manage to multi-task working and binge-watching then no one shouldn’t stop you from doing it.
Remote working has become a great way to watch movies on your computer while working; a comfort you can never do when your boss is around. You can either open a small window where you can watch the movie or you can simply maximize your entire screen (as well as adjusting the resolution to 4K).
When working from home, your manager or colleagues couldn’t care less if you’re watching a movie or not. All you need to do is finish your work on time which actually benefits you since it gives you more time to binge-watch after you’ve finished work for the day. Just take note that not everyone can watch a movie and work at the same time as it can cause concentration problems and even mild headaches. If you can’t multi-task, then move this activity to your lunch break or any time where you’re not busy.
8. Read a book
If you’ve always been fascinated by novels with great stories, then you should consider picking up a book to help you relieve some of that work from home stress. Much like watching a movie, you can read a book while on your break. You also don’t have to finish the entire thing in one go as you can always read a few chapters in between your work or even after the shift. Reading a book will definitely help you relax, specifically transporting your mind to a world with fascinating characters and stunning locations.
Reading a book also doesn’t have to pertain to reading a traditional hardcover as you can also go for audiobooks. Listening to audiobooks can even be incorporated into your work as long as you don’t easily get distracted. Reading is certainly not everyone’s cup of tea and it may not be for you as well but it can be one activity that you should consider down the road.
9. Clean the house
Cleaning is a universally accepted solution for handling stress. It may be tiring but seeing the result afterward doesn’t just result in a sense of relaxation but also accomplishment. If your home workspace is a mess, then what are you waiting for and get it cleaned right away. While you’re at it, you can also clean the entire house. Cleaning doesn’t have to be something that you’re forced to do as you can start by easy activities (throwing trash, wiping the table, vacuuming the carpet) and slowly progressing to more tiring ones (doing the laundry, cleaning entire rooms).
If you haven’t noticed, cleaning is also an exercise that can help you tremendously with your physical and mental health. Although it may not be enough to build muscles or help you improve stamina, it keeps your body moving. Any activity that keeps the body in motion definitely brings more pros than cons. So, prepare those vacuum cleaners, dust cloths, and liquid cleaners which you may haven’t even used for a while now and start cleaning.
Meditation is often an overlooked activity when it comes to getting relieved from work-related stress. This is because the majority of people don’t meditate as they believe it doesn’t really offer any sort of benefits. But when research is involved, meditation is actually one of the best stress relief techniques one can do with multiple studies showing that regular meditation heightens the state of awareness and focuses attention as well as helping in managing work stress or anxiety. Leading research institution John Hopkins University also revealed in a 2014 study that meditation is as effective as antidepressants for depression and anxiety.
Experts recommend 40 to 45 minutes of meditation per day, with the meditation focusing on clearing the mind and/or focusing on slow breathing. To help you meditate, numerous apps are available online which you can download for free. These apps can help you develop a regular routine which is helpful if you plan on doing the activity long-term.
No matter what your (remote) job is, stress is always something that never goes away. You can’t run from it so your best option is to contain it with an effective work stress management plan. With the 10 activities listed above, it won’t be long before you can manage all your work tasks without having to feel tired, frustrated, and depressed at the end of the day.