April 30, 2020
How to protect your mental health while working from home
In the midst of this global pandemic, many employees are relegated to working from their homes to help mitigate the spread of the infection. Although this is an ideal situation for many people, it can be difficult for others. For those with an extroverted, outgoing personality, feelings of isolation can quickly begin to creep in.
These feelings of isolation can take a toll on one’s mental health. Not everyone is wired to work at home without other co-workers to communicate with in person. If you are in this position while currently working from home, it is vital that you make every effort possible to retain good mental health. The following are some things you may want to try to beat those feelings of isolation.
Admit your struggle
One of the first things you should do to combat poor mental health is to recognize that you are struggling. Working from your home without daily conversations with co-workers can be more challenging than you may have realized. It is acceptable to struggle in this way. Some personalities thrive on working independently, while others deteriorate. If you fall into the latter category, you have to accept the fact that you are having difficulty in this situation.
Once you know you are having difficulties, you can give yourself the freedom to be as patient as you can with yourself. Give yourself time to adjust to the current working environment so you can be effective at your job. If you have a perfectionist personality, give yourself permission to not be perfect. Instead, take steps to get back into control of your mental health. Figure out a schedule that works for you, develop some new habits to help you cope, and recognize that you do not have to be perfect.
Know what you need
For those who crave social interaction in the workplace, it is crucial to make a plan that fits in with what you need to remain mentally stable. When you are driven by working around others, the sudden jolt into work isolation can be frustrating. For that reason, you need to figure out what you need in order to be in a position that is as close to what you are used to as possible.
Video conferences, group chats, and phone calls are great ways to reconnect with your co-workers. At the start of the workweek, plan these connection activities with your co-workers so everyone can schedule accordingly.
Make adjustments to your work priorities
This is an unprecedented time, so it is conceivable that business will not be as usual. For that reason, adjustments may be necessary when it comes to your work priorities. Communicate with your team to determine which areas of your job are the most essential right now. This will help you narrow your focus day to day. When you are working from home, you have added distractions that may not exist at your office. Children who need your attention, pets who need to be cared for, and meals that need to be made are only going to add to the stress you are already feeling.
To help decrease your stress, focus on what is most important. Push back projects that are not essential to your main professional focus. With that, allow flexibility for those prioritized projects. Give yourself and your team enough lead time to work on one project at a time to decrease the likelihood of added stress. This decrease in stress will ultimately have a positive impact on your mental health and feelings of isolation.
Prioritize good mental health practices
If you have never been in the habit of taking care of your mental health, this is a great time to start. Doing some mental self-care is essential during this high time of stress and isolation. Drink more water, get some fresh air on your patio or in your backyard, do some simple stretches, and perform deep breathing exercises. All of these practices will help you feel better and get you through this difficult time.
Although working from home does have advantages, it is not for everyone. Major disruption to your routine can have a negative impact on your mental health. If you continue to struggle or are prone to depression or anxiety, it may benefit you to contact your primary care physician for some additional mental health options.