In less than a month, life before the community quarantine is now nothing but a distant memory. For those lucky enough to be staying at home, quarantined and hopefully safe from the crisis, it’s also likely that your work or academic responsibilities have followed you home.
Working from home is a struggle, especially if you’re hesitant about giving yourself a break. Many professionals are actually really bad at taking vacations, and I should know because I’m guilty of this. This 2017 survey by Glassdoor also proves this: two in three employees would work during vacations and only 23 percent would actually use their government-mandated vacation leaves.
Another reason why people find it so hard to get off work is that when you work from home, it might be difficult to actually “go home” because where you live has now transformed into your workspace. Boundaries between a safe space and a “stress space” are blurred and can leave one feeling tired and overstimulated from all the meetings, deadlines, new Netflix offerings, house chores and noisy housemates.
Working from home is a lot to handle, and to be honest, two months in the game I’m not even sure if I’m doing it right. The current circumstance in which everyone is working from home can also be a cause of mental and emotional exhaustion.
Thankfully, Labor Day comes on a Friday which means you’ve got a long weekend to recuperate from the stress you’ve been experiencing lately. Taking a pandemic day off can be difficult when everyone is pressured to be productive in the middle of a global crisis but here’s the thing: Resting is beneficial. In times when people are asked over and over again to be work martyrs, to participate and excel in hustle culture, it can even be revolutionary.
Here are some tips to help you ensure that you get the rest you need—all you have to do is to commit to it.
The first step to making your break an actual break is to not bring your work stuff into it. Block those notifications (of course, if you’re taking a leave on a workday inform your supervisors…we’re going on leave and not ghosting), turn on your vacation responder, and put your phone, and yourself, on do not disturb. If you have a work laptop, turn it off. It would be best if you don’t see stuff that reminds you of work.
Don’t force productivity
Some people think that vacation time means focusing on other hobbies like writing, painting, baking or working out. But if you feel the need to do these hobbies as a way to compensate for the fact that you’re not working, you’re doing them for the wrong reasons. Hobbies have to make you feel good—they’re not filler activities to make you feel as if you’re still a functioning member of society. A vacation is meant to be relaxing, it’s not a contest. Remember, humanity is not measured by productivity—that’s a capitalist myth.
Get enough sleep
Working from home can make people work overtime or work longer hours than they usually would in their offices. This means that your time to sleep is cut off and you can suffer many health risks like overfatigue, heart failure, stroke or impaired memory. Getting enough sleep helps improve the quality of life; it’s also one of the easiest things you can do in pursuit of good health. A good night’s sleep can do wonders and can make you feel refreshed and rested better than any workout or diet fad can.
Listen to your body
The first signs of overworking come from your body. You can develop tics related to exhaustion, your mood can be affected and your overall performance can decline when you become overworked. What you have to do now is take a cue from Beyonce and listen. Listen to what your body is telling you: from what it needs and what it doesn’t like. If you’re feeling drained and weak it’s time to rest. If you’re irritated and emotional it’s time to take a step back. Listening to your body will also help you know what to do if you’re really feeling burned out.
Self-motivate and forgive yourself
For workaholics, a strategy that can really work wonders is reframing rest as recovery. Recovery is investing in time to be better, to refocus your energy and yourself in order for you to be better when you come back to work. Be quick to catch destructive thoughts that compare yourself to others. Just because they’re working that desk job and you’re working on resting doesn’t mean you’re not successful—hey, resting takes a lot of work too. Forgive yourself and be kind to yourself. Everyone has limits and reaching yours isn’t a bad thing, it can be a learning experience to put yourself and your well-being first.