Remote work often looks appealing because of its perks: flexible schedule, spending more time with your family, and more autonomy. However, even those benefits can become disadvantages if you don’t know how to manage your work-from-home structure. Eventually, it can even affect your mental health. That’s why today, we’d like to give you some tips for improving your well-being while working from home.
Mental Health Issues Caused by Remote Work
If you’re struggling with mental health issues associated with working remotely, you’re not alone. A recent survey from the U.S. Chamber revealed that 64 percent of executives reported that remote work affected their employees’ mental health. Take a look below to explore some of the adverse effects of working from home.
Anxiety is a condition that makes people worry about numerous situations, including everyday problems. This condition can negatively impact your mental health because it affects your concentration. Anxiety also comes with additional issues, such as IBS, headaches, and panic attacks.
Anxiety can be associated with remote work because of unrealistic work expectations, lack of structure, and a diffuse line between work and personal life. Check out our article on easing your workflow with productivity tools to help relive some anxiety related to your workflow.
One of the main risk factors that can affect your mental health while working remotely is isolation. Even though it may not seem as relevant, humans are social beings. We need mutual interaction to stay healthy. That’s why isolation can cause so many health problems, including depression.
Some of the symptoms you may experience as a depressed work-from-home employee include a lack of interest, negativity, and low mood.
People who work for long periods without prioritizing rest can feel burnout. Despite what they may think, overworking is not going to increase their productivity; it actually decreases it. Burnout employees often feel blocked and struggle with creativity. Some of the burnout symptoms are exhaustion, negativism, and headaches.
What to Do to Improve Your Mental Health While Working Remotely
Working from home can be hard, especially if you’ve never experienced this dynamic. However, there are a couple of things you can do to prevent mental health issues while working from home. The most important aspect you should consider is to prioritize your well-being and work-life balance. Below, you will see a couple of tips that might help you.
Create a Routine
Even though it may seem odd, it is precisely that autonomy you have with remote work that affects your mental health. Most people don’t know how to manage their time and this makes them overwork or delay tasks, which eventually affects their productivity and mental health.
The best thing you can do is create a routine or a structure just like you would in your office, but based on whatever works for you. However, you should know that it is crucial to schedule resting time in your routine in order to stay healthy.
Analyze Your Thoughts
If you’re struggling with anxiety and it’s interfering with your work, the first thing you should consider is therapy. However, we understand that therapy is not accessible to everyone, so in that case, you can start by analyzing your thoughts.
Anxiety is always rooted in an intrusive thought that causes fear and sets you in a fight or flight mode. Even though it may seem like you’re wasting time, it’s a good idea to sit back and analyze your thoughts at that moment. Once you’ve found the root of the problem, you can challenge that idea and change it for something more realistic and that gives you peace of mind.
For example, many people who work from home and suffer anxiety struggle with completing tasks because they’re afraid of letting other people down or they have a desire for perfectionism. However, it is precisely that thought that keeps them from starting the task in the first place.
In that case, it’s important to remember that we’re humans, and we’re allowed to make mistakes. You should also focus on progress, rather than results. Instead of thinking about completing the entire assignment, focus on a particular task and move on to the next one. This will give you a sense of fulfillment and motivation, which will help you stay focused and productive.
Remember what we mentioned above about the diffuse line between your work and your personal life? This is very common for remote workers. Since you’re not in the office, you don’t have to dress for it or have someone to tell you when labor is over, you don’t take your work out of your head, ever. This is when it’s important to set boundaries between work and your personal space. Your resting time is yours, and you should be able to enjoy your weekend, nights, and special occasions without having to think about work. And most importantly, you don’t have to feel guilty about resting.
Having that mental load on your resting time is just as exhausting as working, so it’s crucial to get those thoughts out of your head. You are allowed to turn off notifications, close your laptop, and enjoy your time.
If you’re a remote worker, you’ll know that there might be days when you don’t even get to feel the heat of the sun. You wake up, work, eat, and by the time you’re done it’s already nighttime.
There is a reason why we feel more motivated and happier when we spend time out in the sun. When the sunlight touches your skin it releases a hormone called serotonin, which boosts your mood and makes you feel regulated and motivated. If you spend the entire day at home, without the slightest ray of sun you are depriving your body of what it needs. It doesn’t even have to be long, you can just take a small walk in the morning or afternoon.
It is not just important to go outside, it is also important to do some form of exercise such as hiking, jogging, running, swimming, biking or any other moderate exercise. Exercise not only helps you sleep better – which is key to good mental health – but it also releases endorphins. Endorphins interact with the receptors in your brain that reduce your perception of pain. More importantly, Endorphins also trigger a positive feeling in the body, which makes you feel happier and more positive.
Working from home is an excellent opportunity to spend time with your family, get back to your hobbies, or have some sort of control over your schedule. However, if you don’t do it the right way it might affect your mental health. Try to avoid problems like anxiety, depression, or burnout by prioritizing your rest, setting boundaries with your work, and creating a structure that works for you.