Due to the pandemic, so many of us are now working from home in Fairfield. It’s difficult to balance work versus family life and this can cause a great deal of tension. Jenny Harris has worked from home for 11 years now and some time ago she found she was struggling to switch off. Here’s what she wants you to know.

I noticed that I never set aside time for breaks, I worked in my dedicated studio with my clients but also replied to messages and completed admin all round the house. I woke up in the early hours every night. My mind was constantly racing. I found it very difficult to relax easily at home and ‘switch off’.

My husband said he never knew when I was working and if it was a good time to talk to me. As my family didn’t know when I was working it was very clear that there were no definitive boundaries to my work and I decided that it needed to change. I needed to ‘switch off’.

Step 1: Make the decision

It sounds so simple but reaching a decision to separate your work from your home life is a big change.  Feel confident in yourself also your work and trust that you don’t always need to respond to an email, phone call or colleague immediately. 

Step 2: Set your ‘Work Zone’

Dedicate an area within your home to work and stick to it. Be sure to carry out all aspects of your work within your work zone; phone calls, emails, admin, etc. 

Step 3: Set your ‘Work Hours’

Be strict with yourself and set your working hours making sure you include regular breaks. You had a lunch break when you went ‘out to work’ so you still need to have one at home. It’s important now more than ever before to look after our well being and eat regularly.

Step 4: Make it happen

Having made the decision, set the working zone and hours you need to make it happen. Be hard on yourself and think about your actions. You wouldn’t be able to carry out chores or walk the dog if you were ‘out at work’.

Step 5: Make it clear

After carrying out all of the above, make it clear to your household that when you are ‘IN’ your work area you are not to be disturbed.

I understand how difficult it can be to strike a good balance between work and home life. A few simple changes will make you feel so much better.

Here are my top tips for a better night’s sleep:

Don’t take your phone to bed.
If you use it for an alarm, buy a simple alarm clock to replace it.

Avoid TV, phone and screens for at least an hour before bedtime.
Try reading or taking a relaxing bath instead. 

Avoid caffeine after 4pm.
Herbal teas are a great alternative.

Sleep pillow spays and lavender can be very calming and soothing.

Jenny Harris runs a home-based nail salon in Fairfield Park – you can find her on Facebook: @JennyHarrisNails. She lives with her husband and daughter.