June 2, 2021
3 Tips for Maintaining Mental Health While Working from Home
3 Minute Read
Filed under: Work at Home Hacks
The COVID-19 pandemic led to a huge increase in people working from home. As the pandemic wanes, it’s important to keep our sights on what we have all learned about mental health issues and their solutions for remote workers. Even outside of a situation like a pandemic, remote work can be isolating and present concerns about work-life balance.
One study showed just how important mental health is when working from home. The survey of 1000 Americans revealed 80 percent of them would consider quitting their current job for a role promoting better mental health. Perhaps even more informative, they explained their biggest mental health concerns, including shutting off in the evening, and keeping up with sleep.
For employers, regular communication, opportunities to connect, and an understanding of employee boundaries is key. For those performing work from home, these tips for maintaining mental health while working from home should help. With this advice, we hope you can make the most of the freedom and flexibility of remote work, and stay happy and healthy throughout.
Set Up a Work-From-Home Schedule
Even if your remote work is flexible, know when you’re starting your workday and when it ends. When people work in-office, they typically have a routine that clearly sets out when and where work starts, and when and where it stops. That can get lost when working from home. Remote workers often find that their hours are soon longer than intended and work can spill into home life.
Plan your days and weeks to know exactly when you’re on the clock and when the day is done. Be sure to build in breaks.
Use a separate workspace if possible so you can physically move to and from the work environment. This keeps your work time separate from your home time and avoids long hours creeping up because you can work at “any” time.
A routine also helps you know when you will have time for family, friends, and hobbies. Scheduling sets expectations and boundaries. With these in place, you don’t need to feel bad about shutting your work devices down when the day is done.
Ensure Balance with Rewards Outside of Work
If all you do is work at home and you do not make any time for fun, it’s easy to start seeing your home as an office extension. That quickly leads to a very unbalanced life, which can lead to mental health struggles. When the workday is through and the door closes on your job, it helps to have plans for rewarding things to do outside work.
This isn’t about jam-packing your days so you no longer have free time. Instead, it’s about ensuring the critical balance that keeps both home and work from getting too heavy. Rewarding activities can be as simple as cooking a nice meal, exercising, or spending time with people you love.
Focus on Self-Care
Self-care is at the core of all of these tips for maintaining mental health while working from home. Finding balance, ensuring a routine, and taking breaks are all to do with taking care of yourself. It is important because it’s easy to lose sight of where work stops and home starts when you aren’t physically visiting an external work location.
Self-care requires more conscious effort when working from home, especially when the switch is new. You may have to stop and think about whether you have done what your body and mind need. One suggestion is to use the HALT tool. If you aren’t feeling the best, consider if you’re hungry, angry, lonely, or tired.
Be sure that you are eating well and frequently enough to stave off hunger. Remember to hydrate regularly, too. Connect with people outside of work to handle feelings of loneliness, and try to get enough sleep. Some researchers suggest avoiding screens after a certain point in the day, or using blue light blockers to promote better sleep.
If you feel frustrated or angry about something related to working from home or your home-life balance, you’re not alone. This doesn’t mean that you should put up with it. It’s worth looking at why you are having an issue. Digging into the underlying cause of anger is important, because when you identify the problem accurately, it will be easier to make the right changes or ask for help.