When you go to a brick and mortar job, you leave home behind for several hours and focus on the work you’re doing. And when you leave for the day, people always tell you: “Don’t take your work home with you!” You leave that chaos behind. But what do you do if you’re having a bad day AND you work from home? How do you separate your personal stress from your work at home life?
When everything that happens to you happens in the exact same spot, it’s going to cause stress. Maybe this morning you woke up to your spouse grumbling about something you did (or didn’t) do, and then the kids wouldn’t get out of bed and get ready for school, and they complained about their breakfast options, and then missed the bus, and the dog decided to chew on your favorite sneakers, or the cat left a special present for you in the hallway.
But you have to get to work. And for you, your work is only a few feet away in another room.
It’s not “hop in the car, swing through the Starbucks drive-thru, blast some tunes, get to work, and then spend the first 30 minutes with your co-workers sharing stories, letting frustrations out, having a laugh or two, and then settling in for the day.”
Once everyone else is gone, you’re still in the house, having to start work, but still surrounded by the negativity of the morning. How are you supposed to move beyond that?
Honestly, there is no “right” solution. I believe it’s a combination of things. Here’s a short list of some things I do to clear away the negativity and start my day on the right foot.
Headspace - Have you ever had an app make you happy? This one does! Well, it at least makes me feel calm. Sometimes I just need help relaxing my mind, and this has been the best app for me. Try out their free version. (I was so impressed, I actually bought the full app - and you know I just won’t spend money on any ole thing!)
Heated Eye Pillow - To be fair, I originally bought this to help with sinus pain, but this has been so nice for just sitting back and relaxing (along with using Headspace). It’s a big plus to be able to plug it in my laptop.
Leave the House - Just because you don’t officially leave each day to go to your job doesn’t mean you should stay at home when you’re feeling frustrated and stressed. Take the trip to Starbucks, go in, grab a latte, sit down, relax. I don’t recommend looking at your phone unless it’s to play a game or browse some stores. Don’t look at email. Don’t think about work. Don’t think about all the stresses that took place. Just relax for a little while.
And if you don’t like coffee (eek!), go somewhere else. A walk around the mall, or in a park, or just around your favorite store.
Call a friend - Sometimes we just need to air our complaints out to another person. Friends are there to listen and support. Just ten minutes on the phone can clear your head and make you realize that “this too, shall pass.”
Find what works for you to relieve those bad days when you’re working from home. Exercise, chocolate, a friend, an app. Take time to clear your head before you “go” to work and you’ll set yourself up for a more successful day.
28+ years of business experience. 15+ years of virtual experience.