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Why Working from Home Can Be so Tiring

10th November 2020

To say that working from home can be so tiring just doesn’t sound right, right? After all, how tiring can it be to work in the comforts of your own home? You don’t need to commute. You have some control over your work hours. You can also prepare your favourite meals when you go hungry, then retreat to your beloved bed or couch when you need a break. Yet, despite these obvious advantages, it is actually very possible to get really tired even when working from home.

Yes, working from home is tiring

In an article on Why It’s So Exhausting to Work from Home, writer David Dennis Jr. outlines some of the reasons working from home can be taxing. Chief among these is that people in work-from-home setups tend to overwork. Dennis Jr., who has mostly been working from home this past decade, explains: ‘We tether ourselves to our desks and stress ourselves out more at home than we do at work.’ This tendency is mainly due to the blurring of boundaries that delineate the personal from the professional — in turn creating an impression of round-the-clock availability.

All this create almost unfair expectations in terms of productivity, and those working from home oftentimes default to working inordinately long hours just to finish tasks and meet deadlines. Done for a prolonged period, working well beyond work hours can get pretty tiring, if not exhausting. Overworking, not to mention, is also a major stressor, much like the various challenges unique to working from home: lack of social interaction, feelings of isolation, difficulties with communication, and domestic distractions.

Work stress invariably will pile up — to the detriment of your health. The Independent reports that work stress activates a person’s hormonal, metabolic, immune and cardiovascular systems, and if this happens frequently or for too long, they’ll no longer go back to normal levels. The result is chronic work stress, which can then progress to burnout. And burnout, incidentally, is characterised by loss of motivation at work, lack of energy, and yes, feelings of exhaustion (physically and even mentally and emotionally). In short, too much stress can be tiring!

What you can do

The biggest key is to stop overworking, and central to that is setting boundaries to separate your personal life from your professional one. One of the first things to do this is to ‘clock out’ when your work hours have lapsed — and stop working entirelyThe suggestions on setting boundaries by Bloomberg will also prove helpful, and they include banning all work-related tech outside your work area or home office, avoiding individual errands during work hours, and scheduling leisure activities (for that much-deserved rest and relaxation).

And given how stress contributes to exhaustion, overcoming stress will also help ward off tiredness. One good way to deal with stress, according to a guide by Very Well Mind is by performing breathing exercises, as they are ‘an extremely simple, effective, and convenient way to relieve stress and reverse your stress response’. They can also calm your mind, and greatly reduce chronic stress.

With that in mind, you can start with the breathing exercises recommended by Pain Free Working, including deep breathing and the Lion’s Breath. In deep breathing, you take five deep breaths in succession, making sure that you inhale through your nose, fill your lungs with as much air, and then exhale through your mouth. In the Lion’s Breath, you inhale deeply through your nose, then exhale with your mouth wide open, while making the sound “haaaaaaah.” These are easy-to-do exercises, but they can go a long way in alleviating stress.

Additionally, you’ll be able to better deal with stress (and the mental and emotional exhaustion it can cause) if you strengthen your mental health. This is something we discussed previously on Ways To Increase Your Mental Well-Being, where we recommended exercise, adequate sleep, and doing random acts of kindness as among the best ways to enhance your mental health.

To be fair, all work is tiring. But with the innate advantages of work-from-home setups, working from home needn’t be that tiring. With some slight adjustments to your approach and mindset, it certainly won’t be.

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