Working from home can be a practical solution to improving the balance between your work and home life. I was ready to give up the eight-hour workday, the rush hour traffic, the after-work trips to the grocery store, all for the luxury of working from home…
or so I thought…
Counseling on the couch can also bring a host of struggles, including long hours, headaches and neck discomfort associated with excess screen time, limited social supports, and a lack of separation between work and home life.
Combat these struggles by implementing the following self-care tips:
Get up and move
Exercising your body will energize your mind. Experience the positive hormonal release of endorphins by following any 6-8 week at-home exercise program. Postural restoration videos will benefit online counselors as well since we spend a lot of time seated with a forward head posture which places stress on our necks, backs, and shoulders. Do an internet or YouTube search of an exercise program that best suits your goals. Spend 20-60 minutes exercising every day in order to keep a healthy mind/body connection.
Choose nutrient-dense foods
Working from home can open the door to daytime snacking. Clear the cabinets of those processed foods and replace them with nutrient dense snacks such as berries and nut butter, Greek yogurt, hard boiled eggs, celery and carrot sticks, and MWC brain smoothies. Exercising and choosing nutrient-dense foods nurtures the mind/body connection, leaving you feeling energized and ready to tackle the day’s tasks.
Create a workspace
Although it may seem easier to sit or even lay on the couch while working, this may impact your productivity. Start with a chair and desk, or even a partitioned area on your kitchen table. Having a designated workspace also creates a boundary between work and home. I found that working on the couch left me open to more distractions and interruptions by dogs, children, and even laundry! Once you have created your workspace, communicate a boundary to other household members to prevent interruptions in your day.
Structure your day
Use your Trello app or Google calendar and schedule out your day. Sessions, vision breaks, webinars, blogging and social media marketing, non-work tasks, exercise time, and even personal time should be scheduled. If it will take time, find a place for it in your schedule and stick to it.
Working from home can provide a relaxing environment, but we don’t want it to be too relaxed. Give these tips a chance to work for you by committing to them for 4 weeks. Remember that it takes time and patience to build new healthy habits.
Get ready to head to work for the day
Dress for success, brush your teeth and get ready for the day ahead of you. Staying in your pajamas all day may seem like a dream come true until the days begin to run into each other and that life balance that you were seeking becomes a bit blurred. Your clients deserve the best of you, and if your aim is to help them make better choices, you may want to start your day with making good choices for yourself.
Join a support or networking group with other online counselors
Working in an office setting provides more opportunities for social interactions whereas working from home can feel isolating at times. Join a support or networking group to speak to fellow online counselors about issues and ideas pertaining to the field. It may also be beneficial to seek out a supervisor to maintain accountability for the quality of your sessions.
Stay on top of those CEUs
It can be very useful to have the opportunity to work on your CEUs from home during a workday. When you schedule a time to chip away at them throughout the year, they tend not to creep up on you right before the deadline to fulfill them appears. You can also choose to invest in learning opportunities that will enhance your knowledge and maintain your passion for counseling.