It’s been almost about a year since the outbreak of Coronavirus. With our lives looking very different than before, we have all had to adjust and, quite frankly, change is hard. Typically, we can endure a change or something unpleasant for a short period of time, but as the pandemic stretches on, the new remote work-life has likely begun to feel like a scene from Groundhog Day.
We’ve seen how mental health has been impacted over this time period. Some common feelings you might be experiencing are:
– Being unable to switch off from work
– Feelings lonely or disconnected either professionally or socially
– Having trouble sleeping
– Feeling uncertain about your progress and performance
– Having difficulty staying motivated
– Having trouble prioritizing your work
Here are 6 tips to help you review your work-from-home setup to protect your mental health.
1. Set up a routine for your workday with clear boundaries between work time and home time.
Similar to when you were going into the office, have an established start time, finish time, and scheduled breaks throughout the day. This will aid in minimizing the overflow of work into your off or family time. Getting dressed for the day and changing after work will also help with creating cues that enable your brain to know what to expect.
2. Avoid your bedroom at all costs! Create a dedicated workspace.
To ensure that you are alert and awake – avoid working in your bedroom, if possible, as it can interfere with sleep.
3. Stay connected with co-workers through regular contact
The chatter around the water-cooler has come to halt when working from home, so be proactive in maintaining positive relationships. Staying connected helps to reduce stress levels, aid in feeling less isolated, and increases productivity.
4. Opt for an evening digital detox.
A true switching off your work devices or technology altogether assists with creating a separate work and home life. It’s too easy to check your email when you keep surfing the web at night, so try to un-plug in the evenings. Try a paint-by-numbers, puzzle, or grab the book you’ve been wanting to read.
5. Get outside daily.
Stepping outside for a walk, to grab the mail, or standing in the sunshine for a few minutes can boost your mood. If you are able to exercise you are not only improving your physical health but making a positive impact on your mental health.
6. Remember the added benefits.
Although working from home does have some challenges, there are silver linings! We’ve seen an improvement in productivity, lower time and cost spent commuting (less fighting Atlanta traffic), and avoidance of challenging colleagues. You may even have a little more time to spend with your partner or family!
If you need more help or strategies, consider asking for help from an employee assistance provider or seek help from a professional. Meeting for an hour with a therapist can not only aid in creating additional structure in your week, but it also provides social support and is a safe place to run through the challenges of life.