As a facility that offers Palm Beach mental health services, we understand the importance of balancing the demands of a job while maintaining healthy boundaries between your work and personal life. Although remote work or working from home was most prevalent during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, a few years later, many people are still working remotely. Whether you’ve been working through COVID remotely or have recently transitioned to this work setting, we’re sharing some mental health tips for working from home to help you focus on your well-being.
8 Mental Health Tips for Working From Home
Balancing mental health and working from home has been and still is tough for a lot of people. While some enjoy the seclusion and quiet of remote working, others thrive in an office filled with people and the continuous sound of fingers clicking at keyboards. Fortunately to those in favor of this work method, but unfortunately to those who are not, working from home has become a go-to for many companies that want to save on overhead costs.
While remote working does have its pros – like no more commuting and fewer trips to the gas station – for many, the seclusion and singularity of this work setting can take a toll on the mind. While this style of working has more pros than cons for some, others are being hit with negative psychological effects of working from their homes, such as stress, lack of motivation, anxiety, uncertainty, and loneliness.
On top of these, it’s also normal to worry about future job prospects and the best way to balance work with your personal life. If you’re in this situation, below are eight wellness tips for working from home that can help you feel more productive and motivated.
#1: Set and Stick to a Routine
It’s easy to experience anxiety when working from home when you don’t have a set schedule. While a perk of working from home is not having to wake up as early to commute, not properly organizing yourself can leave you flustered and vulnerable to stressors from work. Additionally, without a set schedule, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred, which can be stressful.
For this reason, be sure to set a schedule for yourself to follow on workdays. Get up at the same time, eat breakfast, and try using what would’ve been your “commute time” to exercise, read, or listen to music before logging in. Also, create a to-do list of everything you want to get done that day at work and after work. By practicing these good habits, you’re giving yourself time to mentally prepare for the day ahead.
#2: Create a Dedicated Workspace
Get everything you need to work in one place. Make sure you can set up your laptop or desktop computer at a desk or table in a quiet place secluded from people and distractions like the TV or the kitchen to reduce the temptation to snack too much. Get your chargers, pens, notebooks, and anything else you might need to get your work done, and shut the door.
Even if you only have a small space to work with, make sure you dedicate some of it solely to work. Furthermore, make sure you’re comfortable. If you have a full-time remote job, you have to make sure you’re comfortable while working.
While it might be tempting to sit on the sofa or the bed, these areas of the house are associated with relaxation, and you might be more tempted to prop your feet up and scroll through Instagram than work. Try to sit at a table or a desk, so you sit upright and remain focused on your tasks. If you don’t have an adjustable chair, use cushions to make your chair more comfortable.
#3: Avoid Sugary or Carb-filled Snacks
Remember what we said about trying not to work too close to the kitchen? Well, it can be tempting to snack all day or the majority of the day when you work from home. When we’re busy and in a rush to eat a little something, we tend to gravitate towards easy snacks like chips or cookies.
However, eating things high in sugar, carbs, and sodium can deplete your energy levels and make you feel groggy, making it difficult to stay focused on your work. If you’re feeling like a snack, ask yourself if you’re really hungry or just bored. Also, drink some water before opening the fridge. Oftentimes, our thirst is disguised as hunger.
#4: Stay Hydrated and Eat Well
Speaking of avoiding certain foods, make sure you’re feeding yourself hunger-crushing and energy-boosting foods and staying hydrated to encourage performance. Turn to foods like fruits, nuts, avocado, eggs, and protein to give you energy and keep you satiated to prevent unhealthy snacking.
Make the time in the mornings to eat a good breakfast to help you start the day off smoothly. Not only does this give you the time to mentally wake up and prepare for the day, but it also ensures that you’re eating foods that will help you concentrate for eight hours or longer. In addition to good food, drink plenty of water.
Your frequent trips to the bathroom can be short and much-needed breaks throughout the day. Pro tip: get a water bottle with a straw to increase your water intake.
#5: Take Breaks (If You Can)
Speaking of bathroom breaks, short breaks are your best friends while working remotely. It’s normal to start feeling anxious working from home when you don’t take any breaks. You’re forcing your mind to focus on one thing for eight hours straight. That’s hard! Think of your mind as a muscle.
Can you imagine how your legs would feel if you were doing squats all day? That’s how your brain feels when you don’t allow it to rest for a few minutes throughout the day. So, make sure to give yourself 5 to 10-minute breaks every hour to help you detach from what you’re doing and rest your mind.
Doing this eases the tension of consistent work and allows you to reapproach what you’re working on with a new perspective. If possible, spend some time outdoors. Nature is great for mental health.
#6: Get Dressed
It can be tempting to work in your pajamas all day, but considering that it’s relaxation and sleep attire, working from home in your PJs can promote a much-too relaxed or even groggy attitude for the day ahead. We usually tend to feel better and more awake when we’re dressed as if we’re going to interact with other people, so try to at least change into jeans and a comfortable t-shirt to help you mentally “check in.”
#7: Stay Connected With Others
A common contributing factor to “work from home syndrome” is seclusion and isolation. Especially if you went from working in an office full of people to working alone at home, the sadness or depression of seclusion could hit you hard. To avoid this, it’s best to remain connected to others.
Be sure to make plans with loved ones after work on weekdays and on weekends. You can even call or video chat with a friend or parent during one of your breaks. Just make sure you aren’t spending too much time away from your work during the day.
If you’re still struggling with working from home, speak to your manager or colleagues. Ask how they’re doing and remain connected to them throughout the day to support each other. You can even set up a time weekly or every day to talk to your coworkers virtually to see how they’re doing.
#8: Create Boundaries and Stick to Them
Setting boundaries is key to not only tolerating but reaping the benefits of working from home. Setting boundaries may include keeping your children out of your workspace or turning off your work chats and email after hours to prevent coworkers, clients, or supervisors from reaching out.
Especially because you’re working from home, it can be tempting to always be available to your clients and coworkers. However, it’s important to treat your remote schedule like an in-office schedule. Once you’ve clocked out, you need to stop working. This will prevent you from overworking yourself and spending too much time away from loved ones.
Additionally, as a work-from-home partner and/or parent, your family may assume that you’re more available to help them with daily tasks. Set these boundaries early on with your family, and make sure they understand that your work time is meant for working and not doing other things.
Need More Help?
If you’ve practiced our mental health tips for working from home and are still struggling mentally, speak to a supervisor about your situation. They might be able to create a different schedule for you. Additionally, if you find that your mental health has taken a turn for the worse, don’t wait to reach out to a professional for help.
At Behavioral Health of the Palm Beaches, we offer various mental health programs, including depression and anxiety treatment, that can help you better understand your mind, the source of your symptoms, and how to manage everything in a healthy way. No matter what you’re struggling with mentally, we’re here to help.