Skip to main content
Eleanor looking at the camera

Eleanor Wong

SFU Co-op Student
Health Sciences

empty
A woman working on her laptop while her dog is sleeping next to her
Credit
Bruno Emmanuelle on Unsplash
Maintaining a strong work-life balance is crucial for preventing burnout, managing stress, and supporting your mental health.

Finding an equal balance between work and life can be a struggle, but it can be even more difficult to do so while working and studying from home. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, everything is suddenly shifting to remote means. We only leave our homes for the bare necessities. Unexpectedly, our professional, academic and personal lives are now all housed under the same roof. As a result, it can be difficult to distinguish where one starts and the other ends, hence significantly affecting your mental well-being.

I too am in the same boat. I went from following a well-set schedule to having little to no structure in my day. Back when I was working in the office, I had people regularly reminding me to take breaks and leave work on time so as to make time for myself. At home however, I find myself starting work right when I wake up, neglecting to take my full hour of lunch, and working past the time I would usually leave work.

But just because our circumstances have changed doesn’t mean we need to sacrifice our mental health to adapt. These past few weeks of adjustment have shown me the importance of separating work from leisure. Here are some tips that I’ve been using to ensure that I leave a clear divide between my professional and personal life.

1. Schedule your Work and Study Hours

Without the routine of entering and leaving the office or school at specific times, it’s easy to get caught up in your work and lose track of time. Set alarms on your phone with consistent work or study hours to remind you when it’s time to put your assignments down and “leave” work or school.

By carving out specific times for work, it will prevent your work from consuming your entire day, hence keeping you from being spread too thin or growing burnt out. In turn, it will allow you to be more efficient and productive with your tasks.

2. Leave Work at Work

With tasks and assignments so easily accessible, they can easily trickle into and consume your leisure time. Resist the urge to check your work or school email outside of these set hours to allow yourself to be present during your down time. Something that I find helpful is turning off my notifications for my emails and work communication channels to remove the temptation of checking in.

3. Create a Designated Work Space

Living with my family while everyone is working or studying from home makes it difficult to find a quiet space to work apart from my bedroom. However, because the mind naturally associates the bedroom with sleep, working there results in being less productive and more distracted. To combat this, I created a work corner for myself, albeit a small one, away from my bedroom with lots of natural lighting to keep me alert and energized. In doing so, I have found that I am much more focused, energized and motivated throughout my work day. Take some time to create a space designated to work or studying, and personalize it with decorations to make it your own!

4. Have a Routine

Even though you don’t have to leave the house for school or work, that doesn’t mean you should kick your daily routine to the curb. Brush your teeth, change out of your pajamas, and make some breakfast. The added structure will not only allow you to grow more productive, but it will also support your mental well-being and overall mood!

5. Take Breaks

Like I mentioned before, being out of the office means that I no longer have my co-workers to remind me to take a break, much less my lunch break. Without any accountability, taking breaks can easily slip your mind, and in turn can result in increased stress and exhaustion. Studies have shown that taking breaks increases your productivity. Set reminders on your phone, or have those you live with remind you to step back from your work for at least 10 minutes every few hours and to take your lunch break.

Although your work or studies are important, so is your health. Maintaining a strong work-life balance is crucial for preventing burnout, managing stress, and supporting your mental health. Do your mind a favour and leave work at work to make space for your well-being. You won’t regret it!

Beyond the Blog

About the Author

Eleanor looking at the camera

Eleanor Wong

SFU Co-op Student
Health Sciences
Eleanor is in her third year studying Health Sciences with a concentration in population and quantitative health, and an intended double minor in Kinesiology and Education. Currently, she is on co-op at Simon Fraser University’s Health & Counselling Services working as a Marketing & Communications Assistant. When she isn’t studying, you can find her café hopping, exploring nature, or taking pictures. Connect with Eleanor on LinkedIn.

You Might Like These... Prospective, Professional Development, Career Exploration

Co-op students jumping in the air
The Co-op Connection Helps Retention

In this blog post, Heather shares with us why co-op is an important experience for all students, whether it be to further career aspirations or to gain future employment opportunities. 

author, courtney, smiling
A Second Term in Government: More of the Same?

Having completed my first work term for Health Canada as a Communications Officer Intern, I was eager to try something new, and the government was not where I believed that was going to happen. That is until I was offered a position at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada...

Hands holding a volunteer badge
Sana Siddiqui: Volunteerism Opens up Endless Possibilities | Part Two

She has been involved with SFU LEAD, Peer Programs and the SFU Muslim Students’ Association, just to name a few. Now, Sana Siddiqui, a Criminology student, reflects back and shares with us the invaluable academic, personal and professional skills and opportunities volunteering opened for her, read on to find out what she has to say about getting involved on campus and in the community.

A woman working on her laptop while her dog is sleeping next to her
library_books
Blog
Leave Work Where It Belongs
Professional Development, Working Remotely, Life Balance, Workplace Success

It's hard finding a balance between work and life in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Like many others, Eleanor experienced a shift in her routine, from maintaining a work-life balance to that of an unstructured mess.  However, she also knows it's important to take care of your mental health, especially during this time. Read more to find out some tips Eleanor has been using to ensure her professional and personal life stays distinguished.  

A woman working on her laptop while her dog is sleeping next to her
library_books
Blog
Leave Work Where It Belongs
Professional Development, Working Remotely, Life Balance, Workplace Success

It's hard finding a balance between work and life in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Like many others, Eleanor experienced a shift in her routine, from maintaining a work-life balance to that of an unstructured mess.  However, she also knows it's important to take care of your mental health, especially during this time. Read more to find out some tips Eleanor has been using to ensure her professional and personal life stays distinguished.  

A woman working on her laptop while her dog is sleeping next to her
library_books
Blog
Leave Work Where It Belongs
Professional Development, Working Remotely, Life Balance, Workplace Success

It's hard finding a balance between work and life in the wake of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Like many others, Eleanor experienced a shift in her routine, from maintaining a work-life balance to that of an unstructured mess.  However, she also knows it's important to take care of your mental health, especially during this time. Read more to find out some tips Eleanor has been using to ensure her professional and personal life stays distinguished.  

You Might Like These... Personal Development

two people shaking hands
Networking 101: Building Relationships and Selling Yourself!

The main benefit of networking, allows you to find jobs, meet new people, and build long-lasting relationships for mutual benefit. Knowing the right people allows you to get to places that you might not be able to reach otherwise.

Cheryl
A Beginner's Guide to Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a great tool for managing social media platforms and can be incredibly helpful on the job! Cheryl shares a few tips on using the program for Hootsuite beginners.

A photo of the author
How to Research a Company: What to Look For

“ALWAYS do research on the company you are interviewing with.”