CLEVELAND — It's been nearly a year since the COVID-19 pandemic was declared in the United States, and many of us are still working from home with no end in sight.
This Mom Minute Monday, 3News’ Danielle Wiggins talked to MetroHealth psychologist Dr. Stacy Caldwell about the simple things you can do to help beat work-from-home fatigue.
Danielle brought up the point that when the pandemic first impacted our lives, many of us – probably unrealistically – expected to be working from home for just a few weeks.
“How do you deal, as a mom, with work-from-home fatigue when you don't even know when you might possibly go back to the office?” Danielle asked.
Dr. Caldwell says first, set some boundaries.
“Remote work obviously has its benefits, but those working from home can sometimes work too long,” says Dr. Caldwell. “Maintain a schedule so that you have that feeling of normalcy. Maintain a routine, but definitely set boundaries. We can lose our sense of time when we work from home.”
Another priority should be interacting with people, even if it’s not in person.
“Reach out for support when you have a break. Pick up the phone, call a friend or set up that virtual lunch time with others. Because when we're not in the office, we're not having that opportunity to kind of cross paths with others and have that that interaction."
It’s also important to organize your tasks for the entire week and prioritize, especially because women have a tendency to wear several different hats.
“Many women obviously carry multiple responsibilities for home and work, so it's important to prioritize tasks and be willing to let go of some things. Or at least delay some tasks until a later time in order to avoid becoming overwhelmed.”
Dr. Caldwell says women also need to make themselves a priority.
“Think about what you need to get done. Look at that list and ask yourself: ‘Am I on this list?’”
If you find yourself battling work-from-home fatigue, another easy way to regain focus is to get up and move. Make it a habit.
“Try building movement breaks into the day. When you have those breaks, something as small as a 10-minute walk or a 10-minute stretch can be very refreshing,” Dr. Caldwell says.
If you can’t get outside to walk, she says there are some other things you can try.
“Try moving to a different room of the house, or maybe opening a window.”
Items we use every day can also become stressors. Dr. Caldwell says to think about curbing your technology habits.
“There is some recent research that suggests that the increased use of devices -- our smartphones, tablets, laptops -- is associated with higher levels of stress. So try to be purposeful in taking time away from gazing at these devices.”