Working from home may have appeared to be a dream come true at the start of your new remote arrangement. After all, you gathered all your work from home essentials, found a quiet nook in your home, and we're still likely to be productive, even while wearing your most comfortable sweatpants. However, unforeseen problems can arise after a few weeks or months of your new home setup.
The most important thing to remember as a remote worker is to try and achieve a work-life balance, one that allows you to pay equal attention to both your professional and personal lives. And, once you've put in your necessary work hours, you have to be willing to take restful, impactful breaks to maintain your physical and mental well-being for the long term.
If you've hit the remote-worker wall and don't know how to fix your situation, there are ways to help you escape the madness. Read on to discover why breaks from work are essential, how often you should commit to breaks, and five ways to insert productive breaks into your daily routine, even when you're at home all day.
Why Are Breaks From Work Important?
While it can seem like a good thing to have no strict working hours in place, this notion is slippery with no boss hanging over your shoulder.
Thinking you no longer have to abide by strict eight-hour workdays may at first seem like freedom, but it can quickly take over your entire life. It's all too easy to procrastinate and lose track of your tasks or to keep working consistently from morning until night without stopping. This can lead to:
Work fatigue and general exhaustion
Loss of productivity
Loss of creativity
Less time with family and friends
No personal time to relax and unwind
As these issues build up over time, you'll officially find yourself with "burnout."
You need to set new boundaries for your day to fix this problem. Just as you would take breaks at work for lunch, social meetings, or a personal phone call or two, you need to set aside time to step away from your desk at home to check out for a while mentally.
Taking scheduled breaks can help boost your motivation, increase your productivity and restore your physical and mental health over time.
Frequency of Breaks
Regardless of the number of breaks you want to commit to, you must stick to this same amount and enforce them regularly.
Here are some examples of how to fit breaks into your workday:
Leave 5-10 minutes of every hour available for a quick stretch or a snack. This can improve blood flow in your body, increase your energy levels and relieve your brain fog for greater overall productivity.
Step away from your desk for 30-minute intervals at least 3-4 times a day. This breaks up long hours of working and focusing, which can lighten your mood and relieve stress for the remainder of the day.
However, you plan to incorporate breaks between work hours, prioritize them and make this new system part of your daily routine.
Best Work Break Activities
Learning new methods for relaxing in between work intervals can take time to get used to, but it's vital for your working from home mental health. If you're not sure where to begin with, work-break activities, here are five helpful ideas:
Read a book or listen to an audiobook: Stepping back from your responsibilities doesn't mean you have to stop educating yourself. Choose a business-minded podcast to check in with every day, listen to a mentor's audiobook, or find a self-help book that will reignite your motivation.
Follow a guided fitness routine: Exercise is crucial for your mind and body, and fitting in a light fitness regimen for daily movement can be highly impactful — especially if you stare at a computer all day.
Explore outside the house: Whether you go for a quick drive, take a stroll at a nearby park, or watch your local wildlife outdoors, getting away from the place you now spend much of your time in can help separate work from your personal activities.
Cook or assemble 15-minute meals for lunch: Learning new recipes can help brighten and change your daily routine while allowing you to feel accomplished in something outside of work.
Spend time with your spouse or play with your kids — or both! Use your free time to check in with your family and friends. Play a game, watch a cartoon or enjoy a friendly chat to stay updated on everyone's lives.
Acclimating yourself to a new routine can be challenging, but working remotely does offer plenty of benefits once you acquire a new work-life balance.
Cater to both your professional and personal needs, but fit in regular breaks during your workday to sustain your drive to succeed, improve your motivation, and help you focus on a more productive future.