Let us set the scene: you haven’t showered or left the house in who knows how long. You’re still wearing yesterday’s sweatpants. Your days are all starting to feel the same and you’re struggling to remember when your last in-person conversation was. Are you actually a ghost? Who knows! Okay, that’s all a little extreme, but if you work remotely then you can probably relate! While incredibly flexible, remote work has its own unique set of challenges, some of which can negatively impact your wellbeing and emotional health. So how do you prioritize mental wellness when you have a non-traditional work setup? Try these five tips!
Don’t Isolate Yourself
We’re kicking off our list of tips with a really important one. When you work in a traditional office, you likely have co-workers popping in and out of your space throughout the day. You lose this social contact when you stay home and work remotely. And while the peace and quiet can be a nice change of pace, it’s totally okay if you experience bouts of loneliness. To combat these feelings, make sure you’re getting enough social interaction throughout the workweek. Don’t be afraid to reach out to people in your circles! You’d be surprised to learn how many of us feel the same. Do you have friends on parental leave? A retired family member? A colleague who is also a remote worker? Make lunch plans or go for a morning walk together. Even a quick phone call can make a world of difference!
Work Somewhere Public
This is directly related to our first tip. And it isn’t something you have to necessarily do every day, but once or twice a week can be really beneficial for your mental wellness. Check out a local cafe – just make sure their wifi is as strong as their coffee before you settle in and start working away. Local libraries are also an incredible option for working in public – they’re usually quiet with big tables, ample outlets, and you won’t feel that pressure to buy sandwiches or pastries you don’t really want. And with the growing freelancer economy and remote companies around, coworking spaces are now more popular than ever. These spaces often have multiple membership options to fit your needs and they can help create a sense of community.
It is really easy to work, work, work when you’re working remotely. You get in the zone and the next thing you know, it’s dark outside and you haven’t had anything to eat since breakfast. It’s also easy to feel like you don’t have time to take breaks when you’re working for yourself. But trust us, a well-deserved break will help you work better in the long run. Go outside, have a snack, disconnect for 15 minutes, meditate, hang with your pet, stretch. If you’re struggling with this, make a daily schedule with your working hours and stick to it. Map out your day in advance and include breaks.
And taking a break doesn’t just mean during the day. It can be about the bigger picture, too. If you’re not feeling well (physically or emotionally), there’s no shame in a sick or mental health day. Give yourself permission to take care of yourself and create a work-life balance.
Make Your Space a Comfortable One
Regardless of how big your workspace or home office is, you should take the time and energy to create somewhere you like being – whatever that means to you! One of the perks of work at home jobs is being able to personalize the place you spend a lot of time in. Are you a plant person? Does music energize you? Are you interested in a standing desk? Is your chair comfortable enough? Do you need more art to keep you inspired? Does diffusing essential oils help you stay focused? Whatever your comfort zone is, try to infuse your space with something you love – you’ll notice a difference in your mood almost immediately.
We know this is a tip that gets thrown around a lot (even by us!), but we stand by it in a big way. There are a lot of things that factor into mental wellness, but being aware of how you’re feeling is always a good place to start. Listen to yourself – both your mind and body – because being tapped out makes it that much harder to notice your needs. So how can you keep tabs on how you’re feeling? You can try meditating (there are so many apps and online tutorials if you’re new to it!) or journaling. Like many of these tips, it is a matter of finding what works for you and making it a part of your day-to-day routine.
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