How To Work From Home While Taking Care of Your Mental Health

work from home
Finding healthy work from home and life balance is important for your mental health (Image Credit: Chris Montgomery)

Working from home has become the norm for many companies across the globe and people are finding innovative ways to adjust to these settings. With the incredible benefits of saving on the cost of transport, not having to set your alarm quite as early, having more flexibility around your start and finish times – sometimes other factors upset our balance. In the current climate of uncertainty, it is natural that people are struggling with their mental health. From feelings of isolation to feeling pressure and stress, mental health is something that needs to be suitably cared for. There are a variety of ways to work from home that can ensure a positive work environment and create a healthy home/work balance. 

Working From Home: Develop a Dedicated Workspace

One of the most important steps in the working from home process is carving out your own dedicated space to utilise for work situations. Try and find a space that is devoid of distractions like television. If the only space you can work in is the living room, make sure that you don’t turn it on. 

Keep your office equipment in one space. This could include your computer, your stationery, and everything else you need to work from home. Where possible, work at a desk with a sturdy chair for back support – comfort is key. This isn’t always possible for people to achieve but, where feasible, pillows and boxes can lift computers up higher or give you the back support you need to keep comfortable. 

work from home space
Having a dedicated space to work at helps set boundaries in the home. (Image Credit: Burst)

Working From Home Routines

Creating a routine is a critical part of your work from home journey. A schedule that you stick rigidly do ensures that your work time doesn’t become blurred with your personal time, which can be very easy to do if you are in close proximity to your computer. 

Where you can, follow a consistent pattern of going to bed and getting up at the same time. Use the time you would have spent commuting to accomplish things that you might not have had time for before like going for a walk or run, listening to an album you haven’t had a chance to listen to yet, or even catching up on your reading. 

If you want to continue working a typical 9 to 5, that’s okay. Just make sure that when your workday stops, you stop working. Don’t check your emails or respond to Slack messages that you’ll be able to pick up in the morning. When the clock stops, this is time for you to enjoy your personal time and contribute to your home life with family and friends. 

Take Your Breaks

When working from home, it can be very easy to work through lunch or being available during your ‘down-time’. This can be an incredibly draining process and something that isn’t conducive to your mental health. Ensure at the start of the day that you carve out time for your breaks and eat something. 

Taking breaks is an important stress management tool and actually helps with your productivity. Staring at a screen without a break can be bad for your physical health, so finding some time to stretch or get away from the computer for a few minutes is something that will benefit you physically and mentally. 

Use your lunch to get some air by going on a walk or riding your bike. Make yourself a coffee and enjoy the time and ritual going into it. There are plenty of ways to relax your mind and to find healthy options to enjoy your break time. 

work from home coffee
Taking breaks regularly is important for your mental health and productivity. (Image Credit: Nathan Dumlao)

Create Boundaries Between Work and Home

Most of us have no problem creating boundaries between our friends and family in our personal lives, but struggle to develop those parameters in our work life. Setting boundaries with the members of our household during our working day is important.

It can be very easy for people to pop into your workspace for a chat or to have to deal with children being home who might not understand these boundaries quite as well as adults. Having an open and frank conversation with either your family or housemates about your working hours is a great way to encourage people to take your work time seriously and for you to share your expectations with them. 

Equally, it is critical to establish those boundaries with your colleagues as well. Let them know that you are entirely available during the work hours but, after that, this is your personal time. Creating these boundaries early is crucial to looking after your mental health as well. 

set boundaries
Carving out space and boundaries is critical for your mental health. (Image Credit: Marta Filipczyk)

Creative Working From Home

This is an unprecedented experience for many, so finding creative solutions to working from home is something that shouldn’t be shunned. If you are lucky enough to have a garden, are you able to check your emails there in the air if it’s a nice day? 

If you’re working on something with a team member, could you have them on a Zoom call on the side of your screen so you don’t feel alone? There are plenty of creative methods to employ when considering your new work from home model. 

be kind to yourself
Don’t be too hard on yourself and take each day as it comes. (Image Credit: Max van den Oetelaar)

Don’t Be Hard On Yourself

Working from home is an exciting opportunity but does come with a range of challenges. If you are struggling, reach out to your colleagues, find a solution with your boss, and talk to your friends and family about how you are feeling. You are not alone and there are plenty of people to talk to who will be able to relate to your situation. Some days are going to be fine, others are going to be a little more difficult. Be kind to yourself and know that everything is going to be okay. 

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