Throughout the last year, the balance between working and finding personal time has completely shifted. Being in an office setting, then coming back home to relax and possibly spend time with your children/spouse has all changed in the blink of an eye.
As a college student, taking a full class load, interning, and still having a social life has drastically changed for me as well. Throughout my time as the Marketing Intern, I have faced challenges to find time for myself and focus on my well-being. However, with these few simple steps, I have been able to balance everything and stay motivated.
Step 1: Listen to your body
You are the only one that truly knows how you feel.
- If you need a break from staring at your computer screen, get up and walk around your house or take a little stroll outside.
- If you are getting so overwhelmed with a certain task, take a break and come back to it later in the day with a fresh set of eyes.
- Sitting for long periods of time can create different aches and pains, so get up every so often, move your feet and stretch out.
Step 2: Do not overwork yourself
We are human.
- No one expects you to be working 24 hours 7 days a week
- Do not check your email before or after work hours (they won’t magically disappear)
- Schedule time in your day to do one thing you really enjoy (I have been working out, baking, and cooking daily)
Step 3: Switch up your routine
- Work outside if it’s a nice day!
- Change up your work setting to have something new and refreshing!
- Print a photo of a place you love, and look at it when you are having a hard day.
- Do a fun workout (dance class? Spin class? Run? Jam out to music?)
Some ways that I have implemented these steps include: every fews hours I try to listen to music and walk around to get up and stretch out, I try to stick to schedules so anytime before ~8am and after ~5:30pm I limit any intern work and just focus on school work, I take at least an hour every day to do some type workout or workout class, I also change up where I work daily by sometimes working by the lake or in one of my favorite buildings on campus. These three simple steps have kept me sane throughout the pandemic and have allowed me to find the balance between interning, being a student, and spending time with my friends.
I have an interesting perspective as a student, so I asked my colleagues to give me some tips they have for balancing work and life.
April Mullen – Director of Brand and Content Marketing
- Have a dedicated space for work if you can. Having a door I can close behind me each day is powerful in helping me to switch off for the day. It clearly helps my brain know where I can relax in my home and where I need to be productive.
- Don’t be afraid to take short breaks when working from home. If you were in an office, you’d think nothing about chatting with a colleague in the break room for 15 minutes. Do the same at home. For me, it might be a short walk or playing catch in my yard with my dogs. Sometimes meetings can be an opportunity to layer in this recommendation. Take “walking meetings” where you walk and have a chat with a colleague. It helps to get away from sitting at a desk all day.
- Take care of yourself! Make it a point to exercise, drink water and fuel your body with nutrition that will give it energy. It’s easy for energy to dip when working from home, so I’ve found that staying on top of those three things has dramatically improved my energy and endurance for long work days within my home.
Matthew Parsloe – Marketing Manager at Taxi for Email
- Be regimented with your time if you’re working from home. It’s easy to slip into a habit of doing an extra hour or two of work each day because the commute time isn’t there anymore, or you just want to finish that bit of work. But it all adds up and can overwhelm the time you need to unwind, which can impact your overall mental health and cause stress. Having set start and stop times can help you break up work and home life and give you the space you need to stay mentally fit for all aspects of your life (work, home and social!).
- Set working hours into your Google Calendar / company calendar. This tells your colleagues and anyone else that you won’t be contactable outside of what hours you set, so it automatically declines meetings, and can send auto-replies to emails. This helps manage external expectations and can decrease pressure for you to constantly be near your work device in case something comes in.
- Switching off after a hard day/week at work can be a challenge. I recommend pre-planning an activity to take your mind off of it. Arrange to see friends, plan a favourite recipe to cook, queue up a new Netflix series. It’s so important to get a break from the working mindset, otherwise burnout and stress becomes a real possibility.
Elsbeth Russell – Community Manager
- Change up your environment. Having zero commute is amazing but let’s face it, sometimes working where you live can get a little mundane. I find it helps to mix things up sometimes for a change of scenery. If it’s nice outside I may sit out on my back porch and work for a bit. Is there a meeting you can take as a call and take a walk while you chat? Maybe you can work from your local coffee shop for a couple of hours.
- Take a brain break. When my mind has been going a mile a minute all day, I find it helpful to do something that requires very minimal thinking as I wrap up the day. Something like zoning out while cutting up veggies for dinner prep or taking the dog for a walk around the block helps to give my brain a break and helps me to recharge. (As a plus, often I’ll end up thinking up some of my favorite ideas when I’m not even trying.)
- Surround yourself with things you love. I find that I work much better when I’m in a place that makes me feel happy. I try to curate my space with items that inspire me. These may include a favorite piece of art or picture on the wall, a bright plant or fresh cut flowers, or even my favorite scented candle. It doesn’t always happen with kids running around the house, but it also helps when I can pick up clutter and focus in a clean and calming environment.
No matter what you may be doing, remember to take a deep breath and know that it is all going to be okay. Think about what your three tips would be to find a good balance and when you are having a hard day, look back at them.
~ Lauren Stein
(P.S. Told you you’d be hearing from me!)