8 Tips for Keeping Your Mental Health in Check While Working From Home
Because we are in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many companies are asking employees to work from home. And, for many, this is their first time working from home full-time. Suddenly, we’re in a whole new world.
How can working from home affect our mental health?
You may be experiencing feelings of loneliness and isolation now that you don’t have to go anywhere for work. You also may be experiencing increased anxiety and stress during this time as things are feeling uncertain. These feelings may lead to a state of depression where you are left feeling stuck.
Luckily, you have the power to take steps that will make sure your mental health does not suffer while you work from home. Here are 8 tips for being productive at home while maintaining your mental well-being:
- Get dressed for work: You don’t have to dress as formal as you would to go into the office, but changing out of your pajamas sends a mental signal to yourself that it’s time to wake up and be productive.
- Designate a home office: Choose a specific location in your home to work. This will help create a physical separation between work and home. Try working near a window or somewhere with natural light. Find a wide desk with a comfortable chair that supports your back. Keep your space organized & clean to reduce stress and facilitate creativity.
- Keep clearly defined hours: Create a routine and make an effort to stick to that schedule. If you’re able, keep the same hours that you did at the office. This will make it easier to separate work life from home life. Try organizing your tasks and outlining your goals at the start of the day so you can mentally prepare yourself for the rest of the day. This will also help you prevent yourself from getting distracted and doing things not on your daily agenda (e.g. doing laundry, scrolling through Facebook, etc.).
- Schedule in breaks: Stepping away for just 15 minutes can recharge you to be more productive the rest of the day. Disconnect from your devices and give your eyes a much-needed rest. If the weather is nice, get outside and go on a short walk. Consider scheduling some fun activities during your breaks such as hobbies or self-care practices.
- Follow your commuting routine: Do you always listen to music or listen to the news on the way to work? You can do this at home! This will mentally prepare you for the day.
- Schedule calls with co-workers: This is a great way to include the social aspect of your work environment. Take advantage of video conferencing applications such as Zoom & Webex for face to face meetings and screen sharing features.
- Minimize distractions: It’s normal to get distracted from time to time, but try your best to control what you can. For example, turn off your television and put your phone on do not disturb while you are working. Communicate with your family and/or roommates to establish boundaries during the workday.
- Communicate: Now that everyone is suddenly working remotely, there are bound to be hiccups with the transition. Be proactive about communicating with your supervisors and coworkers to navigate through any bumps in the road. You may want to take on as much work as you can, but don’t be afraid so say “No.” There’s only so much you can complete in a day so make sure you don’t overextend yourself.
Try following these tips and you’ll be able to protect yourself from the feelings of isolation, stress, and depression that many workers are facing right now. If you’re struggling with your mental health, talk to someone you trust, call your doctor, or find a mental health professional. Among our behavioral health services at St. Joseph Orphanage, we offer therapy and counseling services. While SJO therapists usually meet with patients in-person, we temporarily have transitioned to using online Telehealth technology to offer support and encouragement to patients and to reinforce coping skills that can reduce anxiety and depression.