The Work-From-Home Creative’s Guide to Taking a Break

The Creative's Guide to Taking a Break: striking the balance between work and home when you work from home.

For a lot of work from home creatives, it’s challenging to recognize when we’re doing too much. Our unique ability to be self-motivated can often lead to over-committing, muddling workplace and homelife boundaries, and becoming frequently overwhelmed or burnt out.

The Creative's Guide to Taking a Break: striking the balance between work and home when you work from home.

We often hear it’s important to take breaks and seek balance, but how do you translate ideals into daily life? Today, we’ll workshop some ways to make it easier for you to take the breaks you need—and maybe even enjoy them!

Breaking Up is Hard to Do

Many creatives experience extreme guilt when we’re not working. Taking a break, even for normal daily necessities, can be a very real challenge.

If the idea of taking time away from work for other hobbies or interests sounds like something only an alternate universe version of yourself would be able to pull off, it is going to take some serious effort to truly break the workaholic cycle you’re stuck in.

Breaking yourself in:

  • Start small. Set timers and take 5 minutes away from your workspace to stretch, read a chapter in a book, have a snack a few times throughout the day.
  • If you’re a goal-oriented person, create a list of activities you want to accomplish when you’re not “at work”. Having something to accomplish might make it easier to see the value in being off the clock. Think chores, home projects, hobbies, reading goals, pet care, or even office-related stuff like file organization and tech maintenance.
  • Make plans you can look forward to once a week. You should take advantage of those flexible work-from-home hours once in a while! Bake muffins on a Monday morning, call your friend on Friday night, block off your weekend for a video game binge. Put it on the calendar and treat it like a real priority.

It takes painstaking effort to create a new set of habits and time to adjust before you feel the benefits of them. Don’t give up too soon if you’re not seeing immediate results or feeling joyous about your self-inflicted rest time. It will get easier in time.

Them’s the Breaks

Separating our work and personal life is tough when everything happens from the same space—and often simultaneously. After all, home doesn’t have hours of operation.

If taking care of yourself sounds like one more thing to add to the bottomless To Do list, it might help to change your idea of what a break needs to look like. There’s no need to halt all workplace progress for you to recharge and meet your personal goals.

Breaking it up:

  • Take a personal moment between crossing off one To Do list item and starting the next. You can choose small things as a pick-me-up or commit a slightly longer block of time for ongoing projects. It’s perfectly okay if your Me-Time is segmented throughout the day rather than waiting until you have a big block of free time.
  • If you’re usually a lunch-at-the-desk eater, experiment with having your meal somewhere more relaxing. Watch an episode of a favorite show. Set yourself up at a table with pretty dishes. Go out for a picnic on your front step.
  • Put on a podcast or rewatch a favorite TV series while doing routine tasks or basic admin that won’t require a whole lot of brain power. It can help reduce the soul-sucking boredom and also gives you a built-in time limit. Once your episode is over, the rest of those horrible work emails can wait until tomorrow!

Life never really stops happening. There’s always something interrupting, overlapping, and unexpectedly popping up two weeks early. If you’re hoping for a quiet moment to manifest before you take a breather, you’ll never get it.

Put On the Breaks

It’s easy to be tricked into believing we need to work longer, try harder, improve faster, update more frequently—anything to succeed. Especially if you’re a one-person-run venture with software subscriptions to pay and deadlines to meet.

Your ambition is an important thing to feed as a work from home creator, but your world shouldn’t be limited to what is productive or career-forwarding. You’re going to fall out of love with your work if this is all your life revolves around.

Breaking the mold:

  • Make a list the things you want out of life. Include dreams for the future, the type of work you love to do, the activities you want more time for, and what refreshes and recharges you. Cover as many aspects of your life as you can when marking out these guide points and return to them when you feel stuck, confused, or demotivated.
  • Consider delegation, autozimation, scheduling, or other services that might keep your regularly-occurring busywork moving without constant effort. Affordable programs or admin-savvy friends can be well-worth the expense if you’re trying to alleviate some of the urgency from your week or create a window for new opportunities.
  • Switch your focus from what you HAVE to do to what you WANT to maintain. It’s good to occasionally question whether the things we’re trying to be consistent about are happening just to say we did it, or if they’re truly beneficial. Remember, the habits we create are supposed to help us, not rule us.

Being passionate and ambitious means that you’ll always be able to see more for yourself, your career, and your future. Chase the possibilities, but don’t undervalue your current position. There are some wonderful things available in the now that are worth exploring, remembering, or taking forward.

Share your favorite tips for taking breaks or relaxing after work in the comments! How do you find the right balance in your WFH life?

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