5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance
Start writing a post

5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Based on conversations with my clients, here are my tips on how to enjoy the new, working from home experience without "bringing your work home."

5 Tips for Maintaining a Healthy Work-Life Balance

Working from home was already rising in popularity before the coronavirus pandemic hit, but a combination of lockdown orders and fears of infection accelerated the trend dramatically. Based on the conversations I've had during coaching sessions with my wellness clients in recent weeks, it seems like few American professionals who have been forced to work remotely have any plans to get back to their offices any time soon.

In fact, most of the people in my network are delighted to finally have the opportunity to work from home, although it's far from that simple for them – people have a lot of mixed feelings about it. You might have been pushing to be allowed to work from home for years, but now that it's here, you're finding that it's not as easy as you once thought.

If that sounds familiar, I can tell you that you're not alone. A recent State of Remote Work report by Buffer found that although 97% of remote workers would recommend working from home to others, they still struggle with it, and that definitely matches what I'm hearing from clients. Having trouble with communication, loneliness and unplugging from work all seem like challenges built in to the transition.


There are good reasons for these difficulties. When you work from home, you erase the physical separation between your work life and your home life, and that can make it even harder to mentally separate between being "at work" and being "away from work." To hit a good work-life balance, or at least something resembling it, you need to have times when you're at work, gaining satisfaction from your job, and times when you're living the rest of your life – spending time with friends and family, relaxing and de-stressing, enjoying leisure pursuits and hobbies.

If you found it difficult to maintain a harmonious work-life balance before the pandemic, working from home is likely to make it even more challenging. Still, there are definitely things you can do to separate between your work life and your home life, even if they both take place in the same location.

1. Get out of bed

One of the most popular ideas that entice people when it comes to working from home is that you can get all your work done without even getting out of bed. Working from your bed, the couch, or a hammock slung on your balcony can sound appealing, but for most of us, it's not really such a good idea.


I've noticed that when I work from a place that I typically use to relax, it harms both my productivity at work and my ability to wind down after work. Working from home already blurs the boundaries between work and play; you don't want to erase them altogether by bringing your work into your bedroom or your chill-out space.

Don't get me wrong – I've had fun, lazy mornings with my laptop with me in bed, but the truth is that I focus much better when I work in my "office" space at the kitchen table. One friend of mine carved out private work space in a converted closet. As small as it is, she doesn't feel cramped, and she says that it's worth it to feel a sense of "arriving at work" and "leaving work" which helps users transition between activities and mindsets.

2. Keep track of time

When you're working at home, relaxing at home, and socializing at home, it's easy to let your work hours and your relaxation hours mix together. There's a real risk that your work can end up spilling over into every hour of your day, including your evening bubble bath and late-night sitcom time, because there's no clear end to your working day.

It's important to keep to your regular working and break hours, so that work doesn't take over your life. When I take a break, I make it clear that I'm walking away from the computer and putting all my work on hold. I'm a huge believer in getting outside.

In my opinion, there's nothing better than fresh air! So if you can, head outside entirely during a break; take a walk to a nearby park, if you can, or just breathe deep and get your body moving. Scientific research has confirmed that nature helps reduce stress, and exercise clears your head as it re-energizes you for when you return to work.

3. Don't be a stranger

Social isolation is one of the biggest trouble spots associated with working from home. It's one of the two top issues that remote workers struggle with, according to the Buffer study, with 20% of people who work from home saying that loneliness and isolation are their biggest challenge.

I know that I start to go crazy if I haven't had a decent chat in two days. Some days that means I end up spending a little too long talking to the Uber Eats guy, if I don't catch myself.


When you're working in an office, there's plenty of informal conversation and banter to help you feel part of a team. When you work from home, especially if you live alone, there's no such natural sense of connection. Without the proverbial water cooler, it's up to you to create and maintain work friendships.

Do what you can to keep your social life going. Try scheduling a daily phone break with a colleague, or set up a weekly video-conferencing meeting with the whole office, just so that everyone can check in and stay in touch. These relationships also underpin your ability to collaborate smoothly with your colleagues.

4. Get dressed

Just about every WFH meme references the joy of being able to work in your pajamas, or to have Zoom calls without pants. It makes sense. Pajamas are fun and comfortable, and if you've spent years on end dressing up in a suit and tie every day, who can blame you for rejoicing in wearing clothes that are actually comfortable for a change?

Personally, I love my PJs, so I don't want to knock them, but the old cliche about "dressing for success" didn't come out of nowhere. When you work in your pajamas, you're basically fading that line between work and home even more. Getting dressed in "real clothes," even if we're talking about changing from pajamas to a t-shirt and jeans, helps you to feel like you're "going to work."

One study even found that when you dress in business attire, it changes the way you think and relate to people, so putting on your work clothes can be a great way of getting yourself in the work mindset. For me, putting on shoes is how I signal to myself that I'm at work. Changing out of your work clothes can signify the end of your working day, so that you can truly relax without feeling like you still have half a foot in your "work" mentality.

On the other hand, if you find that you love your PJs and you have a better way to mark the transition between work and home, then go for it. Whatever works – you do you.

5. Don't bring fun to work

Hopefully, you do enjoy your job and find plenty of fun and satisfaction in your work. What you want to avoid is connecting the things that you do to relax and chill out with your work time.

That means things like keeping your favorite sitcom on in the background while you're working. It's a bad idea; it'll ruin your enjoyment of the program, and it'll chip away at your productivity at work.

Save it as something to properly enjoy as a reward for putting in a full day of work.

A healthy balance is still possible

Working from home can be an awesome experience for everyone, as long as you keep your work life and your home life separate. You need satisfaction from both work and relaxation, so think carefully about the clothes you wear and the place and hours you choose for work, keep up with your work relationships, and save your favorite activities for after work instead of mixing them up.

Finding a happy work-life balance is within your reach.

This article was originally published on ThriveGlobal.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Olivia White

"The American flag does not fly because the wind moves it. It flies from the last breath of each solider who died protecting it."

Keep Reading... Show less

Separation Anxiety in Pets

Separation anxiety in pets is a real thing and recognizing the warning signs is important.


Since March, Covid-19 required most of the world to quarantine in their homes. Majority of people ended up working from home for nearly five months. This meant pet owners were constantly with their pets giving them attention, playing with them, letting them out etc. Therefore, when the world slowly started to open up again and pet owners began returning to normal life work schedules away from the home, pet owners noticed a difference in the way their pet acted. Many pets develop separation anxiety especially during this crazy time when majority people were stuck inside barely leaving the house.

Keep Reading... Show less
Robert Bye on Unsplash

I live by New York City and I am so excited for all of the summer adventures.

Keep Reading... Show less

The invention of photography

The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.


The history of photography is the recount of inventions, scientific discoveries and technical improvements that allowed human beings to capture an image on a photosensitive surface for the first time, using light and certain chemical elements that react with it.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments