With the pandemic came an almost-immediate shift to remote work. At present, at least 72% of the global workforce is currently working from home. And while it is indeed convenient and definitely safer, it comes with some downsides too — such as feelings of isolation, stress, and depression. However, there are ways to prevent these from happening. That being said, here are some ways remote workers can care for their mental health:
Create a routine
For those who aren’t used to remote working, it can be hard to follow a schedule, unlike when at a physical office. However, it’s still important to have a routine as you work from home, because it will help you establish a boundary between your job and personal time. Waking up only minutes before you have to clock in isn’t the most efficient way to start work, since your mind and body aren’t completely awake and alert yet. For starters, try waking up at least an hour before you work so you can eat a proper breakfast and get dressed.
Make time for hobbies and non-work activities
You might find it difficult to ‘switch off’ from work, but this inability to disconnect will inevitably lead to burnout. So when you’re done for the day, try not to entertain or think of anything work-related. Making time for non-work activities and other hobbies helps you maintain work-life balance. Plus, it gives you time to decompress and recharge from any stress.
Schedule time to socialise and connect with loved ones
Remote working can cause feelings of loneliness, but making time for your loved ones can help ease this feeling. You can bond with people in your household by eating together, or just catching up over coffee. Talking with people outside the household also helps combat social isolation as it replicates real life interactions. Consider going on video calls sometimes instead of instant messages, so it feels more personal.
Have a separate workspace
Not having a dedicated workspace means you are not only more prone to distraction, but it also means you may be straining your body if you’re working from your bed or sofa. You can remedy this by having a dedicated workspace, with ergonomic equipment that’s comfortable enough for you to be able to concentrate. For starters, you can start by adding lumbar support to any sturdy chair you already own. Some of its benefits are relieving lower back pain, improving circulation, and giving you less digestion issues. A laptop stand, on the other hand, can help lessen neck fatigue by making sure your laptop screen is eye level.
Aside from making you physically fit, exercising can also positively impact your mental health. Even just 20 to 30 minutes of daily workouts boost endorphins, which help reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. You can also make an active effort to keep moving within your work day. For example, don’t have a stock of food and water within reach, so you have a reason to stand and walk to them. You can also stand up and walk around when you take a phone call.
We are living in very uncertain times, so it’s understandable to have some struggles to adapt to the situation. However, remember that you’re not alone in this. Reach out to people to exchange advice or even just for comfort. Together, we’ll eventually manage to make the most out of the situation and find a pace that works.
Written exclusively for moodistory.com by Alex Crowley