Working from home has enormous benefits, from flexibility and autonomy to time-savings and cost-effectiveness. But remote work is not without its challenges, particularly when it comes to dividing your day into distinct work and non-work segments.
An annual survey of remote workers conducted by Buffer, a social media app, has consistently found that one of the biggest challenges of working from home is the inability to unplug from work. In the 2021 results, this challenge was especially prevalent.
One of the reasons people aren’t able to detach is the lack of physical boundaries between their personal and work lives. While we may not be able to literally separate the two, we can still separate them mentally. Routines help us to clearly demarcate these important lines.
A morning routine, in particular, could be the solution to overcoming many of the challenges remote workers are facing. A healthy morning routine is a way to ground yourself before the day starts. It provides space in your day to put yourself first, giving you time to dedicate to your health and well-being. Having me-time before work encourages better balance with work-from-home responsibilities.
If you’re struggling with setting clear boundaries, try building a personalized morning routine to set you up for a healthy and productive workday. Here are five ideas to incorporate into your pre-work ritual.
A solid morning routine starts the night before. By planning ahead, you can start each morning with a clear roadmap of what to tackle first and in what order.
There are a few good reasons to plan your day the night before:
This last point is critical for anyone feeling work-from-home burnout. Mornings already tend to be stressful. When you wake up, your brain releases cortisol, a stress hormone, to help you wake up. While this is beneficial for getting you out of bed, it can also be mentally taxing.
The extra cortisol in your system can cause your brain to fixate on what needs to be done for the day. Not planning ahead can compound the natural morning stress you already feel. However, if you’ve planned the night before, you mitigate the amount of stress your mind takes on first thing in the morning.
Many remote workers quickly realize that working from home in your pajamas isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It’s also another potential reason why people have a hard time separating their work and home lives. The act of getting ready for work, even if you aren’t leaving the house, has powerful mental and physical benefits.
First of all, everyone feels more confident and presentable once they’ve showered and gotten ready for the day. Secondly, it’s a distinct way to mark the beginning of an official workday instead of a day where you work from home. Whether you’re going to be on camera that day or not, getting ready will make you feel more focused.
Here are some ways to put some effort into getting ready before work:
It’s good to follow a specific order when you get ready in the morning. Do you brush your teeth before or after you shower? Do you eat breakfast before or after you get the kids ready or take the dog for a walk? Having a hierarchy of decisions not only saves time and mental energy but also prevents you from forgetting things.
Your morning routine should ideally incorporate some regenerative and energizing self-care.
As we continue to navigate life through a pandemic, practicing mindfulness has become as important as ever. Mindfulness is a way to cultivate the skill of self-awareness. Ultimately, someone with higher levels of mindfulness is less affected by negative internal states like anxiety.
Because many people tend to be rushed and stressed in the mornings, taking an early morning mindfulness break can help lessen the pressure you might feel before work.
There are a few ways to include mindfulness in your morning routine:
If you tend to spend a lot of time on video calls during your day, mindfulness may be even more critical for you. Recently, many people have reported feeling Zoom fatigue, which is the exhaustion you experience after video conferences.
If you’ve noticed that video calls leave you feeling drained, taking a daily mindfulness break to reset yourself could be extremely beneficial to maintaining your mental stamina. Mindfulness breaks can be as short as two minutes, so they don’t require a big commitment during a time-crunched morning routine.
Morning movement has short-term and long-term benefits. It can help increase your focus and mood for the day, but over time, daily exercise has protective benefits for longevity and disease prevention.
You might want to switch it up each day, with some days dedicated to intense workouts and busier days reserved for quick activity.
Here are some morning workout ideas that range from intense to light exercise:
If you can, try to go outside for a few minutes each morning. When you work from home, there are no commutes or lunch breaks with co-workers, so you tend to spend more time indoors. Being outdoors is a proven way to increase mood, reduce stress and boost mental clarity.
In these stressful times, we’re facing a lot of uncertainty. To protect your health, it’s important to stay committed to doing things you enjoy — things that put you in a good mood and contribute to your overall well-being.
Here are some morning routine ideas to boost your mood:
By actively doing things to boost your mood, you’ll experience higher levels of happiness and satisfaction. Being in a good mood is also good for your physical health. People who report having consistently higher moods tend to have stronger immune systems and experience less illness and fewer aches and pains.
Morning wellness routines are possible with the right solutions for mind and body. Relax The Back’s range of personal well-being products, including massage recliners and meditation chairs, can help you have the perfect morning routine.