How are you maintaining your mental health during the current global health crisis? Many are struggling with this new full-time work-from-home order. Mental health concerns are at an all-time high, as each of us are disconnected from loved ones to respect social distancing. For those who are still working, you may have been relegated to remote work, and you’re probably trying to stay sane. We’re happy to help with that. Try these five tips to handle the stress that stems from this new work-from-home era.
One thing that most commonly throws someone off when they begin remote work is the lack of structure and routine that we usually get from working in an office setting. We recommend acting as though you’re still going into the office. Make a schedule to organize your day better, set your alarm to start your day early, and begin work when you feel the most refreshed and productive in the morning. Get ready for the day like you’re going into the office: shower, shave, make up your face, and put on real clothes (that’s right, no more pajama bottoms).
Create a Designated Workspace
Our brains are weird and often affected by our environment. We can train them to think a certain way depending on our current space. Teach your brain to associate a desk area, home office, or even the dining table with work and other rooms in your home as “home” or “fun.” This will give you a sense of normalcy and separate work from home, even though they’re both in the same building now. It’s difficult to reduce stress from work and not bring that home with you when you don’t have that half-hour or hour-long drive to unwind before walking through the door. Reduce stress and leave the work stuff at work by training your brain to turn off work-mode when you enter the living room, bedroom, or other areas of your home that are strictly “home” spaces.
When at home, our loved ones want our full attention. That was understandable before work became the office. Now we have to set boundaries with roommates, kids, spouses, etc. Set the boundary with roommates or family that 9-6 is work time. In addition to limiting people-distractions, we recommend limiting social media as well. While working at home, the temptation to scroll through social media on your phone is greater, without eyes at the office watching.
Make Time for Fun
Exterior boundaries aren’t the only essentials during quarantine; you’ll need to set internal boundaries too. Set the boundary with yourself that when you’re clocked out, you’re with the family or with friends, and that work is over. Your mind needs to relax and separate work from home to stay sane. Make a virtual coffee date with someone important in your life to catch up, in a space that is dedicated to non-work activities. The lack of daily connection that this isolation has brought induces our work stresses, so it’s best to combat that by nurturing our relationships virtually.
It seems that while working from home, we’re working at a slower pace and for longer days. When the day drags on and burns us out, it adds to our stress and mental anguish. Take breaks and stretch, to keep your mind going. Work in some exercise for your hour lunch break, to reduce depression and anxiety from isolation. Our minds and bodies can handle 90 minutes of continuous work before we need to take a breath and step away for a quick break. We don’t have to sacrifice self-care when working from home.
It’s been a stressful three months in our personal isolations, but it’s important to care for ourselves and each other during this period. Practice these tips and stay sane! For more advice on dealing with professional concerns, keep following our blog on pdxMindShare!
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