Working from Home? How to Take Care
of Your Mental Health
For some people, the transition to working from home is easy; they take to it like a duck from water and enjoy this new experience. Other people may find it isolating, challenging to concentrate and spend a lot of time worrying that they are not getting their work done because there are too many distractions. It is essential that you take care of your mental wellbeing when working from home, which can include taking short breaks, ensuring you start and finish work at defined times, and talking to your friends and family at the end of the day. But what else can you do to take care of your mental health when working from home?
Working from home has proven to be successful in many cases, and if you have not enjoyed it, it may concern you that your boss is going to insist that this becomes normal. From a business point of view, there are benefits, and it does make a lot of sense if it works well. But for home workers, there can be psychological effects that batter your sense of happiness and wellbeing. For some people, the biggest problem is isolation and loneliness. If you are used to being in a busy office and chatting to colleagues, making coffee, and generally being sociable, working from home can be hard to take. It's not just that you don't hold conversations with other people, it's the fact that your colleagues understand the job, the annoyances, and are on hand if you need to vent and get it all out. This doesn't tend to work so well across a chat platform.
In turn, this can create anxiety and stress that you find hard to control. Some people who work from home report feeling like they are on a treadmill; it seems that all they do is go to bed in one room, wake up and work in another and repeat. Travelling to the office, even a short commute, still makes us feel better because we have got out and seeing different sites. This can create a sense of pressure, especially when you combine it with a lack of definition between your other roles. For example, when you are at work, you don't see the laundry pile or the dishes in the sink, the children don't wander through and ask for food, and there is a clear sense of purpose and definition between your jobs. It can be really tricky to juggle
When we talk about depression, it is vital that people understand we don't just mean feeling a little bit under the weather and blue. Depression is a serious mental health condition, and many different events in life can trigger it. Still, if you are not enjoying working at home, feeling lonely, frustrated and stressed, it can translate into depression.
So, What Can You Do?
What can you do to make sure that you are taking care of your mental health and can thrive when working from home? The first thing to remember is that it is okay not to be okay, it happens all the time, but sometimes when we're at work, we don't notice because our colleagues' step in and give us the boost we need. So, when you are working alone, it is crucial that you create yourself a routine and be sure to stick to that. So if you start work at 9, and finish at 5, see that you do. It can be tempting to let your work creep into your evenings just so you can get something completed, but it's more important that you down tools and go back to your daily life. If possible, it's great to have a designated workspace that doesn't serve any other purpose. That can be tricky with space around the home, but a corner of a bedroom, a small table in the lounge, or kitchen worktop means that at the end of the day, you can shut off your office space and ignore it until tomorrow.
Even in the lockdown, we were allowed to get some exercise, which is important for mental health. Even if you're not the running or jogging type, just walking around the block can help you to feel better. Fresh air is vital, and just 30 minutes of exercise each day has been proven to significantly bring down the levels of anxiety we feel. This is because it triggers a release of endorphins and serotonin, which are the happy chemicals in your body.
It is also important that we maintain the interaction human beings need with each other. If you do not have support from colleagues in your office, then you may be able to find other groups of people who work from home and have chat platforms available to socialise. It is crucial that you keep talking and make sure your family and loved ones know if you are having a hard time outside of work. You do not have to do it all, and you are not responsible for everything. Asking for help is something we can all do, but nobody likes to do. However, it can be imperative to reach out to someone you love and say, please help me. I don't feel so great about working from home.
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