7 Ways to Rest for Remote Workers
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article that addressed how we're conditioned - by our current economic system - to consider rest to be an interruption to work. I wrote that we need to reclaim rest from capitalism. The problem of resting, however, can be exacerbated for remote workers who often eat, pay their bills, do homework with their kids, and work at the same table.
Today I'm offering some tips for reclaiming rest if you're a remote worker.
As I wrote about here, it's a good idea to clear your table before you begin work, in order to create the mental and physical space you need to work from home. But you should also do this practice in reverse! If you have a lunch break, close your computer and clear the table before eating. When evening rolls around, clear the table to make room for games, dinner, and whatever mental space you need to put between yourself and your inbox.
Give yourself a "work is over" mantra or slogan. This may seem silly, but my husband and I have been doing this for years. When you've finished your work (paid, childcare, domestic tasks - whatever!) for the day, develop a statement that you tell yourself, out loud if necessary, to remind yourself that you have transitioned from work to rest. I visualize putting all my work stress into a jar, attaching the lid, and putting the jar into the closet until I need it again.
Figure out when you need to wind down. When I finish my paid work for the day, I often spend the next hour or so playing with my son or making dinner. This isn't really prime wind-down time for me. For me, wind down begins, usually, over dinner. I also need extra wind down time right before sleeping. Others might find that wind-down time happens exactly at 5 pm or 6 pm or maybe during the mid-afternoon, if you work non-traditional hours. It's imperative that you figure out when you need to rest.
After figuring out when you need to rest, develop wind-down rituals: for example, putting on comfy clothing, eating a piece of chocolate, drinking an iced beverage (or a hot one, in the winter), going for a walk, reading, Zooming with a friend. This is a good time to avoid activities that produce anxiety or stress for you. I try my best to stay off social media. I don't usually read the news during this time, and I often don't respond to text messages.
Practice actively closing internet tabs you aren't using. I've found myself mid-morning with 30 browser tabs open. For me, this is a recipe for distraction, frustration, and over-stimulation. I'm working to keep open only relevant tabs in order to finish work in a timely manner (instead of jumping from task to task, like I do when I tidy my home).
Turn off the damn computer! Don't just close it. Turn the darn thing off. It's better for your hardware anyway. Better yet, turn it off and put it away and out of site. I keep my computer in a closet.
Do whatever you need to do to make restarting work "difficult." Put your cell phone on top shelf. Sit in a room where you can't see the mess your house is in or take a walk to get away from the mess. Put away work papers. Unplug your internet if that helps, or turn your technology on airplane mode.