We get it: working from home is now a part of the new normal, and it is here to stay. American employees who work out of their homes increased from 9 million to 13.4 million between 2005 and 2016.
Working from home is great: we can wear sweats, eat snacks in bed, and listen to our favorite tunes all day long if we want to—and working from home has been shown to offer benefits such as reduced stress levels and better overall life satisfaction.
The Other Side of Working from Home
However, working from home also comes with flaws that lead working professionals into a rather dangerous place: isolation. Working outside the office means working without constant opportunities for face-to-face conversation or impromptu collaboration, which leaves us with little room for human connection on days when we may need it most.
While remote working offers a new set of possibilities and freedoms, working alone can take a toll on our mental health. The last thing we want to happen is to collapse in a breakdown because of the mounting pressure, anxieties about the things around us, and more.
Always remember that your mental health matters more than ever. We might be very much worried about the COVID-19 pandemic, but we should also take care of our mental health more than ever.
Physical human interactions are already lessened in working from home setups. The social distancing rules caused by the pandemic can stress us, especially if we hang out with friends and colleagues after work.
It can be challenging for working professionals who work at their homes to maintain a proper mindset because they are used to working all day long without taking breaks. While we might think we're great under pressure and distractions (even though every working person knows how loud it gets at home), we need to make some changes.
We understand the struggles, and that is why we are here to help you out. Here are some ways to take care of our mental health while working from home.
Realign or Reformat Your Mindset
First, you must realign your mindset to the current situation. You are working from home this month, or for the rest of your life, so you must do your best to get used to it.
Working from home requires focusing on your goals and targets. Working in your bedroom also means working away from all distractions—be it friends who want to talk or noisy neighbors—so you must get rid of distractions too.
Where do you draw the line? Well, that's totally up to you. While some people can easily check messages every 15 minutes without any trouble, others cannot concentrate with their smartphones lying next to them.
According to a survey of working professionals, 61% felt more engaged working remotely, while only 4% found working outside the office distracting. This might be due to individual differences such as working style and preference for certain situations (or location). What matters most is working while feeling happy and motivated.
The best way to work at home is to work within your means while working on your targets. It's like: you can work from 8 AM to 2 PM daily, but you shouldn't complain if it takes longer than that (or even working until midnight, for example). If we make the rules, we must stick with them too.
Exercise Self-Care at All Times
It is important to focus on yourself for once, listen to what your heart and mind want to tell you, and take care of yourself more than ever.
Take a bath, relax, eat healthily, and exercise to ease stress. There's no harm working until dinner time or working an extra hour if you want to—as long as it doesn't affect your mental health negatively. Always remember that working from home is not the end of career growth, even though some people end up working like slaves with zero social life because they are too worried about working-related matters (like losing their jobs).
Working from home means working in your comfort zone; it does not mean working without breaks at all times (even though every working professional has already heard this broken record over and over again). People who work out of their homes must take care of themselves more than ever because working at home means working in a relaxed environment that can cause mental fatigue to set in without knowing it.
Working out of your comfort zone could lead to working while feeling ill at ease—and working while experiencing mental stress is not good for your health or productivity to take care of yourself. Learn to wind down by taking breaks every hour and doing something else when tired or bored (such as watching TV or eating). Make proper use of time and set boundaries, and follow the rules you have created for yourself so you won't feel guilty about working too much in the future.
As we all know, we need motivation and inspiration from ourselves to continue with what we are working on—or working while feeling down may lead to working nowhere, finding yourself working while unmotivated or burnt out. To prevent this from happening, find a way to stay inspired and motivate yourself without working too hard (such as writing your goals and dreams in a journal for inspiration).
Working from home means not working in a physical office with peers around you; however, working at home doesn't mean working alone or lacking socialization. You can still be part of the work community by making friends who are also working remotely (online), joining online communities to stay updated with what is new in their field(s) of work. Staying updated will help you grow professionally, too—when working at home.
Handle Burnouts Efficiently
Whether working remotely or in an office setup, burnouts are inevitable. Everyone gets burnout once in a while, and we must handle it with seriousness so that it won't spring forth into something we'll eventually regret in the end.
When experiencing burnouts, the best way to take care of yourself is by doing something else or taking a break after working for hours at a time. This will help manage stress while saving your energy up, so you'll be able to work harder when getting back on track with your goals.
People who are always stressed out are more likely to get sick due to lack of sleep and proper nutrition. Once this happens, accomplishing even the simplest things in life will prove difficult—which may lead you into thinking that taking up another job would be good. However, don't fall into the trap of wanting an office job just because you're feeling burned out!
Instead, learn to manage stress efficiently without distractions (even if it means not working from home). Allow yourself to take time for yourself and do something you enjoy, such as yoga or going out with friends, so you'll have a chance to take a break from work—no matter how much you love your job.
One great thing about working from home is that you can easily step out of your workstation to take a break without the prying eyes of your colleagues watching you get out of your cubicle to get that much-needed smoke. However, always communicate and never leave them hanging—especially when it comes to important tasks.
When done wrongly, working from home can take a toll on our mental health. To take proper care of ourselves, we should manage our time efficiently and set rules for ourselves that can help us stay on track. We should also seek inspiration from doing other things (such as watching TV) while taking breaks every hour or at least once a day.
Even though burning out is inevitable, it doesn't mean you shouldn't try to handle it when you experience one. Find a way to manage your stress by allowing yourself to take time off and do something you enjoy—no matter how much you love the job.
Working from home is sometimes tough; however, we should never give up on our goals and dreams because we want an office job. Just keep in mind that working from home is a privilege, and we should always take care of our mental health to achieve success in life.