If you’ve started working from home within the past year or two, you aren’t alone. Remote employment is an accelerating trend, with telecommuting here to stay. Loneliness, depression and burnout are some of the potential stressors that come with remote work.
The good news is, working virtually you have more control over your environment, and oftentimes your schedule. That said, there are numerous ways you can respond to the stress you may feel working from home. Here are 5 tips to make you mentally fit for working from home:
1. Make Social Interaction a Priority
If you worked in an office before but now find yourself at home each day, it’s not abnormal to experience symptoms of depression and anxiety. However, many have made the adjustment to working from home using technology that facilitates interaction with co-workers. Schedule Zoom or Skype meetings with co-workers to check in face-to-face. Take advantage of the control you have over your schedule by planning time with family and friends when it’s convenient for them.
2. Have an Exercise Regimen
Surely you know exercise is good for you, but did you know it’s been shown to reduce neck pain and risk markers of heart disease in working people? A study in Denmark on 3,500 dentists, computer workers, health care workers and more found that introducing regular exercise improved employee health, productivity and feelings of well-being .
Transform a small space in your home to a home workout area with everything you need for a challenging full-body workout. There are compact treadmills, ellipticals and stationary bikes designed for the home you can invest in. If you don’t want to spend as much, investing in a yoga mat and resistance bands goes a long way. Get in the habit of exercising 4 to 6 days a week for 25 or more minutes at a time.
3. Get Your Vitamins
Your brain relies on the right amount of nutrients supporting the systems that regulate mood. Vitamin D and omega-3 fatty acids are particularly crucial to brain health and function. Since we rely on getting vitamin D mainly from sunlight, it’s wise to take a vitamin D supplement working from home. Research has linked vitamin D deficiency to higher rates of depression, whereas vitamin D supplementation reverses deficiency and the symptoms it causes .
4. Schedule Your Work Time
Keeping an effective work calendar means penciling in meetings and deadlines, as well as planning blocks of time for doing your work. This way, you can keep your work separate from life–(something that proves harder to do when you’re working from home). During the times when you’re scheduled to work, make yourself available to co-works but unavailable to friends or family. The more consistent your work schedule is, the better your loved ones can know what to expect. You might be surprised how many discussions and conflicts this can save you!
5. Schedule Time to Unplug
One of the main difficulties in striking a work-life balance is separating the two from each other. To make sure they don’t blur, schedule time for totally unplugging from work. Schedule breaks where you spend time away from your desk or office and indulge leisure time to unwind. Put something fun on your calendar–enjoy a hobby, or simply relax.
Prioritizing Mental Health While You Work from Home
You have more autonomy working from home, but it’s up to you to use it to your advantage and protect your mental health. Putting your mental health first pays off in the long run by making your job more sustainable. Mental health is also important for reducing the physical effects of stress on your health. Learning to control your schedule and switch between work and leisure can help you benefit more from your remote job.