Photo by Nathan Dumlao
Originally Posted On: https://thejustread.com/9-mental-health-tips-for-working-from-home/
Working from home can be fairly easy for some, but for others, it can be a real problem. Conventional working environments, such as offices or factories, are conditioned to make you engage and focus on your tasks at work, however, for some people their home is not an ideal working environment. The truth is that working from home requires huge self-control and self-discipline, which demands a lot of mental energy, that means; eventually, it can start deteriorating both your mental and physical health. Therefore, it’s necessary to take proper care of your mental health before it becomes a problem. In this article, we’ll explore 9 mental health tips for working from home that will improve your well-being.
Before jumping right into the tips, it’s important to understand how your mental health can be compromised while working from home. The first and foremost factor that can affect your mental health is change and adaptation. Working from home means adapting to new technology, new habits, new schedules, and dealing with distractions. If you live alone, you may experience isolation, depression, stress and anxiety, although people living with company may experience the same.
Now that we know some of the potential factors that can affect your mental health, it’s time to see how you can improve and take care of your mental health using these powerful tips.
#1 Create a Routine
Among our tips, this is one of the most important. Essentially, create a routine as if you are actually going out to your office. Set the time you will start working and the time you will stop. One of the advantages of working from home is the flexibility of your schedule, however, this can be a double-edged sword. While you can have more flexibility in your schedule, it’s extremely likely that you end up working extra hours or, on the other hand, procrastinate.
In order to avoid overworking or procrastinating, create a routine that allows you to know the exact time at which you will focus solemnly on your work and the time you will stop working and not touch anything related to work. Also, incorporate some breaks in between if you need to. Make time for hobbies, spend time with your family, and connect with people that are important to you. Make sure to stick to your schedule, establish a line between your work time and home time, be careful not to mix them and you will notice a big difference.
#2 Build your Own Office
Among our mental health tips for working from home, this one is vital for your productivity. Now that you’ve set your schedule, it’s time to select a space to work. Pick a space in your house that is not your bedroom. Create your own office, to specifically use for work only. The key element here is that you will associate this space with work and business.
Many people make the mistake of using their bedrooms for work. You should totally avoid this as eventually, you will associate your bed with a stressful workspace rather than a place for peace and relaxation.
So, pick a space that preferably has no distractions; has a table to support your arms and wrists, and a good chair that supports your back. Of course, you don’t need to make everything perfect, you can successfully work with what you have available at hand. If you don’t have enough space, then assign a place within your room just for work. Avoid your bed at all costs!
#3 Make Time to Connect with Other People
Isolation and loneliness can deeply affect your mental health. Working from home means you don’t have the benefit of spending lunch break with your colleagues or having a meeting with your coworkers or boss. However, that doesn’t mean you have to give it up altogether. We live in an era of technology, connecting with other people is simply a click away.
You can organize video calls with your colleagues to stay in touch and keep positive relationships. Take into consideration that human beings are social creatures, we need constant social interaction for our well-being.
This doesn’t only apply to people you work with. Stay connected with people that are important, such as, family, friends, and partners. Take a time of the day to text, call or video call these people. At times, it is crucial to maintain positive relationships with people around you while spending long periods of time at home. Keep a positive mood and attitude towards them.
#4 It’s Okay to Say No
Sometimes working from home means having more work assigned, but, you need to know your limits and you need to learn to say no to some offers. Some clients might send you some interesting projects to do, or even your boss or colleagues might send more work. Normally, you would like to accept every opportunity, however, this can turn into an unhealthy habit.
For this, you need to set your own boundaries, remember tip #1, respect and stick to your schedule. Learn how and when to say no. Don’t overwork yourself to the point of burnout! Lastly, let others know, politely, why you can’t take that offer at the moment.
Remember you’re the one who’s going to struggle with that extra work. It’s crucial to decide how much work you can get done without reaching your limits. Otherwise, you would live constantly overwhelmed and stressed. So, setting boundaries and learning how not to accept more than you can take is one of the best mental health tips for working from home you could ever get.
#5 Start Practicing Meditation
One of the things that never fails to help improve mental health is meditation. Meditation is known for having many benefits to not only our minds but our bodies as well.
If you meditate daily, you’ll decrease your stress levels considerably. It can help; lower blood pressure levels, feel less anxious, see life more positively, be more grateful of the things you have, and overall, it will help clear your mind from all the stress caused from work and activities you did during the day. You can meditate for as long as you feel comfortable, even 5 minutes of daily meditation can change your lifestyle completely.
For those people who don’t like meditation, there are other options they can use instead. For example, you can take breaks during your day when you feel stressed or anxious and take deep breaths. It’s scientifically proven that taking deep breaths help to reduce stress and anxiety.
#6 Try Daily Journaling
According to experts, Journaling is one of the best mental health tips that you need to incorporate in your life. Journaling is a great option to simply write all your thoughts down and empty your mind of worries and unnecessary or distracting thoughts. Ideally, you only will need a journal, any notebook works just fine, and a pen or pencil, basically, anything you can write with.
The time of the day you can dedicate to journaling depends on you, for example, some people like to do what’s called “morning pages”, meaning that as soon as you wake up or as soon as you feel ready to start your day, you spend some minutes journaling and writing all your thoughts down to start the day with an empty and fresh mind.
Others prefer to journal at night so they can go to bed without haunting thoughts disturbing their sleep. Journaling is basically an excellent way of transferring all your worries and things that might be bothering you from your head to paper, this way they stay out of your mind.
#7 Digital Detox is Helpful
Working from home means that you most likely spend a good portion of the day sitting in front of a computer. After that, you are likely to spend the rest of the time in front of other screens. Sometimes what causes an imbalance in your mental health is the abuse of technology.
This implies to; checking too many emails, social media and being so invested in work that you forget what happens outside of a screen. A digital detox is something you can implement once a day, or how many days a week you consider you need to stay away from technology.
A good idea is to stay away from any kinds of screens 1 to 2 hours before you go to sleep. I can guarantee, it will not only help you improve your mental health and do activities better but it will also help you sleep better.
#8 Spend time in Nature
Apart from a good digital detox, it’s a good idea to spend time in nature at least once a day. Spending some time in nature is known to have a certain relaxing and calming effect in us, so it’s a perfect alternative to relieve stress and escape reality for a bit. Isolation can affect you in levels that you would never expect. Going for a walk is always a good choice, getting some fresh air, feeling the wind in your face, hearing the sounds of birds and letting the sun nurture your skin for a couple of minutes, are all major mental health healers.
If you can’t go for a walk, there are still some alternatives you can choose from. If you have a garden, that would work just well too. Take a couple of minutes out from your routine and sit down and breathe deeply, or simply walk around for as long as you can. If you happen to live in an apartment, you can open your windows and let the fresh air and sunshine come into your house. The important thing here is to take some time off your day to stay away from computers and screens and connect with nature. Either way, by going for a walk or simply breathing fresh air from the comfort of your home.
#9 Say No to Multitasking
This is the last of our mental health tips for working from home. Humans like to multitask, they think that taking several tasks at the same time will save time and stress of later. The truth is that multitasking takes more brainpower than you think. Multitasking requires you to focus on at least two things at the same time, which demands more energy from your mind, ultimately, that’s not good. It’s okay to multitask once in a while but try to stay away from multitasking on a daily basis, this will cause your brain to be more tired and exhausted at the end of the day.
Instead, focus on just one task at the time. This way your brain can focus better and optimize your energy. Don’t think about all the things you need to do, you will only get stressed, and it would even make you procrastinate. Tackle one task at a time and think about it only, don’t think about anything else. That’s it!
I hope these mental health tips were helpful enough. If you apply these for working from home, I can assure, you will be able to protect your mental health and well-being from depression, anxiety, loneliness, and isolation that other home-based workers may experience. If you ever feel that things are getting out of control, always try to seek help from either a friend, a family member, a coworker, or a professional. Know that there are a lot of people all around the world that are experiencing the same or worse things than you. Always remember that each day is a new opportunity to better and brighten our lives.