Many of us have this idealistic view of what working from home is like, and a lot of people believe it would be the perfect situation and that it could eliminate the stress associated with work, such as the commute and office politics etc. However, it’s not without its drawbacks, and for many it can come at a cost to their mental health as they can experience feelings of isolation and disconnection. In part 2 of our 3-part blog series, we look at some key areas in helping you look after your mental health while working from home.
1. Stay social (where possible)
Working from home has many advantages but it can also be a lonely experience at times. . Losing that social element of work (having a quick chat over a cup of tea or meeting with colleagues at lunchtime) can be a tough adjustment and doesn’t necessarily suit everyone.
Where possible it’s wise to try to inject some sociability into your day so as to help avoid isolation. Using something like Skype or Zoom for work calls can help you feel more–connected and part of a wider team.
When you are going in and out to an office every day you may walk some of the way or you might even pop into a gym or an exercise class on your way home, and so exercise can be easily incorporated into your routine. When working from home it can be hard to find the motivation to get moving and it might be easier to decide to work late given that you’re already at home! Exercise is one of the best things we can do to protect our mental health, with frequent exercise releasing endorphins, which are basically the hormones that make us happy.
Don’t have a home gym? Don’t worry. There are plenty of online websites and YouTube channels that offer free home workout advice to help get you off the couch or away from your desk and into your gym gear.
3. Take your break
Without the routine of going for lunch with your colleagues at 1pm every day, or having your manager there to tell you to go take a break, it can be easy to forget to have lunch or to get distracted with work and decide to skip it.
But your break is there for a reason. Plus, stepping away from a task for even 30-40 minutes and letting your brain rest can make you more productive when you return to it.
You could even use part of your break to fit in some of that exercise we mentioned above – killing two birds and all that!
4. Separate your work from your home life
While it may be tempting to work from your bedroom (maybe even under your comfy duvet…) it is vital that you separate your work from your home life. Separating the two allows you to switch off when you leave your work space and enter your relaxation space.
If you have a home office set up, that’s great! But if not, there are plenty of other options. Just make sure that when you go to rest in the evening that you’re not in the same space that you were frantically sending emails in an hour previous!
5. Reward yourself
When you don’t work in an office environment with people encouraging you and telling you you’re doing a great job, you can get a bit disillusioned at times.
Don’t forget to stop and celebrate your wins (even if they’re small). Share your successes with colleagues when you meet up or celebrate with your friends or family. Doing so will make you feel great mentally and will allow you to reflect on everything you have achieved.
Marking these milestones can provide motivation to continue and will push you to do better as you go on!
This is part 2 of our 3 part series. Read part 1 now and keep an eye on our social media for part 3!