Your alarm beeps. It’s 8 a.m., and it’s time for work. But instead of painstakingly commuting through rows of unending traffic, you simply make the trek to your living room to get your day started. Working remotely has become increasingly popular over the last few years, with42% of the U.S. labor force working from home full-time.
Working from home has its perks, but there’s also an unsuspecting downside that remains: a lingering sense of isolation.
Have you noticed achange in your mental health since you began working from home? Remote work can take a toll on anyone. Those struggling with their mental health may feel increased isolation and confinement, which can potentially worsen symptoms.
Before you tell yourself working from home isn’t your thing, try these easy tips to boost your mood and improve health.
Just because you’re working from home doesn’t mean you should get too comfortable and neglect your health. Getting complacent with your meals at home can be easy to do. It’s no secret how easy it can be to get sucked into work and forget to eat and drink water. You’re given a lunch break in the office, so why not prioritize the same luxury at home?
If working from home has you skipping workouts and snacking incessantly on unhealthy foods, you may start to feel lethargic and sad. Maintaining a balanced diet and avoiding sugary and processed foods can help prevent inflammation andincrease cognitive function.
In between getting work done, fill up on high-protein foods, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. And whenever possible, get some vitamin D by heading outside to stretch your legs during a walk or run.
Spending time in nature and exposing yourself to greenery during a quick walk can help treat anxiety, stress, and depression. Studies showoutdoor walks may also help lower blood pressure and stress hormones.
Many people spend eight hours a day, if not more, sitting at a desk as part of a typical work day, especially while working from home. But sitting at a desk or on a couch day after day can cause strain on your body, particularly your neck, back, and hands.
Lower-back pain is common among office workers and is the most common cause of work-related disability in people under 45. Keep in mind that a poor sitting posture can increase thestress placed on your body, so don’t slouch and choose a chair that supports your spinal curves.
It’s important to be gentle with yourself as you adjust to working from home. Many remote workers have to deal with an onslaught of novel issues brought on by a brand new style of working.
Instead of thinking about all the things you didn’t get around to accomplishing after a busy day, turn your focus to the many things you did conquer.
If writing things down helps you clear your mind, try mapping out your next life plans to help declutter your mind. Writing down a list of measurable and attainable goals can help you visualize what you want to achieve next.
A major part of warding off the blues while working from home is having a comfortable and aesthetically pleasing workspace. Working remotely means you’ll be inside the majority of your day, so be sure to beautify your workspace if you have the resources.
One of the most important things you can do is set up a home office that gives you a sense of separation between where you work and where you recharge your mental batteries and relax. Whatever you do, avoid working from your bedroom. Creating a distinct difference between where you work and rest will help maintain your mental sanity and build a strong boundary between work and home life.
Ramp up your remote workspace by sitting by the window or working outside on a patio or balcony. There is a connection between natural light and employee well-being. In fact,73% of employees agree the longer they use technology devices like computers and mobile devices, the more they crave a visual break such as taking a walk through nature.
Research shows that working in anarea with natural lighting can decrease eye strain by 51%, minimize headaches by 63%, and reduce drowsiness by 56%, helping prevent anxiety.
Simply touching soil or smelling a plant can be amood booster, so try decorating your workspace with plants. The best plants to keep indoors are those that thrive in low-light and need minimal water. For many, small indoor plants are an economical and helpful way to reducestress-related conditions. Here’s a list of plants that can spice up your work spot and ease your stress levels:
While sprucing up your workspace, consider incorporating an area in your home for meditation. Meditation can give you a sense of balance and calm, which can promote inner peace and help boost overall feelings of well-being. And the good news is meditation doesn’t have to take long. Try starting a daily routine of guided meditation for as little as three minutes each day. Don’t know where to start? Check outYouTube for a variety of free guided meditations.
An overly cluttered workspace can lead to analogous mental clutter. And since the spring season is here, what better way to jumpstart the season than with aspring cleaning session? Maintaining a relaxing and clutter-free home can positively affect your daily mood, keep your immune system healthy, and help you focus better.
Need to revamp your remote work area? Try these quick and easy suggestions:
You’re not alone. There is an abundance of resources to help you cope with work-from-home stressors. Never be afraid to reach out for help if you start to feel overwhelmed. Here is a list of free mental health resources:
If you need immediate assistance, call theSAMHSA National Helpline (1-800-662-4357), which is available 24 hours a day to refer to a mental health professional. You can also reach the Crisis Text Line by texting “HOME” to 741741.
Even when you’re working from home, stay connected with your family and friends using FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout, and other video-based options. Sometimes a phone call with a loved one is all you need to lift your spirits.
If you’re starting to feel stir-crazy as a remote worker, that’s normal. Working from home has its challenges such as higher stress levels and a sense of isolation, but it has its perks too.Remote workers report positive feelings due to reduced commuting time, more autonomy and flexibility, better overall work-life balance, and higher productivity.
Staying balanced by prioritizing your health, decluttering your workspace, and seeking out virtual mental health assistance can help you keep your spirits high while working from home.
Laura Jazmin Tolliver - Contributing Writer