INSIDE: Want to know how to maintain your mental health while working from home? These tips will give you the answers you’re seeking. Read on!
Many people dream of working from home, though they might not have considered the serious mental health challenges that can come with it.
The COVID 19 pandemic exposed how difficult it can be for remote employees to maintain good mental health and to set work-life boundaries. So many people have struggled over the past year with emotional health, anxiety, and mental wellness.
Now, many companies are becoming “virtual first” or requiring hybrid work that will keep employees at least partially at home for the foreseeable future.
So today, we have a few mental health maintenance tips that we hope can help bring a little sunshine to your work-at-home life.
How to Maintain Your Mental Health While Working From Home
As always, if you are having more bad days than good, be sure to speak with your health care provider or employee benefits coordinator. But for now, here are our best tips for how to maintain your mental health while working from home…
1. Maintain Social Connections
Social isolation is one of the biggest challenges for any remote worker. It can get really lonely around here!
It’s imperative for your mental health that you stay connected with loved ones and friends. Don’t limit your interactions to Zoom, social media and texting, either. Schedule regular lunch breaks, shopping trips or movie dates. If you can’t meet face-to-face, make an old-school phone call. It’s so important to hear another person’s voice. You may also seek out local support groups where you can meet with others who are also missing that social connection.
2. Have Boundaries for Your Work and Personal Life
I know, it’s so hard to keep your remote work life and your personal life separate — they’re both always there all the time.
You can establish working hours and stick to them. Don’t check emails or take calls after hours. Similarly, don’t cook dinner while working. You wouldn’t do either of those things back when you were working in an office. There’s no need to mix them now. It only causes more stress and less productivity all around.
I also recommend planning a regular activity for yourself before and after your work day to create some separation in your day, like always starting work after taking a walk around the block or ending your day with a meditation outside.
If you are in contact with co-workers, it’s also important to establish emotional boundaries, especially if you have a Negative Nancy in the bunch. Don’t let someone else’s issues become yours. Don’t let them start planting seeds of doubt and despair in your brain. (This doesn’t just go for work life, either. Heed this advice at home, too! Social connectedness does not mean sharing moods.)
3. Be Physically Active
When you’re working from home, it is so easy to sit at your desk for hours on end without ever getting up. Those quick trips to a coworker’s desk to ask a question are no longer happening.
But being this sedentary can have serious effects on not only your mental wellbeing but also your physical health. Heart disease is a serious threat to those working remotely.
To know how to maintain your mental health while working from home, schedule a time block several times per week to take a 30-minute walk, take a yoga class or put on a YouTube cardio video. Use the time you would have spent commuting to create space for exercise.
4. Get a Change of Scenery
Not everyone has the best home office setup. This can especially be the case for those who were thrust into working from home during the pandemic. You may have found yourself in a dark, cramped corner simply because there was nowhere else to go.
Make a point to improve your workspace, even if it’s temporary. Take a working lunch break outside. Grab your laptop and sit close to a sunny window during your next virtual meeting. Open a window and get some fresh air.
5. Find a New Hobby
The weather is getting nice. No more excuses. It’s time to learn that thing you always wanted to learn. You deserve — and require — the escape. Take tennis lessons. Take a gardening or flower-arranging class at your local nursery. See what non-credit courses are available at your local community college. Never stop learning. Never stop getting your hands dirty.
Last year, I spent some time learning how to meditate. It was a game-changer. As someone with very high anxiety, I didn’t even think it was possible for someone like me to turn off the noise. I was pleasantly surprised! Now, it’s a tool I can pull out at any time, any place. I’d highly recommend learning how to meditate and you can learn from the comfort of your home with free online videos.
7. Get Off the Computer
How many times a week do you sit down at your computer to “look something up real quick” and find yourself still sitting there an hour later? Or get sucked into YouTube on your phone? Too much screen time is robbing you of life. Social media may be robbing you of joy.
One of the keys to knowing how to maintain your mental health while working from home is to Turn. It. Off. Put your phone in the closet if you must.
It’s vital that you find a way to disconnect. And you can! It wasn’t so long ago that we could go hours without checking our emails, text messages and Facebook … those things didn’t exist. And we survived! Probably a lot better than we do now.
8. See the Sights
If your excuse for becoming a recluse is that there’s nothing to do, you really have no excuse. I love the website Only In Your State. There are probably so many things around you that you have never experienced before. Interesting places you have never been. Local history you have never learned. Restaurants you have never eaten at. This site is so great at pointing out little “hole in the wall” sights. Get out there for a day trip!
9. Get Outdoors
Speaking of day trips, be sure to check out the outdoor attractions featured on Only In Your State, too. After all, it’s no secret how important fresh air and sunshine are to our mental health. And don’t forget that our bodies need that Vitamin D from the sun for our physical health as well!
Visit a new park. Take a hike. Find a new playground for your kids. Soak up the beautiful wonders of nature that God has created. Stop and smell the roses for once, literally.
Final Thoughts About How to Maintain Your Mental Health While Working From Home
With these tips, you can truly enjoy the experience of working from home. It’s something we all dream about, but unless it’s handled properly, the reality doesn’t always match the dream. You can change that starting today!