“I have never worked from home consistently, and in this new world I am struggling to find the work balance that I used to hold so dear. I don't know how to shut it off, and find myself waking up in the middle of the night thinking (and fretting) about work. I know the stereotypical ways that people have maintained the separation of work and home (using time blocks on calendar, turning off notifications), but how can I emotionally commit to finding that balance when there is always more to be done?”
My heart goes out to you. I am glad to hear you have implemented the important steps of setting boundaries on your work calendar and notifications. I won’t bore you with more tips on setting up a dedicated workspace in your home, etc. but here are some helpful resources. (If you haven’t fully explored these, there is a lot of research that they do in fact help.) Also, our Managing Editor wrote a personal essay on establishing healthy work-from-home habits. The article is a fantastic guide on the topic.
My instinct is that your nighttime fretting has less to do with working from home and more to do with our collective plunge into uncertainty and disruption. While often it is the small tasks that nag at us in the wee hours, I can think of a hundred underlying anxieties that may be worthy of keeping you up at night.
Perhaps you feel there is endless work to be done because you are fighting for the survival of your company or your own role within it; maybe the actual product of your work is helping to save lives or make life more bearable in this moment; maybe you simply work in a very demanding field and the pressure has only escalated. On some level, you are likely worried about job security, missing the staples of your routine and your community, and/or anxious about what life looks like when we return to a new “normal.”
Whatever the case, I want to assure you that this level of worry is not a personal failure to achieve work-life balance; it is a warranted reaction to a world disrupted.
That said, it does concern me that you are not sleeping well. Sleep is such a cornerstone to our wellbeing, so maybe now is a good time to explore adding new elements to your nighttime routine. You might consider incorporating ASMR, essential oils, or keeping a sleep log. If you continue to find yourself waking in the middle of the night with nagging work-related anxieties, try keeping a notebook by your bed to jot down these concerns or to-dos. You will be able to return to your notes and give them the attention they deserve in your waking hours. Until then, you are free to rest.
Most importantly, stay incredibly tender with yourself. It’s a tough time for all of us, but we will get through it. 💕
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AmyAnn Cadwell is CEO & Co-Founder of The Good Trade and an angel investor in mission-driven companies.