In 2019, when asked what their biggest struggle was, 22% of remote workers responded with “unplugging after work” while 19% claimed “loneliness” was their greatest work from home foe. With so many more employees than usual working from home during the ongoing pandemic, there’s no question that maintaining one’s physical and mental health must be a priority.
Here are several tips and suggestions for ways to keep both your body and your mind in good condition as you labor from the homefront.
Cover the basics
When you work from home (WFH), it’s easy to get lost in your professional responsibilities and never take the time to unplug. If you’re going to set up habits that help you fight against that tendency, one of the first things you should do is get used to regularly addressing your body’s basic needs. The three major self-care basics that you’ll want to consider are:
- Sleeping: The average adult should get between 7 and 9 hours of sleep each night.
- Eating: It’s important to eat healthy!
- Exercise: Exercise can keep you in shape and pump up those endorphins — and there are plenty of ways to stay fit and healthy, even at your desk.
By finding ways to keep your body rested, nourished, and in shape, you can give yourself the physical prowess required to perform in your work-from-home situation.
Maintain a morning routine
A good morning routine isn’t just helpful, it can be the activity that defines the success or failure of your day. A good morning ritual should consist of:
- Required activities: Things like brushing your teeth and eating breakfast.
- Physical activities: This can include going for a jog or working out.
- Mental activities: Meditating, praying, and journaling are all great ways to start the day.
By going through the motions each morning, you can set the tone for a productive and positive day.
Embrace the flexibility
If you’re feeling stressed out by the thought of maintaining traditional “office hours” while working from home, an easy way to reduce the stress is by ditching the traditions as much as reasonably possible.
Remote work is famous for being flexible. As long as it works with your employer, try to take full advantage of the ability to adapt your work schedule to your personal life.
For instance, if you work better in the evenings, let yourself sleep in and work late. If you’ve struggled to find the time to groom yourself, treat your feet with a medicated soak while you’re composing an email or trim your toenails while you’re on a call. The point is, steering into that flexibility can be a highly effective way to reduce the mental stresses and strains of the remote work lifestyle.
Maintain work-life balance
One of the key ways to find a healthy, normalized approach to mental health is by finding and maintaining a good work-life balance. This can be done in several ways, such as:
- Setting up clear boundaries: Having a space dedicated to work and other spaces for rest or recreation helps you focus when you’re in each space.
- Giving yourself a virtual commute: A virtual commute is simply allowing yourself “downtime” to both prepare before starting and decompress after ending work.
- Creating unplugging times: Setting specific times to unplug, such as first thing in the morning, during dinner, or before bed, can help you disconnect from work when you’re not on the clock.
Restoring a sense of balance to your life is an excellent way to calm strung-out nerves, reduce stress, and allow yourself to physically and mentally recuperate at the end of each day.
Proactively ward off depression
Finally, it’s important to recognize the threat that depression can have on your remote work life. Things like failing to unplug and struggling with loneliness can quickly spiral into full-blown depression and can be actively resisted through methods like:
- Sticking to schedules and routines.
- Calling a friend or family member for support.
- Taking time to meditate, pray, and express thankfulness.
- Walking, biking, or otherwise exercising regularly.
- Setting goals and expectations to help you focus.
By proactively fighting against depression, you can actively cultivate a mindset that is healthy, vibrant, and successful in your remote work setting.
Creating WFH mental and physical wellness habits
Working from home is a wonderful blessing. However, just like any work situation, it can also be a bit of a two-edged sword. Rather than waiting for your mental and physical health to deteriorate in your remote work setting, look for healthy habits that you can adopt in the here and now.
Things like sticking to routines, unplugging, virtual commutes, and providing basic bodily needs are all excellent ways to ensure that you don’t just survive your remote work situation — you also thrive in it.
About the Author:
Jori Hamilton is a writer from the Pacific Northwest who has a particular interest in social justice, politics, education, healthcare, technology, and more. You can follow her on Twitter @ HamiltonJori.