Thursday, December 7, 2023

Working from home wellbeing tips: Protecting mental health

In the recent past, a new way of working emerged that infiltrated the lives of individuals across the globe. 

Remote work, a concept that quickly rose to prominence, offered a promise of greater flexibility and convenience. With each passing day, more people found themselves part of this digital revolution, finding solace in the freedom it allowed.

Yet, within the cosy embrace of home offices and the allure of flexible schedules, a quiet transformation was taking place. As the world adapted to this new work dynamic, remote workers faced unique challenges hidden beneath the surface. 

The lines between their professional and private lives blurred, and a sense of balance became elusive. Implementing simple wellness tips is essential to ensure that remote workers maintain a healthy work-life balance and safeguard their mental health. 

In this article, we’ll explore practical advice on working from home while prioritising mental wellness, physical health, and job fulfillment.

Establishing a consistent routine

Maintaining a routine is crucial for mental health and work-life balance when working from home. 
 
Without the clear boundaries of a traditional office, it’s easy for remote work to spill over into private life, leading to increased stress and burnout.
 
Start your day with a consistent morning routine, which can set a positive tone for the rest of the day. Your daily routine should be getting dressed and engaging in activities that prepare your mind for work.
 
The secret to success in this domain lies in crafting a morning ritual. Picture this: the sun peeks through your curtain, and you awaken at the same hour each morning, a reliable schedule etched into your daily existence. 
 
You don your professional attire, not because you have to, but because it helps you mentally transition into work mode. Your morning habit becomes a ritual, a sequence of activities that awaken and prepare your mind for the day’s challenges. 
 
Whether you start your day with a cup of fragrant coffee, stretch lightly, or meditate, these small acts of self-care build your day on a solid foundation.

Creating a dedicated workspace when working from home

You can mentally switch between your professional and personal lives more smoothly if you have your own workspace. 
 
Choose a quiet and comfortable area to set up your home office. A standing desk can also be beneficial for physical health as it allows you to alternate between sitting and standing during the workday, which reduces the strain on your body.
 
In the world of remote work, the concept of a dedicated workspace stands as a pillar of utmost importance. This is not merely a physical location but a symbolic boundary that partitions your professional life from your personal one. 
 
It’s the demarcation between the duties of the day and the comforts of home—a place where your focus can be honed and your tasks can be efficiently tackled.
 
Imagine a mother who works remotely. 
 
She decided to set up her home office in a quiet corner of her living room, away from the hustle and bustle of home life. She carefully arranged her desk, chair, and a standing desk converter that allowed her to switch between sitting and standing at will. 
 
This strategic choice had a profound impact on her mental and physical well-being. The clear separation between her workspace and her family’s domain enabled her to mentally shift gears when she stepped into her office. 
 
It was a conscious signal to her brain that work was commencing that helped her dive into her tasks with focus and vigor. Further, this not only improved her posture but also relieved the strain on her back and shoulders, reducing the discomfort that prolonged sitting can cause.

Structuring your day

When working remotely, it’s easy to fall into the trap of too much screen time and not taking enough breaks. 

Schedule a coffee break and a mindful lunch break into your work-from-home routine. Use this time to step away from your workspace, stretch, and clear your mind.

You’ll return to work feeling more refreshed and focused.

In the tapestry of remote work, the art of structuring your day emerges as a crucial thread, weaving together productivity and personal well-being. The freedom that working from home affords can be a double-edged sword, tempting individuals to overcommit and neglect the essential pauses that reinvigorate the mind and body.

For example, instead of struggling against the pitfalls of an unstructured day, a remote worker can schedule regular breaks and a dedicated lunch break. These intentional pauses aren’t just moments to scroll through social media or answer emails; they are carefully curated interludes designed to disconnect from work.

Prioritizing mental wellness

Remote workers, particularly those who experience isolation and blurred boundaries between home and work, face a particularly high mental health risk. Here are some wellness tips for working on your mental wellness.

Excessive screen time can contribute to eye strain, fatigue, and mental exhaustion. Schedule regular breaks away from your computer to protect your mental health.

Isolation is a common issue for remote workers. Make an effort to stay in touch with your co-workers through video calls, chats, and virtual meetings. It not only fosters collaboration but also combats feelings of loneliness.

If your mental health is deteriorating, don’t be afraid to seek professional assistance. Counselling or therapy can help manage the feelings of anxiety and stress that many employees encounter.

Employee wellness programs often provide access to therapy or counselling services, acting as a lifeline for those facing the challenges of remote work. Seeking professional help doesn’t signify weakness; rather, it demonstrates a profound commitment to one’s mental health and a willingness to embark on a journey of self-discovery and healing.

Balancing work and life

Finding the right work-life balance is essential for mental health. It’s easy for personal and work life to blur when working from home, so setting boundaries is crucial.

Set clear working hours and convey them to your family members. Be bold and tell them when you’ll be available.

At the end of your workday, shut down your computer and step away from your workspace. It’s essential to mentally separate from work to enjoy your personal life fully.

Don’t work through your lunch break. Enjoy a meal, go for a walk, or do something unrelated to work during this time.

Staying physically healthy

Physical health and mental health are closely interconnected. Maintaining physical health while working from home is likely to improve your overall fitness.

Incorporate physical activity into your daily routine. Exercise boosts your mood and energy levels, whether you do it in the morning, midday, or at night.

Make time to step outside and get some air. A brief walk or spending time in your garden can be refreshing and invigorating.

Stay healthy by not succumbing to the temptation of snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the day.

Instead, opt for a balanced diet and stay hydrated to support your physical health, and you may find that maintaining these habits contributes not just to overall well-being but also helps some individuals lose weight over time.

Remote work job satisfaction

Career contentment plays a significant role in your overall well-being. While working from home, it is critical to discover ways to love your work and stay motivated.

Define clear goals for your work and celebrate your achievements. Everyone needs something to work towards and accomplishing them will drastically improve job satisfaction.

Organizational skills have always been sought after. When tasks are in order, it can reduce your stress and boost your job satisfaction by having it all under control.

Don’t leave it down to mental notetaking, and use a project management tool for optimal efficiency.

Whether it’s reading a book, listening to music, or enjoying a hobby, taking time for yourself is essential for your well-being.

This can be done during your lunch break or before and after work. Self-care is underrated and most people only understand its value after incorporating it in their routine for a few weeks.

As we bid farewell to the pixels on our screens and close the digital door on another day of working from home, remember this: the magic lies in the daily habits we craft. 

It’s not about grand gestures but the small, intentional choices we make—like starting your day with a smile, taking that one time for a refreshing break, and creating a separate workspace that feels just right. 

When we cultivate these tips for working from home, they become the secret sauce that keeps us energetic and motivated. Take that one time to pat yourself on the back for a job well done, relish the joy of a clutter-free desk, and savor the simple pleasures of a break. 

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Arwa Itarsiwala

Arwa Itarsiwala

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