Psychotherapy  & Naturopathic Services in Etobicoke

Separating Work from Home during COVID-19

How do I separate home and work when I am working at home?

by Michele Meehan, Registered Psychotherapist at BMAW

This question has been coming up lately, as many of us have been working from home for more than a year now. Many of us do not have adequate and/ or private work space at home – some of us are working in our bedrooms, just a few feet away from where we sleep. As a result, work is encroaching on our personal time more and more, causing stress, sleep disruption, fatigue, low mood, and even burnout. Consequently, a lot of us are experiencing symptoms of anxiety and/ or depression.

Given that it looks like we may have to cope with working from home for awhile longer, it’s important to create a boundary between work life and home/family life to help us stay well. It can help to create a daily routine that signals to your psyche that the workday is over, and personal or family time is starting. Fortunately, our minds and thoughts are powerful, and we can use our thoughts and intentions to help create and maintain the boundary. Here are some things you can try:

  1. At the end of your workday, “leave work” – leave your home and go for a walk, and “return home”. You can start your day this way as well, “leaving home” in the morning, and walking for a bit, and coming “in to work”.
  2. When work is done for the day, turn off your computer, and put it away, out of sight. You could also cover it with an appealing cloth, scarf or a shawl, to physically symbolize the day’s transition. If you can, try to cover other evidence of work, such as files, or paperwork.
  3. Choose clothing that signals a difference between work time and personal time. When getting ready to work, choose “work clothes”, and when work is done for the day, change into leisure clothes. That said, I suggest not getting right into pajamas, so that you also have some separation between personal time and sleep time.
  4. Make some time for transition between work and personal time to help signal to your mind and body that you are going into a different mode. This might be time for meditation, a relaxation practice, or other contemplative practice.
  5. Take a bath or a shower after work as a way to start your personal time feeling fresh and relaxed.
  6. Use sage, incense, or other herbs or essential oils to cleanse your workspace, and your own energy field.
  7. Hold a clear boundary about work time, and resist the temptation to work beyond your schedule hours. If an idea occurs to you after work, make a note to yourself to do it the next day, rather than using your personal or family time.

I hope you find that one or two of these options helps support you to create a sense of separation between work time and personal time, and helps you find a reduction in any feelings of anxiety or depression you may have been experiencing.


If you have questions, or feel that you need more support trying to find this balance, please contact us or book an appointment, or contact Michele at for individual counselling.

We are here for you and any of your questions… email our clinic at or call 416-232-2780.

Relationships: How to Navigate Differences in Values and Points of View

Differences in values and points of view can often lead to conflict in relationships. Being exposed to a different point of view on an issue that is important to us can feel like a threat that needs to be battled. When partners begin to fight about these differences with the intention of persuading or convincing their loved ones of their point of view, an ineffective and exhausting battle of tug-of-war begins. This battle is ineffective because neither partner is demonstrating openness to understand the other’s perspectives, nor is there any room for respect for and acceptance of differences.

A reminder to all couples: all of your values do not have to overlap in order for you and your partner to have a successful relationship. A great marker of a successful relationship is one where partners can accommodate, understand, and respect each other’s values and perspectives, without necessarily agreeing with them.


Understanding and holding compassion for your partner’s perspectives can be challenging. In order to bridge the gap between yours and your partner’s positions, psychologists and relationship researchers John and Julie Gottman suggest that couples work on understanding what is behind their partner’s position on a particular issue. The goal is no longer to convince or persuade one another to adopt each other’s perspectives, but to share how you see things and why you see things in that way.


Here are some questions that you and your partner can take turns asking each other, as per the Gottman’s “Dreams within Conflict” exercise. 


  • What are the ethics, values, or guidelines that are part of your position on this issue?
  • Do you have any childhood history or background that is part of your position on this issue?
  • Why is this particular value or position so important to you?
  • What feelings do you have about this issue?
  • Is there some underlying purpose or meaning in this for you (“this” being your position on this issue)?
  • If you had some ideal dream that really fit your position on this issue, what would that ideal dream look like?
  • Is there a fear of what it might mean or what might happen if this dream doesn’t get to come true?


Notice that these questions are not designed to challenge or dominate your partner’s values or perspectives, but to gain an understanding of how these perspectives came to be and what these perspectives mean to your partner. From this vantage point, it’s easier to understand each other, even though your positions and values are different.

It is important to note that sometimes there are significant differences between partners’ values and preferences that are irresolvable and considered “deal breakers.” For example, one partner may adamantly want a child, while the other partner does not. In these scenarios, the goal should still be to understand what’s behind each other’s points of view so that neither partner is seen as being “at fault” of the irresolvable differences. If you and your partner are having a difficult time navigating these kinds of differences, couples therapy can be a helpful way to open up non-defensive lines of communication.


To learn more about how we can support you with communication, contact Nikki Sedaghat at for individual counselling for relationships or relationship counselling.