It can be challenging to maintain a positive attitude and good mental health when working from home. Not only can the strain of the Coronavirus pandemic take a toll, but the lack of engagement with peers and coworkers, along with the daily monotony, can affect your mental health – contributing to a negative thought spiral.
Some of the negative effects of working remotely can include:
- Loneliness & Isolation
- Increased Anxiety
- Intense Work Pressure
- Sleep Disruptions
- Anger & Irritability
- Fear Of COVID-19 & Illness
10 Tips For Better Mental Health When Working Remotely
If you are struggling with motivation and positive mental health, here are 10 tips to help you feel productive and positive while working from home.
- Create A Defined Workspace
- Get Dressed & Practice Self-Care
- Maintain A Schedule
- Eat Often
- Move Your Body
- Change Up & Beautify Your Space
- Create Strong Work Boundaries
- Unplug When Possible
- Connect With Others Outside Of Work
- Talk To A Therapist
1. Create A Defined Workspace
If you are able, carve out a unique place to get your work done each day. This helps to disconnect your work life and your home life in a tangible way, but it will also help you feel more productive when you are in your workspace.
By creating a special location to work in, you’re telling your brain that this is a place for being productive.
On the other hand, working from your bed or other places where you go to unwind and relax may actually make those spaces less restful when you need them. You don’t need a separate room or office; you can make a workspace at a corner desk, a spot at your dining table, or any place that is separate from where you sleep or relax.
2. Get Dressed & Practice Self-Care
It might be tempting to just roll out of bed and get to work, but research shows that when we complete our self-care and hygiene routines and get dressed for the day, it creates a positive mindset. We feel more confident and ready to tackle daily tasks.
3. Maintain A Schedule
One of the best ways to combat telework fatigue is to create a routine for your workday and workflow. A healthy schedule should block out both time to be productive and small breaks throughout the day to recoup.
Some people find it helpful to practice a method called the Pomodoro technique. To do this, set a time for 25 minutes and work during that time. When the timer goes off, take a 5-minute break and begin again. This ensures that you give yourself a 10-minute break every hour. Be sure to take longer breaks for meals.
4. Eat Often
Taking a break for meals leads to our next point: it’s important to eat often. Not only does nutrition keep your blood sugar stable and provide your body with necessary nutrients, but the time it takes to eat a meal is also a necessary break in your workday. Your food doesn’t have to be fancy or gourmet, but eating is an important care task.
Also, drink plenty of water. It’s tempting to chug caffeinated beverages to give yourself energy for the day, but caffeine can also contribute to anxiety and sleep disruptions.
5. Move Your Body
Along with getting some nutrition and drinking water, it’s really important to get up and stretch, walk and move your body. Working at a desk or table all day creates a lot of tension in the body. It’s easy to slip into the zone and work for long periods of time, especially at home without coworkers there to chat with or the ability to go out for lunch.
When you take breaks, stand up, stretch or take a walk. You’ll feel better and your body and brain will thank you.
6. Change Up & Beautify Your Space
It can be very monotonous to look at the same rooms day in and day out. Working at home can be a strain on mental health because of the “sameness” of each day. Try to change up your space or add things that beautify or spark joy. It can be small things like a houseplant, or a piece of art.
Sometimes just rearranging furniture or tidying up can create a sense of change and increase your productivity and improve mental health.
7. Create Strong Work Boundaries
In the age of the smartphone, it can be hard to set boundaries for work even if you are working in an office. Being constantly connected by our devices can make it hard to shut off work and truly unwind. It’s even more important when working from home to set boundaries with your boss, coworkers, and clients about when it’s appropriate to contact you or expect you to work.
And while setting boundaries with others may be difficult, sometimes the hardest person to set a boundary with is ourselves. Workaholics need breaks, too. Decide on a time to stop working each day and stick to it.
8. Unplug When Possible
Sometimes we need to set digital boundaries and not just work boundaries. It’s difficult during the COVID-19 pandemic to feel connected without digital devices, but it’s very important to disconnect from time to time. Cultivate other hobbies, like reading, doing crafts, making art, cooking, or spending time outdoors.
We all need to step away sometimes and have a complete reset.
9. Connect With Others Outside Of Work
Team meetings are not the only time to connect with coworkers. Plan socially distanced or online activities that are just to unwind and hang out with each other as friends. Try a Zoom happy hour or play a game online together. Another idea might be a Netflix watch party, or coffee together in a park where you can be distanced.
It’s important for your mental health to connect emotionally with coworkers and not just talk about work, clients, and deadlines. Relationships are essential for fighting feelings of isolation and loneliness.
10. Talk To A Therapist
The best and most important way to stay mentally healthy and positive is to seek out the help of a trained psychologist. The pandemic has been a difficult time for everyone and has caused increases in both anxiety and depression.
Being able to talk to an experienced anxiety therapist can help you get the tools and learn the techniques you need. You don’t have to struggle alone — the caring, listening ear of therapy works.
Stay Positive & Healthy While Working Remotely
Dr. Taji Huang, Ph.D. can assist you with feelings of loneliness, isolation, and depression in Glendale and throughout Southern California. You can work remotely and still maintain good mental health and productivity. Contact her today to get started. We are all in this together and help is available.