Whilst working from home is new to most individuals, some companies, as well as their employees, have always thrived on remote work. Others have been forced to get used to the unpredictable future of teleworking because of the recent COVID-19 outbreak.
Not so long ago, the ability to work from home seemed like the best thing ever to many of us. But the fear, stress, and anxiety this year has brought us are threatening to ruin all the perks of being a remote worker. Because of this, it is key to protect your mental health when you are working from home.
The Dangers of Working From Home
Loneliness and Isolation
We don’t have as many opportunities to bond and interact with others when we are working from home. Of all the freelancers that took part in EcoTank’s survey, 46% of them admitted that freelance work is isolating and 48% admitted it is lonely.
Stress, Anxiety, and Burn Out
Your boundaries can get blurred very quickly when you are not used to working in the same place where you rest, eat, and sleep. This can easily lead to burn out in your new workplace.
Stress, isolation, loneliness, and the current levels of global uncertainty can easily contribute to feelings of depression.
How to combat these dangers
If you are like most of us, meditation is probably not your priority at the moment. When things get tough, we tend to dwell on happier times that are yet to come rather than focus on the present moment.
Instead of helping, this approach usually leads to even more anxiety. During times of stress, it is best to practice mindfulness. To achieve mindfulness, you need to focus your awareness on the present moment.
When you are working, give yourself a break and take a few breaths. Take a walk around the block without your headphones. You can even practice mindful eating.
Instead of multitasking, focus just on eating. Eat when your body tells you to eat and stop when you are full. Set times and places for eating.
If the stress is keeping you up at night, there are even a few ways to control your anxiety that can help you fall asleep faster.
Develop a Routine
When your work schedule is flexible, it is easy to lose track of your routine. Routines can be boring, true, but they are extremely helpful to us. If you are a remote worker, a healthy routine can help you achieve the ideal work-life balance.
It is easier to maintain a healthy mind when we organize ourselves. You can smooth out emotional strain by sticking to a consistent schedule of sleep. To ensure you will take regular, necessary breaks, as well as get the job done, you can use the Pomodoro technique.
Get a Fresh Space
It is difficult to say when work starts and when it ends when your office is cluttered with kids’ toys and piles of dirty laundry.
A change of scene may be in order if you find your work environment to be uninspiring. Carve out a corner that will be just for work. You need a proper home office.
It may take some improvisation, but do what you can to ward off the tedium of being home all day. Find a dedicated spot that is quiet and where no one will bother you. You can decorate it with inspiring images and appealing colours to make it more inviting.
Try to find a spot with a lot of natural light. This will help make sure you get that much needed Vitamin D.
You also have the option of renting a coworking space. If you live in a populous area, chances are there is one nearby.
Coworking spaces are usually affordable, and they offer free WiFi and other amenities. You will even get a chance to mingle with other remote workers.
Another great option is to set up a log cabin in your yard and use it as a home office. If you use a DIY kit, this can be an inexpensive solution.
You can reduce the risk of depression with face-to-face contact. You may see and chat with your coworkers and friends on Zoom, Skype, or Slack, but these digital tools cannot really help you fill your emotional reserves like real-world interactions.
Try scheduling a regular family dinner, a morning walk with a neighbour, or a brunch date with friends. Some quality time with the people you like is sure to give you a mental health boost.
You don’t need a medical expert to tell you that spending too much time cooped up somewhere indoors is no good for you. But, we often feel very cosy in our little sanctuary or we get so distracted with social media that we forget all about the world outside our doorstep.
Try going outside when you get a break between tasks or meetings. A bit of natural light and fresh air will send you back to your home office feeling refreshed.
Michael has been working in marketing for almost a decade and has worked with a huge range of clients, which has made him knowledgeable on many different subjects. He has recently rediscovered a passion for writing and hopes to make it a daily habit. You can read more of Michael’s work at Qeedle.