Even as COVID-19 restrictions are being lifted across the country, many companies are still opting to have their employees work from home.
While some may have adapted well to working remotely, for many who depend on the routine of getting up and going to work to maintain their mental health and wellbeing, the past few months have likely been a challenge. And the fact is, no one knows when it will be safe for the workforce to head back into the office.
If you are someone who is struggling with working remotely, know you are not alone. Here are my top 3 tips for maintaining your mental health while working from home.
Stick to a schedule
Whether we like to admit it or not, as humans we are creatures of habit who tend to thrive on routine. If you can, keep your morning the same as if you were getting up to go to work. Get dressed, have breakfast, and designate an area of your house which is your “work zone.” Make sure you set regular working hours and are taking breaks when you normally would at the office. Respect your limits and avoid working outside your regularly scheduled time. It can be tempting to work longer hours, especially if you don’t have your regular commute. However, sticking to your regular work schedule will help mitigate burn out and make sure that you are maintaining a good work-life balance while working from home.
One of the hardest things about working from home is feeling isolated. Research has shown that loneliness caused by social isolation can cause depression, poor sleep quality, impaired immunity, accelerated cognitive decline and even earlier mortality. (https://royalsocietypublishing.org/doi/10.1098/rstb.2014.0114).
To stave off feelings of loneliness make sure to connect friends and colleagues throughout the day either over the phone, by text or software like Skype and Zoom. Technology is your best friend when it comes to maintaining social connections while working remotely.
Maintain self care
While working from home it can be easy to burn the candle at both ends. As mentioned, make sure you keep to a set workday. Make time for activities you enjoy and make you feel good, like going on walks on your breaks. Take the time to make yourself nutritious food and make sure you are maintaining good sleep hygiene. According to the Mayo Clinic (https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/expert-answers/how-many-hours-of-sleep-are-enough/faq-20057898) the average adult needs about 7-9 hours of sleep a night to feel their best. Self care isn’t selfish and maintaining your health and wellbeing overall will help increase your productivity during work hours.
Don’t beat yourself up if it takes a while for you to find your groove. Working from home is challenging at the best of times, and we are all trying to figure out how to work remotely (in a global pandemic) while juggling all our other responsibilities. If you are feeling overwhelmed don’t be afraid to reach out to a friend, family member or even a healthcare professional to get the help you need.