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A lot of people have been working from home recently due to the coronavirus pandemic. This has brought numerous changes to our daily lives. In addition, it has impacted many people’s overall mental health and wellbeing. For some, the fear, financial stress, and other aspects related to the pandemic have caused symptoms associated with PTSD. If you are afraid that you may have PTSD caused by the pandemic or something else, you should check out this article about cognitive processing therapy.
Many people who began to work from home realized that it is not all fun and games. Furthermore, it can cause strain on your mental health. Sure, you do not have to commute to work, but there are other things that may increase stress and anxiety levels. Not only that, but some people who did not adequately adjust to remote working have found that their energy levels and productivity have been negatively affected.
Let’s look at the mental health effects of working from home and what you can do about them.
Mental Health Effects of Remote Working
There are some major effects on mental health when working from home. Stress levels, social interaction, time management, and many other things are altered when you work from home as opposed to an office or other setting. However, the effects are complicated and vary for different individuals as well.Many people who began to work from home realized that it is not all fun and games. Furthermore, it can cause strain on your mental health. Sure, you do not have to commute to work, but there are other things that may increase stress and anxiety levels.Click To Tweet
Stress levels may be dramatically affected when you switch to remote work. One study found that the flexibility and ability to complete work on your own time with no commute could reduce stress levels. However, for other people, the opposite seems to be true.
A study from 2017 found that more people who worked from home reported high-stress levels when compared with their peers who worked in an office setting. It is not fully understood why this may be, but the structure of regular work hours and the social interaction in the office may be factors.
Also, the fact that our personal and work areas are in the same location may cause problems for some people. This can cause us to never completely disconnect from work which can cause strain and lead to burnout.
Loneliness and Depression
If you work from home and do not have meetings, then you could potentially go days without talking with anybody. Sometimes small talk around the office seems boring or even frustrating, but social interaction can be good for our overall well-being. In addition, these face-to-face interactions in the office provide something for our mental health that email does not.
When we do not interact with others, we may begin to feel isolated or lonely. Loneliness is associated with higher instances of mental health issues including depression and anxiety.
The effects of working from home may cause symptoms related to depression in some people. This can cause irritability, loss of interest in activities, agitation, sadness, and more.
Tips for Improved Mental Health with Remote Work
Taking care of your mental health while you work from home is essential to your productivity and wellbeing. There are some things you can do to help improve your mental health on a daily basis.
Have a Routine
First, it is important that you have a routine and schedule in place. When we are working from home, there may be less restriction on working at certain times during the day. For many, this flexibility is one of the best things about working from home, but it is also good for your mental health to have some structure.
When we organize our days, then we know what to expect during each day. This can help us get ready to be productive and to relax when the work is done. Having a set routine will also help us from getting too distracted during the day which can lead to more work later.
Make sure that you make time for breaks as well. Time away from the computer screen can provide important rest for the brain and the body. This can help us destress and prepare us for work when we return. Make sure that you have time for your hobbies and anything that makes you happy. This will be good for mental health and productivity in the long run.
It may also be beneficial to make a set distinction between your personal space and your workspace. You can do this by designating a room, corner, or area that will be used solely for work. Then, when you are not working you will not be as distracted or worried about work that needs to be done the next day.
It may also be good to keep a to-do list of the tasks that you need to complete each day or week. This can help you prioritize things that you need to complete. It also provides a sense of accomplishment for each task that you finish. Then, you can manage your time around the things that you have to complete by a certain time and leave extra time for yourself.
Exercise is essential for mental health. It is important that you get regular exercise. This may mean that you go for a walk or run, or it could just be a little morning yoga 4 days a week. Whatever type of exercise that you enjoy, make time for it and your body and mind will thank you. Just 20 to 30 minutes of exercise each day may help to lower our levels of stress and anxiety.
When we work from home, we do not need to go outside as often. However, we should strive to spend time in nature because it is beneficial for our mental health. Just taking a morning stroll outside may help to lower levels of cortisol and our blood pressure. Trees and other vegetation can help to promote positive thinking and help to reduce worry.
Working from home can limit our social interaction. However, social interaction is crucial for good mental health. It is important that we venture out of the home and interact with other people regularly. This can help to fight off the feelings of isolation and loneliness that sometimes accompany remote work.
It is also important to make sure that you spend time with the people that you care about. Our friends and family are our support system and important for our mood and mental health. Relationships are important and you do not want to forego positive interactions just because you do not have to leave the home for work.
Mindfulness and Meditation
Mindfulness and meditation techniques can help us relax and destress. Not only that, but they are easy to do and do not require much time. In fact, you may be able to benefit from just 5 to 10 minutes of meditation a day. Meditation can help you stay calm and relaxed. It also provides the necessary time we need to destress.
Working from home can be beneficial to our lives and wellbeing in many ways. We may have more flexibility with our time and can avoid the stressful commute to work every day. However, remote work does come with some downsides to mental health. Working from home may limit our social interaction or blur the lines between and personal and work lives. Thankfully, there are some simple things that you can do to improve your mental health while working from home.
Try to put a solid routine into place and go out to interact with your friends, family, and coworkers. Also, make sure that you exercise regularly and eat a healthy diet. You may also want to promote quality sleep by turning off electronics an hour before bedtime. Finally, learn some mindfulness techniques that you can do throughout the workday.
If you are struggling with stress and anxiety on a daily basis, you should seek out the help of a mental health professional. Therapy can help you learn to manage your anxieties and improve your wellbeing.
Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com. With an interest and dedication to addressing stigmas associated with mental health, she continues to specifically target subjects related to anxiety and depression.