Being a work-at-home professional isn’t as laid back as some would think. It can be incredibly stressful to balance caring for the kids and the house while on the clock, trying to earn a living. Do you find yourself trying to get work done, but feeling guilty for not spending time with the kids? Or are you constantly thinking about work when you’re with the family? Here are some sure-fire tips to stop the stress before it starts.
- Stretch your muscles. You don’t have to do a killer abs routine or run ten miles each morning, but engaging in some form of physical activity is a great way to start the day. Consider yoga or pilates, which are known to be good for body and soul.
- Avoid marathon work sessions. Sitting at the computer for hours at a time will only lead to frazzled nerves and tense muscles. Set a timer or work on one task at a time. Then take a short break, away from the computer.
- Drink a cup of tea. A nice, warm cup of tea always relaxes me and puts me in a better frame of mind when I’m feeling tense. A flavored or herbal tea can be a great indulgence. Or substitute your beverage of choice for tea.
- Call a friend. Sometimes we just need to vent. If stress is keeping you from being productive, why not pick up the phone or instant message a pal to let off some steam? Keep it short, then get back to work.
- Play! – If you’ve got kids at home, it’s no secret that they need your attention. So give it to them. I feel so much better after a tickle fest with my baby boy. I can head back to my project when he naps.
- Write it down. Write down a realistic schedule for your week. Account for regular events like naptime or bus pick up. Then schedule work time in between. Of course, we need to be flexible, but having a map certainly helps when trying to reach your destination!
- Shut the door. This is one I’ve recently had to implement at my house. Telling the children to “pretend” my office door was closed didn’t work. I’ve been far more productive since actually shutting it. My kids are old enough to watch television unsupervised and can be trusted to play with the baby for a bit. Use your judgment.
- Ask for help. Communicate your needs to your family and friends. I’m constantly telling my family, “Mommy’s only one person.” Asking older kids to help out teaches responsibility, and explaining how you feel to your significant other will help to avoid spats.
- Leave work at work. Realize that, because you are only one person, you can only do so much. When you’re spending time with your kids, try not to worry about work. My biggest weakness used to be running into my office to check my email “real quick”. I’ve been much happier since breaking that habit.
- Get your beauty sleep. It can be tempting to stay up until all hours of the night to get some uninterrupted work time. But this can be a bad idea. Being exhausted from a long day can cause you to make careless errors, leading to disappointed clients and even more stress. Plus, it’s been medically proven that lack of sleep is damaging to your health.
- Hire help. If you’ve got it in your budget, it may be well worth the money to hire a part-time baby sitter or enlist the help of a cleaning service. Check your finances, taking into consideration the money you might make if you had more time.
Give these tips a try to see what works for you. You’ll probably even come up with some great ideas of your own in the process. Changing habits takes practice, but saving your sanity is well worth the effort.