Five Mental Health Tips for Remote Workers - Healthy Mind
Working from home is great - but it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. There’s an isolation that comes with remote work. Here are some mental health tips to cope.
In the US, 4.7 million people (3.4% pop.) now work remotely. Working from home is a dream that many commuters hold close to heart. Remember when you used to have to get public transport to work - or look around for a parking spot every morning?
Still, in a report published by Buffer 49% of the thousands of remote workers surveyed reported that their biggest struggle when working remotely was wellness upkeep. On top of that, 22% said they can’t unplug after working hours and 19% reported loneliness.
There are many obvious benefits of remote work. But then, there is a dark side to everything, and the feeling of isolation that comes with working remotely can lead to mental health problems like depression and social anxiety.
Mental health tips for remote workers
To stay on form and prevent mental health issues from arising when working remotely, you’ll need to take better care of yourself than you did before. This is a good thing, as it means that you’ll be encouraged to live a healthier lifestyle.
Still, it can take a fair bit of work - remember: discipline over motivation. Motivation is an emotional state, and like all emotional states, it comes and goes without your consent. Discipline, on the other hand, is something that you train yourself to do all the time.
Set boundaries with your fridge
All relationships need boundaries. If you’re new to working remotely, then you’ll have noticed the urge to decimate food like it’s going out of fashion. Whether you work at home, or in a cafe or coworking space, there is always food around. Set some boundaries - allow yourself some treats, but make limits.
Keep a routine
Routine is one of the most important factors in determining a person’s mental health. With no one to discipline you for oversleeping, keeping a routine is very important when working remotely. Make sure that you split your day up into phases, and don’t end each phase until enough work has been done. It’s important that your schedule does reward you as well - don’t do what most people do when they make a routine (tyrannize themselves which leads to self-loathing), instead, find a nice, healthy balance - and know when to switch off!
You should be eating at set times, working at set times, and going out for a nice walk at set times (and watching mindless YouTube videos at set times). If you allow your routine to slip, then you could find yourself in a very dark place and have your motivation decimated.
A pair of dumbells don’t cost much (around $20). Buy some and put them on the floor next to your desk if you work at home so you can do sets during five-minute breaks every half an hour. If you work outside of the home, then try to go for a walk at least. Exercise helps keep your brain refreshed and it spikes your mood. When you’re done, have a cold shower to stimulate serotonin production in the brain even more.
You should also make sure that you’re getting the right nutrition (especially if you’re not going outside much). Get discounts on a variety of vitamins and supplements here.
Get some plants
Working in an area that has lots of plants is a guaranteed way to improve your mood. Plants also refresh the air in the room, which means you’re working in a healthier environment. Great houseplants (i.e. kill proof ones) include the bamboo palm, the money tree, and peace lilies.
Separate your workspace
One of the main causes of stress when working remotely is the inability to separate your work and personal lives. When you work from home, it can be difficult to stop thinking about work. The trick is to set up a dedicated office space. Do not work in your kitchen or bedroom if it can be avoided.
By giving yourself some physical distance between yourself and your workspace, you’ll allow yourself the mental distance as well.
Finally, we have to stress: if you are suffering from mental health problems while working remotely - or at any point in your life - then don’t suffer alone. Reach out to someone you know and trust or to a professional.