The weather is getting colder, our days are getting shorter, and for those who struggle with mental health, you may be struggling more than usual (and that’s OKAY!).
Taking care of yourself and your mental health is an important task, no matter your situation. We encourage you to stay if you’re trying to find some encouragement or tips for a work-life balance. But here’s to our fellow work-from-home workers, we know it might take a little something extra to ensure you’re truly taking care of yourself and your mental health.
Working remote, just as all other careers, comes with its pros and cons. We may not have a commute, obtain more flexibility than others, and you might even be wearing sweats (guilty!). But, when we neglect our mental health, working from home has the potential to quickly feel isolating. We may easily fall into patterns and an unhealthy routine, sometimes not even leaving the house for a day, or days, at a time. We know it happens, and you may not even notice or feel affected at first. But it’s important for us to set healthy boundaries and expectations for your own sake, and if you struggle with mental health prior to this remote position, please be aware of the effects you may experience!
So, as fellow remote workers, we’re here for you and want to share some tips that may guide you in creating a healthy work-life balance while working from home.
You Are Not One in a Million
First things first, know you are NOT alone! Here are some statistics we’ve gathered that show just that –
- According to a survey by the American Psychological Association (2021), nearly two-thirds of people working from home feel isolated or lonely ‘at least sometimes’ and 17% do ‘all the time,’ That’s over 80% of remote workers experiencing a sense of loneliness (forbes.com).
- Upright Pose conducted a survey and found that on a typical remote workday, one in three workers sit in their work chairs the entire day and 63% walk only to go to the bathroom or kitchen. Meanwhile, 24% of remote workers never leave their home (forbes.com).
- Upright Pose’s survey found 78% report that they feel concerned about the future health consequences that an increase in sedentary lifestyle could lead to long-term.
We’re not sure if that helped, but we hope there’s some comfort in knowing that you’re not the only one who may experience a negative impact on your mental health. We empathize with your frustration and confusion. We’re here to give you some tips on how to create a healthy lifestyle while loving your remote job.
Random Tips for Our Remote Peers
Tip #1: Set boundaries
Yes, you heard us! SET. BOUNDARIES. Boundaries are important for us, for you, for your boss, for your friends, for your family, and the list goes on (and on, and on). But we’ll just touch on the work boundaries and save the rest for you to work on later.
Start slow, if that helps, you don’t need to go boundary crazy. Let’s begin with actually taking your lunch break… A survey found 29% of Americans working from home don’t take any meal breaks during the workday. And six in 10 feel guilty for taking any kind of break during work hours (nypost.com). So… Yeah. That statistic speaks for itself; take your lunch break people! It’s important to fuel your body and step away from the computer, so if you have issues setting boundaries in your work life, start here. Block off that lunch hour on your calendar if you need to, and enjoy a minute to breathe!
Other boundaries to consider that may make your work from home life easier on your mental state could be sticking to your scheduled work hours. Yes, something as simple as that! Act like you’re stepping into the office, log on at the beginning of the day, and shut the laptop down at the end (workaholics, this one’s for you!). Same thing goes with your work phone. Whether you’re at home, on vacation, etc. Put the work phone away, that email can wait until your next work day, trust us.
Tip #2: Your Work Location
Let’s start with designating a space in your home to work. Whether that’s a home office, a desk, a spot at your dining table, whatever it may be. Try to avoid the habit of working from your bed, since your bed is for sleeping! Compartmentalizing these spaces in your home will be more beneficial than you may think.
However, not leaving the house may become part of the problem you’re struggling with. It’s good to mix things up, too! If you’re finding yourself home for days at a time, it may be time to consider looking for alternatives such as a coffee shop nearby or your local public library. A change of scenery and new surroundings might just be the thing that pulls you out of a rut.
Tip #3: Find a hobby (outside of the house)
It’s just as important to invest in yourself and your passions as it is to get out into the world. Finding something you enjoy doing, at a space outside of your home, is a great way to make sure you’re actually getting out of the house.
Like to exercise? Join a local gym. Go for a walk outside. Like to read? Join a local book club. Want to be creative? Look into some local art classes.
Finding what you like to do makes it that much easier to take a step in the right direction (and outside your front door).
Tip #4: Reach out to your coworkers
Listen, you may be in different cities or even different states, but reaching out to your coworkers is a great step! It’s important to build relationships in any respect, and if you’re struggling with isolation, there’s no harm in finding a way to talk to your coworkers!
Schedule a Zoom call on your lunch hour, invite your coworkers to a virtual happy hour, whatever it may be! Having that interaction with your coworkers is just as important online as it is in-person. Reach out and make a new friend. It might just help.
Tip #5: Make time for friends and family
Seeing those you’re close with is more important than ever. Reach out to your friends, set up a lunch date, host a cocktail hour, go to the movies, who cares! Maintain those friendships as much as you can, because people need people (and remote workers really need people).
Call your parents, siblings, cousins, aunt, uncles, and grandparents or even visit them. When your family brings a positive light to your life, it’s important to keep them close. Reaching out to family is a great first step if you need someone to talk to.
Tip #6: Reach out if you’re struggling
We know this can be hard, and it’s different for everyone. But if you find your mental health declining (and this goes for everyone reading this), please reach out for help! A trusted family member, friend, acquaintance, your boss, a therapist, whoever you feel you can have an open, and honest conversation with, please do so. It’s important to be honest with yourself and get help if you find yourself at a point where you need it.
We’re going to leave some of these resources here, they’re here to help you.
Crisis Text Line – Text HOME to 741741
National Suicide and Crisis Lifeline – 988 – Chat Online Here
National Domestic Violence Hotline – (800) 799-7233
Making Social Media A Safe Space
Given we’re in the social media industry… You had to know this was coming. Social media can be used for good! So as a little something extra, here are 6 mental health social media accounts we love and encourage you to follow if you love them, too.