How to Stay Mentally Healthy While Working Remotely?
If you are working remotely yet battling isolation, feeling more stressed and unhappy with your situation, this article’s for you.
Flexibility to work from your place of comfort, enhanced savings, better work-life balance, commute-free life, and more is what excites many about working remotely. While it has its advantages, the virtual work model is also accompanied by challenges that can hinder your progress, and many virtual employees end up overworking and as a result hurt their health.
Working remotely can present unique challenges to maintaining good mental health.
Remote work does require some adjustment, especially if you have been working in an office setting all this while. However, you can still adapt as long as you maintain strong human connections and remember to take adequate rest, among other things.
Here are some common challenges encountered along with their solutions to ensure your way towards a successful and mentally-balanced remote career.
Psychological Effects of Working from Home
Loneliness and Isolation
Remote work can be very isolating, and can result in some mental health challenges such as depression or anxiety if not taken care of. It’s common to experience a lack of social interaction, especially due to the prolonged hours of remote work. Even if you are someone who prefers to work alone, the absence of person-to-person contact might end up affecting your productivity and make you feel disconnected over time. You could spend days not talking to anyone when you don’t have to go anywhere to work.
Work from home’ depression can happen when you feel stuck. Without career milestones like a new nameplate on your desk or a fancy corner office, you may not feel as if you’re achieving as much as your peers.
Anxiety, Stress, and Burn Out
Pressures from work to meet performance standards, routine and tedious tasks with unmanageable workloads, in already isolating circumstances, have left employees feeling highly anxious and stressed.
According to a survey conducted by FlexJobs, 75% of people have experienced burnout while working remotely.
Remote work comes with plenty of obstacles, so it’s important to be prepared for them all. Here are some tips for dealing with remote work challenges.
Tips for maintaining a healthy mindset while working remotely:
Set-Up a Dedicated Workspace- and keep it clean!
Keep a dedicated workspace that is separate from your living area to help create a mental distinction between work and personal life as well as to prevent burnout. Make sure to keep it clean and organized, avoiding to have your documents pile up because that’s where most stress comes from.
Stick to a routine
Define a clear schedule for yourself: working from home is no excuse to have open-ended working hours. Try to maintain a consistent routine and schedule for work, including regular breaks and meal times. This can help create a sense of structure and stability, which can reduce stress and anxiety. Which brings us to our next point.
Take a break and get off your chair to get your heart pumping. Take a walk, do some yoga or any other exercise that improves your physical health. By doing so, you will knock out your depression and anxiety in no time. You can also try the wonder of nature: organize a group hike to add a social layer to your outdoor time.
Studies have shown how being sedentary for six or more hours a day can increase the risk of various musculoskeletal and cardiovascular diseases, as well as some types of cancer.
Make Time for your Favorite People
Stay connected: Carve out time each week to spend with your core group of friends and family members who lift you up (not bring you down). This can help prevent feelings of isolation and maintain a sense of community. I always say ‘connection is an antidote for depression’.
For my clients who are virtual professionals, I like to stress on this essential component: self-care and taking care of one’ self. Mindfulness is the practice of paying attention to the here and now. Focusing on the present can reduce negative thoughts and allow you to become objective in the face of stressful situations. When you make do so regularly, mindfulness can be an incredibly powerful tool for relieving stress and anxieties.
Make Working Remotely Good for Your Mental Health
Overall, remote work can be challenging, but with the right strategies and support, it can be a successful and fulfilling way to work.
The perfect work/life balance is within your reach. If you are struggling to stay mentally healthy while working remotely and need to seek help from a professional, you can do so and contact Dr. Carla to set a time to talk and learn helpful behavior modification tools that can become powerful stressbusters.