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Follow these simple tips for navigating self-care while caring for others and working from home
There’s no doubt that working from the comfort of home has its perks. For one, it eliminates the stress of morning commutes and traffic jams. For another, there’s an undeniable convenience to having everything you need to do in one place. But it’s not always as easy as it sounds. Many people who work from home face challenges when it comes to work/life balance and properly addressing their mental and physical health needs. This is doubly true for moms who work from home. After all, working moms have to balance their jobs while caring for their children. It’s no wonder that sometimes their mental and physical health gets put on the back burner. For all our hard-working work-from-home moms, here are nine self-care tips to help you relax, unwind and, most importantly, stay healthy.
1. Talk to a breastfeeding expert
Our top self-care tip for breastfeeding moms is to connect with a lactation consultant. These health professionals are here to guide you throughout the breastfeeding journey and can answer questions on anything from the best positions for nursing to combating common breastfeeding problems like low milk supply or sore nipples. And the great news is that you don’t have to break the bank or even necessarily leave your home to get professional breastfeeding support. Simply request a consultation through the Lactation Network and they’ll verify your insurance coverage and connect you with a certified lactation expert near you.
2. Put up physical boundaries between work and home
Like our two moms who gave advice on working from home with a baby, we recommend setting up a “home office” of sorts to help you get work done. This space can serve as a place where you focus solely on your job and your family knows not to bother you.
To really make an impact, set up a physical boundary to separate this space from the rest of your house. Whether it’s a curtain, room divider, door or something else, having a tangible boundary will also serve as a reminder to leave work behind when you’re not in that space.
3. Set a routine
Having a routine will help you stay focused and organized. And for breastfeeding moms, it is an essential part of making sure you have time to pump during the workday. You don’t have to stick to a strict schedule, of course, but setting up general times for when you want to wake up, taking a lunch break and, most importantly, stopping work each evening can be helpful. As psychologist Danielle Forshee explains, “It is crucial to set routines to enable yourself to get better at the things you do. Routines help us cope with change, they help to create healthy habits, and more importantly, help to reduce stress levels.”
Use a calendar, download an app like Google Calendar or get a daily productivity journal like this one from Papier to help keep you on track.
4. Declutter your space
The more organized your workspace is, the better you’ll feel. Make like Marie Kondo and get rid of anything that doesn’t need to be there. Then, you can start working at a clear desk with a clear mind. Incorporating a general “decluttering” mindset into your everyday life is a proven emotional self-care idea. Start with something simple, like making the bed every day (if you don’t already), and encourage your family to participate too. Ultimately, doing little things like this can help make the whole house feel more spacious and put together.
5. Download self-care apps
Taking up a hobby or working active self-care techniques into your routine is the perfect way to make sure you actually take the time to practice it. Think about whatever typically helps you relax—there’s probably an app for that. From cures for insomnia like White Noise Lite to the guided meditation of Headspace and Calm to arts and crafts from Colorfy, there are all kinds of apps out there that can help you take a breather and de-stress.
6. Stay active
Exercise has incredible and well-documented physical and mental health benefits, which is why it’s so important for new moms to get moving. If you’re nervous about how this may affect breastfeeding—don’t be. Here’s a handy rundown on what you should know about exercise and breastfeeding.
Staying active doesn’t mean you have to fit a two-hour workout into your everyday routine. There are a lot of great ways to get moving that don’t involve going to the gym or turning your home into one. An easy way to include daily exercise into your working-from-home schedule is to plan a walk right before or after lunch. If you’re up for it, bring the little one with you. Then, pop in some headphones and put on your favorite album or podcast. The movement and fresh air will keep your blood flowing and re-energize you for the afternoon—plus you’ll get some vitamin D while you’re out and about.
If walking outside isn’t an option due to the weather, try working in a wake-up morning yoga routine before or after your first nursing or pumping session of the day. The important thing is to commit to an active goal that’s enjoyable for you—whether it’s dancing around the kitchen or investing in a Peloton bike.
7. Disconnect from social media
Let’s be honest—sometimes, social media platforms cause more stress than anything else. If you find yourself concerned with managing social media stress, it may be worthwhile to consider logging off your accounts. At the very least, think about what may be doing more harm than good to your mental health and work to eliminate those sources. After all, social media should be fun and relaxing and provide you with a way to feel connected to other people. Do whatever feels right for you and don’t be afraid to take a break if you need one.
8. Lean on your village for support
Your network of family and friends is such an important resource when it comes to self-care. For moms working from home, it’s easy to feel isolated and overworked. Reach out to your friends, take real breaks, and go on real dates with your partner. Just don’t be afraid to ask for help when you need it. They say it takes a village to raise a child, and just because you happen to be home most of the time, doesn’t mean you have to be that village all on your own. When you need a break from the kids, want to talk about something that isn’t mom-related or are struggling with breastfeeding challenges, get the childcare support you need, connect with friends and encourage your partner to be there for you throughout the journey.
9. Get a breast pump
One way to make working from home easier is to get a breast pump. Having a pump to use during the workday can further help create those boundaries between work and home life. The good news is that this doesn’t need to be an expensive or complicated investment. In fact, it can even be completely free. Use our insurance checker to see which insurance-covered breast pump options are available to you and get one shipped right to your door.
Mom, taking care of your wellness is as important as anything else in your life. Use these self-care tips to make working from home a more positive experience.