How to Maintain Mental Health While Working From Home
The global pandemic sent 71 percent of the workforce home. A large majority of workers continued their jobs from makeshift home offices, kitchen tables, and bedrooms.
What were the consequences of this rapid shift in lifestyle? Why is there an increase in the number of people seeking rehab centers in San Diego?
Not only have people become more isolated, but the uncertainty of the pandemic also has led to a dramatic increase in those reporting mental health issues. In January 2019, 11 percent of the population reported feeling symptoms of anxiety and depression. By January 2021, this number increased to 40.1 percent.
Working from home is stressful, but you can take a few steps to look after your mental health. Read on to learn how to maintain health while remote working.
Set Your Boundaries
One of the major causes for people suffering mental health problems and seeking help during the pandemic is burnout. People are working more as the boundaries between work and life become blurred.
To avoid burnout and to take care of your wellbeing, set boundaries about your working time. Inform your boss that you will only be available between set hours each day. No more answering emails at 3:00 a.m. or starting work before you get out of bed.
You need time after you finish your workday to relax, decompress and do things you enjoy. If you get into a 24/7 work cycle, you will struggle to avoid burnout.
Turn your work email off at a certain time and resist the temptation to continue working after hours.
Create a Routine
One of the easiest ways to maintain the boundaries you set is with a routine. If you can start work at the same time each day and finish for the day at the same time too, it will make managing your time much easier. Having a set schedule of hours is vital for maintaining a balance between your work and your downtime.
Waking up and going to bed at the same time each day is also helpful for managing stress. Your body will get used to having the same amount of sleep each night. Rest is one of the most critical elements for maintaining health and avoiding stress.
Schedule an hour before you start working to do something you enjoy. Whether that’s a run, some meditation, or reading your book, it will help you start the day with a calm mind. Rolling out of bed and jumping straight onto your laptop won’t help your mental state.
Physical activity is essential for mental wellness. When you exercise, it reduces the amount of cortisol in your body, which is the stress hormone.
Exercise also releases endorphins which is why you get a buzz when you’ve been exercising.
Choose a way to stay active that suits you best. Maybe it’s a lunchtime walk to break up the day; perhaps it’s a morning run or an online yoga class. Pick the activities you enjoy and schedule them in your week.
Scheduling exercise in your calendar can help you to stay motivated. If it’s written there in black and white, it’s a reminder that it should be a nonnegotiable element of your day. Even when you don’t feel up to it, exercise is one of the simplest ways to enhance your mood and wellbeing.
Maintain Social Connection
Another big challenge of working from home is isolation. We are social creatures, and going to an office to interact with our colleagues is usually a big part of doing our job.
Switching real-life meetings for online ones can feel exhausting and overwhelming. Try to limit the number of video calls you schedule for a day.
When you work alone in your home, make sure you arrange to meet friends and family during your downtime. Social interaction in real life is essential for our wellbeing. Whether it’s a lunchtime coffee or a dinner after work, or even a phone call with a friend, try to carve out time for the people you care about.
Look At Your Diet
Diet has a significant influence on both our physical and mental health. Try to eat regular meals and not just snacks throughout the day. Eating healthier food will boost your energy and motivation too.
If you’re struggling to find the motivation to eat healthily, why not ask a friend or colleague to be an accountability buddy? You can share ideas for healthy meals and keep each other in check.
Staying hydrated throughout the day is also important to keep you focused and motivated. Keep a jug or bottle of water on your desk to keep topping up your hydration levels.
Drinking too much alcohol can also be a problem when you spend a lot of time at home. Having a drink can seem like an easy way to destress after a long day. Try alternative destress methods like doing some exercise or talking to a friend.
Make Your Work Space Motivating
Deteriorating mental health can also cause a lack of motivation to get things done. Spending a lot of time in one space can be a cause of low motivation.
When you feel a lack of motivation, try mixing up the space where you work. Maybe that’s another place in your home, or perhaps you want to get out of the house and work from a cafe or coworking space.
Another way to boost motivation is to keep your workplace in your home conducive to working. Create a comfortable desk, chair set up with a screen that’s at eye level. Plants in your work area are also a great way to reduce stress.
Ask For Help: Rehab Centers in San Diego
Now you have some tools to make your working from home lifestyle less stressful and a little more manageable.
If you still feel isolated, stressed, and unable to manage day-to-day life, it’s always a good idea to talk to someone.
If you are in California, visit one of our rehab centers in San Diego. We will be able to give you the expert help and advice you need. Take a look at our programs here.