Our working lives have been changing for a while, but the emergence of coronavirus has led to a massive upheaval in the way we work. To stop the spread of the virus, many employees have been asked to work from home.
Although many people believed this switch from office work to ‘home’ work would be temporary, it now looks as though it will become the new normal for many. COVID-19 remains a massive threat in the United States, which has the highest level of coronavirus cases and deaths in the entire world.
However, although working from home has allowed many to continue earning money without the worry of catching the virus, it has been a significant change for many.
If you have been finding the shift to working from home tricky, here are some ways you can take care of your mental health while working from home.
Maintain a positive work/life balance
One of the most difficult things you may have had to adapt is your work/life balance when you are working from home. When you have your office in your home, it can be tempting to work longer hours and take fewer breaks. It can also be more difficult to get up and walk away from your office when you don’t leave the building. However, this can have a serious negative impact on your mental health.
When you start working from home, you should try and stick to a similar schedule that you would have had when you were working in your normal office. If you were used to working 9 to 5, those are the hours you should aim to work at home.
However, working from home can be a big change, and you shouldn’t stick to a rigid schedule if you find that it is not working for you. Instead, you should judge your productivity by your results. It has been suggested that 58% of people are more productive while they are working from home. If you have found that this is the case for you, you may be able to cut down the hours that you work and maintain an even better work/life balance.
Take proper breaks
When working from home, it is tempting to keep checking emails and notifications while you take breaks. However, you need to make sure that your brain properly switches off when you take breaks. When you take regular breaks, make sure that you don’t bring any work into your relaxing spaces, otherwise you will begin to associate these spaces with work, too.
If you don’t have to work weekends, make sure you fully switch off and only reply to important emails.
Eat a proper lunch
While eating snacks all day and being close to your fridge might sound like a dream, it does nothing to improve your productivity levels or your physical health. Much like you would in an office, make sure you take a full hour to eat a proper and nutritious meal. Not only will this give you a break, but the nutrition will allow you to stay energized and focused throughout the afternoon.
Exercise and get outdoors
Exercise is usually the first thing to get disrupted when there is a big upheaval in our usual schedule. However, exercise is one of the most important ways to stay mentally and physically well. This is because it has been proven to reduce stress levels, release endorphins, and keep you physically fit.
One easy way to fit in exercise while working from home is to do some early morning stretches or yoga, which can easily be fit into the time you would usually have spent on a commute.
Although it can be hard to exercise while gyms and fitness centers are closed as a result of the virus, it is not impossible. Lots of personal trainers have turned to live online workout sessions, or have begun to post workouts on youtube.
If you don’t have time to do a full workout, make sure that you take regular walks on your work breaks, as fresh air can do wonders for your physical and mental health.
Don’t forget to socialize
Now most of us are working from home (and can’t meet up without social distancing), it is very easy to stop socializing. This can make you feel incredibly isolated and lonely if you are not used to working from home.
If you are missing the regular, casual interaction that you would usually have with your colleagues, you can combat this by talking to your work colleagues throughout the day. For example, you could have a group call while you are all on a break or having lunch. Catch up with them about the work they are doing, how their families are, and what they are doing in their spare time. A little social interaction can go a long way when it comes to maintaining a positive work/life balance.
Don’t stress too much
When working from home, it can be easy to blame yourself if things don’t quite go according to plan. However, as with any new undertaking, you can’t be expected to get it all right on the first try. Try not to be too hard on yourself. This way of working is new for everyone, and it will take a while to get into the flow of things.
What to do if you are not working from home?
If you are working for a company that does not allow you to work from home, you may want to consider making a career change. Coronavirus infection rates are the highest they have ever been in the USA, and you must prioritize your safety. If you want to start working from home and changing jobs, make sure you use a CV template that stands out from the crowd.