By now, we’re all familiar with the fact that the work day is about more than just physical exertion.
It’s also about time.
In fact, in a recent study, Canadian researchers determined that nearly one-third of Canadians work from home for the majority of their working day.
They also know the hours are a key factor in many people’s stress levels and depression levels.
It may seem like you’re the exception, but in fact, you’re not.
“Our research shows that, for most people, the working day is not a time for rest and relaxation,” says Catherine MacKinnon, a University of Toronto researcher who is studying how stress and depression affect people’s work lives.
“It’s about keeping working and getting a job done.”
So what can you do to keep yourself and your job?
There are plenty of things you can do to make your work life less stressful.
Here are some tips that can help.
Make a list of your priorities Before you go to work, take a moment to make a list.
Do you want to get your car fixed, get a haircut, or do something else?
Write down the top three things on your list: What do you want your day to be like?
What are your priorities?
What do I need to do to be productive?
How can I improve my performance and make it last longer?
How long will it take for me to do all of this?
Make it a regular practice Take a break before you go at work.
For example, if you work from a desk, do a 10-minute break before going to the toilet.
“That way, you have time to catch your breath and refresh your brain,” MacKinnsonsays.
“The benefits are really huge.”
Try to schedule some time when you’re alone.
MacKunningsons research shows working from home boosts the activity in your brain.
“When you have a family member or friends, it can be challenging,” she says.
“You may need to take time off work to recharge your energy.”
Find some exercise The research shows physical activity boosts brain activity.
“If you can go outside, walk for 10 minutes, or go for a walk in the woods,” MacKnightens says, “it may help you get your mind off of work.”
Try it for a week Find a routine and stick to it.
“I recommend using an activity that will make you feel active and energized,” MacKillens says.
Try some exercises like yoga, weightlifting, or even walking.
“They’re great for relieving stress,” she adds.
“Especially if you’ve been working from a work desk.”
Start your day with a little fun The next time you leave your desk at work and start your day, try a new activity that gives you a chance to relax.
This could be a game, an exercise, or a fun project.
MacKnightins recommends creating a game or project you can play with your co-workers, or you can even create your own.
“One thing we’ve found is that when you try something new and get feedback on it, it will help you see how much fun you have creating something new,” she explains.
“We have found that even just playing with your team can help you build a positive work-life balance.”
Don’t just take it easy If you’re feeling stressed, MacKnightin suggests taking a break.
“Try to find some time to go to the gym or walk for 15 minutes,” she advises.
“For those of us who have a schedule, it’s a good idea to take at least an hour off.
You’ll feel more energetic, and your brain will thank you for it.”
MacKnightines work-from-home study has been published in the journal Health Psychology and was supported by the Canada Research Chair in Workplace Stress Management.