Today’s new normal gave us the opportunity to work in the comfort of our homes, but how are you doing with this sudden change?
Do you notice any changes with your overall health? Do you still feel stressed or restless despite not having to go to work? Any problems with isolation even though you keep in contact with your team? Though convenient, working from home can challenge your mental health as well. Your once beautiful, optimistic, and productive employees can become tired, unmotivated, irritable gremlins. So before you push yourself to the limit, make sure to look out for the signs of decline in your mental health so you know what to do next.
Here are the most common issues on mental health that digital nomads and remote workers face:
Loneliness and Isolation
During these times, you can spend most days not talking to anyone since you don’t have the need to interact with people from the outside. And even if you can bypass distracting coworkers, the social aspect of chatting and venting about work and life in general is still lacking when you’re working remotely – this kind of companionship doesn’t work the same way on any social media platform.
Being disconnected from the rest of the world, or even from your coworkers, can make you feel lonely and isolated.
Anxiety, Pressure, and Stress
You can still feel the pressure, stress, and anxiety from work even though you’re working from home.
There is a risk of burning out when you tend to squeeze in all the work you have whenever you can or with the amount of time you are given. You may feel pressure or the need to work even when you’re already done as boundary between work and home life tends to blur when you work in the same place you sleep.
Wearing multiple hats can also wear you out – working from home also makes you work as IT troubleshooting your internet connection or the error on your laptop, or your invoicing skills when bills come in. Working from home requires time management and switching between these tasks tend to become tiring.
Career milestones contribute a lot in motivating your employees to work, like being given a new nameplate, reorganizing the office desk, or having lunch out with the team. Without this feeling of being able to connect with other people, your employees may tend to feel stuck or as if they are not achieving just as much as the others.
The stress, anxiety, and loneliness when working from home may lead to depression, or make it worse if someone already has it.
Learn more on depression here: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/depression/symptoms-causes/syc-20356007
But despite all of these, you can still work on your mental health and take care of yourself better. Here are some ways to help you take care of your mental health while working from home:
Acknowledge the Impact
Preparation is also needed as the transition may be difficult and can catch you off guard. Working from home can take a lot of effort and time management considering the many distractions you have at home that is not usually at work.
Allow yourself to adjust to the new normal – you can figure out a schedule that works best for you, or a routine that can help you become more effective. The most important thing is to be patient, not just with yourself but with the situation as well.
Know What Routine Best Works for You
Stick to the schedule you created – during these changing times, there are some things that are beyond our control. Having something you’re familiar with can give you a sense of comfort with regards to predictability.
Remember also not to overwork yourself and to include breaks in between. Be very flexible as you also have other matters you need to attend to.
Don’t Overload Your Information Intake
Working from home allows you to easily check the latest news both on social media and on the television, but me mindful that the constant intake of news can elevate your stress and anxiety. It is important to stay informed, but you do not have to take in every little information. If there is a need for you to constantly know of the latest news, make sure you have intervals.
Know What You Need
For most people who find comfort in the day-to-day social interaction in the office, working from home might bring unexpected drawbacks. Extroverted people usually get their drive by being around other people, but the sudden change might make them lose that personally connection.
There are also people who find comfort in being alone and can work well alone but working remotely became difficult since they are working and living with someone that is not normally in their work environment.
Whenever you feel isolated or lonely, it would be best to turn to group chats or video calls to make you feel more connected with people. Frequent phone calls can also help you stay afloat despite the quarantine. If you are more comfortable working alone or being in a quiet area to recharge, make sure you discuss this with the people living with you for them to know your schedule and preferences.
Focus Only on What’s Important
Laura Hamill, PhD, chief people officer at Limeade, says that we all must acknowledge that these are not normal times. Doing business as if nothing is different might not be the best way to go as there are adjustments needed. Working with your team to identify the areas that need more focus on or which tasks and topics need to be prioritized is the best way to go.
“Let’s just focus on what’s the most essential and give a lot of flexibility to our employees around those things. If you’re an employee, think about pushing back on some requests that aren’t as essential, both at work and at home,” Hamill says.
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Moran, G. (2020, March 20). How to maintain your mental health while working from home. Fast Company. https://www.fastcompany.com/90479504/how-to-maintain-your-mental-health-while-working-from-home
We Work Remotely. (2019, November 18). How To Keep Your Mental Health in Check When You Work From Home. https://weworkremotely.com/how-to-keep-your-mental-health-in-check-when-you-work-from-home