You might be working from your home office long before the spread of the coronavirus outbreak, or you might have started working out of your house for the last 4-5 months. No matter when you have initiated this work system, there are few mental health challenges that you might have experienced earlier and maybe still facing these days.
Think about the time you are working alone at home throughout the whole day. The pressures of work and isolation can create serious mental health issues. After the work shift ends, you might feel so exhausted and bored that you might think about leaving the house and going somewhere else. But due to the lockdown, it is not possible.
So, you need something that may stimulate your gray cells and your entire body. to keep you motivated.
On the other hand, if you are living with your partner or family, and spending 10-12 hours a day working, for 5 days in a week, then how much time can you possibly give to your family?
After the long work shift throughout the weekdays when you finally reach the weekend, you might feel so tired that you can’t even open your eyes and it can be even more challenging to spend time with your kids in the house, or to do some creative work, or even look after your parents, in these two days. As a result, you might feel depressed, stressed, and anxious about your family. To cope with such a situation, some people may start drinking alcohol or consuming drugs.
Clinical psychologist Kevin Gilliland, Ph.D., executive director of Innovation 360, an outpatient group of counselors and therapists, added: “Prepare to be surprised at how difficult the transition is.” Your home will be populated with distractions you usually don’t face at work, especially if you have other people living, working, or enjoying the lockdown without any work.
So, it’s quite important to know how to stay mentally healthy while working at home during this pandemic. The first step for handling this issue is to identify the reasons or triggers, and understand if you are going through any mental health issue or not.
Here are some common triggers you might notice:
● You might be experiencing insomnia or too much sleep.
● You might be experiencing social or professional isolation or disconnection
● You might fail to motivate yourself for office work
● Once you start working, you might be losing interest in relaxing, and unable to take a break from work
● You might be getting unorganized towards your work and fail to prioritize your workload
● You became doubtful about your skills and confused about your performance.
So, if you are also experiencing such issues, you may follow these tips and protect your mental health while working from home.
Effective tips to protect your mental health while working from home
#1. Create a routine and follow your schedule
● You might be working 10 to 12 hours a day and 5 days a week. So you should make a work schedule to follow for a week. It is best if you can create a schedule every Sunday evening.
● You should organize your tasks for each day and goals as per your priority. It will be easier to achieve the goals if you make a list based on the importance of the work. But keep an eye on ongoing tasks too.
● Do not include tasks that are not required for the current week.
● Do not work in your pajamas all day. Try not to lose all your daily habits at once.
● Do not forget about scheduled breaks. Sign yourself periodic breaks to escape the digital screen. You must provide enough rest to your eyes, neck, shoulders, and back, sitting 10 – 12 hours in the same sitting posture could be harmful as well.
#2. Create a specific place for your work
● Separate your workplace from your bedroom.
● Make sure your workplace has enough lights, don’t work just by using a table lamp
● You would require a wide desk to organize all your stuff, such as papers, computers, printers, files, etc. A bigger desk may help your wrists, arms, and elbows while you use your mouse and keyboard.
● The palace should have enough air ventilation or an air conditioner. You shouldn’t feel sweaty while working.
● You’ll be working 8 to 10 hrs on average, sometimes 10 to 12 hrs also if you have urgent work to finish. You should have a comfortable, ergonomic chair that will support your back for that long. It is very important for your back, neck, and spine.
● Make sure the workplace is separated from your other rooms so that no other noise can distract you, especially if you have kids at your house.
● The room should have sufficient electrical connections to power up your lights, PC, or charge your laptop/phone.
● You may install a good sound system at your workplace. You may listen to soft music while working, it’ll create positivity and motivate you to work freely. You may also use a wireless mouse and keyboard so that you can freely move them at any angle you want.
● Make sure you clean that place every day. During this pandemic, you must take care of your cleanliness and also your workplace. Check out thesecleaning and disinfecting tips to keep you and your family safe.
#3. Know your limitations and upgrade yourself
● While starting a new day, if you feel that you are not ready to work, or need a full day break from work, don’t ignore that vibe! Shut down the computer and take the rest of the day off. If you don’t do this and keep stretching yourself to work, you can’t give your 100% to the work. Instead, take a break and from the next day focus on the work and give your 100%.
● Know your limitations, do not take too much work pressure. Assign yourself as much work as you can, but consider how much you can complete in a day. Schedule your workload according to your capacity, not beyond that.
● Use online training to learn new skills. You may find online videos provided by Microsoft and other companies, which may help you to use remote working software.
● You may organize online meetings with your colleagues to maintain a positive connection. Staying connected with people from your office may help you to reduce stress and depression due to work pressure. If videoconferencing is not available to you, then you can try using WhatsApp videos for basic video calls with close colleagues.
● You may discuss with your colleagues about work strategies and stay productive. This way you can also update yourself and them about all the work progress.
● If you need you may even discuss all the issues you are facing with your manager or boss. Don’t forget he/she is also working from home and might be facing the same situation as you.
● Many employers offer employee assistance programs and other benefits. If you have any physical or mental health issues, tell your employer. Your employer has a responsibility to make reasonable adjustments.
#4. Embrace all the positives
● You should feel lucky that you have that opportunity to work from home and acknowledge the fact that many workers during this crisis do not get that chance. So take it as a positive experience and focus on your work.
● Work from the home facility can improve your productivity, reduce distractions, reduce stress, and improve your work satisfaction. It may also give you control over your time and costs.
● You may achieve a healthier work-life balance, and also you can focus on your home. This way you may get rid of your stress and anxiety easily.
#5. Don’t ignore the other helpful activities to maintain good physical and mental health
● Have a balanced diet. If you eat too much junk food, it can harm your health. As a result, your work can also be hampered.
● Drink plenty of water during your work. Do not mind if you have to go to the washroom several times.
● Exercising is needed to keep yourself fit and active. It will also help you to concentrate on your work more.
● You may also try yoga or meditation to calm your mind. Deep breathing is very effective tofight against anxiety.
● Spend quality time with your family, or do some creative things after work. You may listen to music, start painting, play any musical instrument, watch movies, read books, etc.
● Try to get outside at least once a day. Go for a walk in your garden, or get some fresh air by standing on the balcony, and enjoy the sunshine. If you have a pool inside your house, enjoy the fresh air while swimming with your family.
● Use video chat to stay connected with friends, family members, and relatives who are far from you.
● Try to spend at least 1 hour with kids. Help them with their homework, play with them, draw with them, and convey social skills into them. This is one of the best ways to handle your anxiety.
● If you have uncontrollable mental health issues, then you may consult a professional therapist who may help you to protect your mental health.
These are some of the easiest tips to follow that may help protect your mental health. If you have some more in mind, please feel free to share it with us. Good luck.