A year ago, the vast majority of us didn’t really think that Covid19 could affect our lives. Nevertheless, the virus has not only disrupted our lifestyles, but also the way we interact with others and how we work.
Work from home policies may have been perceived as gains in work-life balance. Less time to commute, more time to spend with family... does it sound familiar to you? However, working hours have turned to be longer than previously, and the activities that once helped us recharge batteries aren’t possible, or they had to take a different form. Travelling and having a social life are some of those activities that helped individuals coping with daily stress, anxiety and burden. And now they are almost completely gone.
Furthermore, compulsory home office together with a lockdown can aggravate individual’s mental health. Where do you turn to when you feel stressed or anxious?
Thus, our social life being dramatically reduced and days becoming a big online bubble, it isn’t a surprise that individuals start feeling isolated, discouraged and stressed. Have you observed a change in your mental health? Have you noticed a change in your mood since you started working from home?
According to various experts, there are three main ways that working from home is damaging our mental health:
Lack of physical connection and face to face interactions.
Blend of work and private life in the same space. Where do you draw the line between work and private life, if everything is happening in the same space?
Endless spiral of back-to-back virtual meetings.
Now, more than ever, it is essential to openly discuss with your family, friends and, as an employer also with your employees, the topic of mental health. Disruption and uncertainty lead to anxiety and stress, it is completely natural. And for this reason, both at individual and at a corporate level, mental health and wellbeing should be a priority.
“Work from home jobs can challenge your mental health. It can turn normally optimistic, productive worker bees into tired, unmotivated, irritable toads”.
WELL, irritable toad or not, let’s go through 5 different ways that you, as an individual, can protect your own mental health:
Create a routine and stick to the schedule: flexible schedule can be the best part of home office. But, it is how you organize those hours in your day that makes all the difference.
Schedule analog breaks: set aside time to escape all forms of digital screens. Engage on analog recreational activities and if possible, creative ones.
Schedule time for fun: focus on hobbies, self-care, and anything else that makes you happy for a few minutes every day. Find that activity that helps you boost your mood and disconnect from work.
Upgrade your home office: create a dedicated workspace. Ideal would be to have a space with a door you can close to mentally and physically separate work and home life.
Start saying “NO”: know your limitations, set boundaries based on your schedule and workload. You can only take as much work as you can complete in a day.
Home office does bring big challenges to your mental health. Now, more than ever, do not take your mental wellbeing for granted. Fight the urge to stay sedentary and schedule active time to get your heart pumping, meeting others or having analog breaks.
And schedule a weekly routine, where you can get fresh air at least once per day!