How to Protect Your Mental Health When Working Remotely

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Remote working or working from home has become increasingly common. The Covid-19 pandemic has caused corporations to restructure their work culture to accommodate physical distancing measures. This means that a portion, if not all employees would have to work at home, away from the office.

This has brought about a different kind of challenge. Many people who previously worked in a bustling office setting now find themselves working alone at home. The reduced amount of human contact can result in a sense of isolation, which can affect mental health.

If you’re someone that is working remotely, there are some steps you can take to improve your mental health and avoid burnout, anxiety and depression. Here are some of these steps:

1. Stick to a Fixed Schedule

Having a fixed schedule will help you have a sense of structure and order to your life. It will also increase your sense of control and time management.

Having your working life in a constant routine will help minimize any sense of chaos or loss of control. It will also help you be more productive and reach your daily and weekly goals.

Set a fixed time that you clock in and clock out of work, with a scheduled lunch break in between.

2. Be Strict on Breaks

Once you’ve clocked out of work, you should preferably not do any more tasks. Taking breaks are crucial to your mental health and your work-life balance. It also helps you to avoid burnout and overwork.

This means that you shouldn’t answer any more emails or text messages once your 8 hours are over, unless it’s an emergency. Use this time to relax your mind. Watch your favorite movies or series, pursue your hobby or spend time with your loved ones.

3. Have a Dedicated Work Space

It helps to set aside a space dedicated to working, so that you can leave this space once your working hours have ended. This sets up a physical barrier between your personal life and work life.

If possible, you should also have separate computer systems for work and for your own personal time. Some companies do provide work PCs or laptops for their staff who are working remotely. Both the separation of space and gadgets can contribute to your subconscious mental state, and help you detach from your work mode once your working day is done.

Also, your workspace should be in a place that gets plenty of natural sunlight, be spacious enough for you to move freely, and have a window from which you can look out. All these will contribute to your happiness and reduce stress.

4. Stay Connected to Friends and Family

This may sound like something that’s a given, many of us take our human connections for granted. During your free time, it’s important to talk about your day or your week with someone you trust. Sharing your feelings, worries and anxieties will help elevate them.

If you have family members at home, have dinner together. These times are crucial for staying connected. If you don’t live with anyone, schedule a call with your loved ones. You can also meet up with friends on the weekends.

Alternatively, you can also schedule a one on one with close colleagues outside of work, where you can do relaxing activities together.

5. Pursue A Hobby

Contrary to what most people think, hobbies are not a waste of time and money. They actually do wonders for your mental health. As long as your hobby is able to help you relax and unwind, is safe and  is within your financial means, you should pursue it.

Hobbies allow you to flex your creativity, and train your mind too. It also helps you focus on something that’s important to you and keeps you occupied so that you don’t focus on negative emotions.

6. Go Out For Fresh Air and Sunshine

It’s not good to stay cooped up for long. As part of your day, you should go out for a walk, or at least spend some time on your front lawn. Taking a short jog around your neighborhood is something else you can do too.

Staying cooped up at home for extended periods isn’t good for our mental health. Face to face interactions and stimulation from nature is necessary to avoid depression and negative feelings.

7. Stay Active and Exercise

Research has shown that our physical health can affect our mental health too. That’s why you should take about half an hour, three times a week to work out. Simple workouts will do.

Taking care of your physical health will boost your immune system too, and therefore increase your confidence to face these challenging times. It will also decrease your anxiety and worry if you’re healthier.

Conclusion

Working from home does require some adjustment, especially if you have been working in an office setting all this while. However, you can still adapt as long as you maintain strong human connections and remember to take adequate rest.

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