Due to the pandemic, many large corporations have transitioned from working in the office to working from home. Even though working from home has some benefits, there are a number of challenges that can take a toll on mental health. Instead of ignoring these issues, learn how to protect your mental health while working remotely. This is what I’ve learned that works.
Protect Your Routine
It is important to have stability while working from home. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) recommends maintaining a consistent schedule during the workweek. For example, it can be beneficial to start your day with a morning routine: eat a healthy breakfast, exercise, meditate, and then start your workday.
Be sure to take two to three ten-minute breaks throughout the day. This will allow you to get fresh air, stretch, and give your eyes a break from the computer screen. Also, everyone should take a 30-minute to one-hour lunch break to rest, eat, and regain their mental and physical strength in order to be productive for the rest of the day.
If you do not respect your schedule, than no one else will. APA also recommends that you identify specific work hours and communicate this information to your coworkers and managers. You shouldn’t work during your lunch break or your 10-minute mental breaks. Use this time to refresh your mind, so you can be effective for the remainder of the day.
When you work from home, it is easy to take on more work than you would in an office setting. However, you should not overwhelm yourself with additional work just because you are at home with your computer next to you. During your lunch or mental breaks, turn off your computer and put your phone on vibrate or silent so that you can enjoy your breaks uninterrupted.
Incorporate Positive Distractions
We Work Remotely (WWR), the largest remote work community in the world, says that it is okay to have a few positive distractions to keep you motivated and productive. Positive distractions can include:
- Outdoor walks
- Listening to soothing music
- Breathing exercises
These distractions are short-term tactics that can refresh your mind throughout the workday.
Protect Your Mental Energy
WWR also notes that too much time in front of the computer can negatively impact your quality of work, but also cause fatigue, lack of motivation, irritability, and anxiety. There are several practices you can adopt to minimize these effects.
Preventing Screen Exhaustion
Preventing screen exhaustion can preserve your mental energy. You should limit screen time during your 10-minute breaks, at lunch, and when you’re off duty. This can be achieved by cutting back on recreational social media time and trying to avoid reading or watching the news too frequently. You should also avoid reading or responding to emails when you’re off the clock.
Preventing Information Overload
Preventing information overload can also preserve your mental energy. Companies can assist with this by reducing the number of applications or programs that employees are required to use during the workday.
Another strategy to prevent information overload is to schedule specific times when you will respond to emails or conduct research. Additionally, try to complete one project or assignment at a time. Multitasking can cause information overload and a feeling of being overwhelmed. One last tip is to use paper and pen while brainstorming or writing notes instead of typing everything.
Protect Your Space
Skillcrush, an online coding and design school, stresses the importance of separating your personal life from your work life. One way to achieve this is to have a designated room or area in your house that is just for work. While working from home, it is essential to have proper tools that will help you be productive, such as a supportive chair that you can sit in comfortably for long hours.
Further, avoid completing work in your bed or rooms that are meant for rest. It is important to separate your downtime from your work life because it is very easy these days to mix both work and personal time. That’s why it is essential to have areas in your home that feel like a safe space from work or personal distractions.
Construct A Positive Atmosphere
Lastly, create a safe space for your work as well. Ways that you can create a positive atmosphere within your workspace include:
- Filling your workspace with bright or calming colors
- Working close to a window that provides sunlight
- Using an essential oil diffuser to release relaxing scents
- Playing soothing background music
Protecting your space by surrounding yourself with supportive, calming, and motivating objects will allow you to be productive while maintaining a healthy work-life balance.
Prioritizing Your Mental Health
If you follow these strategies, you can significantly boost your mental health. Prioritizing your mental health and energy should be just as important, if not more important, as prioritizing your work. You can be productive and achieve work-related goals while maintaining mental and inner peace.