When you decide to give up working for somebody else and work from home, everything changes. Your working life will change more than you can possibly understand. Your work patterns, your work-life balance, your social interactions. A home business can be all-consuming. Your mental health and physical health may no longer get that which it craves, especially if you are part of the digital economy and never meet your clients in person.
How do you take care of your physical health and mental well-being when you work from home?
The first thing you need to remember is the importance of social interaction. You will do your mental health no good by staying at home all day, every day. You need to mix with people. Go shopping or out for a walk during your workday; it will keep your fresh and sharp. Alternatively, look out for local networking or “co-work” groups. These provide social interaction for the purpose of work contacts and / or company. There is a major national organisation called “Jelly” that provides co-working environments for the work from home. It’s a great way to meet new like-minded people, sit, chat and work together but it is not networking.
Get Physical Exercise
What is your physical exercise of choice? Running? Walking? Going to the gym? Don’t feel guilty about scheduling these during work time. You will need the physical activity to keep you fit and it’s important that you get as much as you can. You have the time to do so now, which is the excuse of most people in regular jobs. Your exercise level is about to drop significantly and for many reasons you need to be extra motivated to keep it up. Being at home means food temptation is in the way. It also means neglecting your physical health.
Drop the 9-5 Habit
You no longer need to work 9-5, so why do it? Nobody is going to reprimand you for stopping work at 2pm or not starting until 11am. Nobody will reprimand you for taking a day off on Wednesday, although you need the self-discipline to understand whether it will be a good idea to do so. This 9-5, Monday to Friday mind-set will provide a barrier to your life pattern and possibly one of the reasons you gave up regular work in the first place. You will use “it’s my work time” as an excuse for not exercising.
Your new business will occupy a lot of your waking time. You will receive emails at the weekend, in the evenings and even just as you are going to bed. It will be tempting to respond and act on them. It’s difficult not to take notice of the emails and phone calls you might get out of working hours, but for your mental health you need to do so. We also advise creating a home office in a dedicated room. Most people who work from home use a spare bedroom as an office. That way they can forget about work at the weekends. It’s amazing when your home is you workplace just how difficult it can be to switch off completely.
It’s tempting never to take time off. It’s tempting to work through and enjoy the money coming in. The reason that people in paid employment are legally entitled to holiday time is because it is vital for physical and mental health. We need extended periods to wind down and shut off. Don’t be afraid to take a whole week off or honour those bank holidays. Don’t worry about taking that foreign holiday. It may be lost money, but your brain will thank you for it in the long-run.