As working from home becomes the new norm, many of us are starting to worry about our mental health. Whether it’s our children making noise in the background, our dogs barking to go outside, or our partners interrupting us, distraction is inevitable.
Let’s be honest: working from home is more than sleeping in and conference calls in your PJs. While there are certainly perks, there are also downsides. It’s up to you to take the necessary steps in order to stay sane:
There’s a misconception that working nonstop means you’re being more productive. On the contrary, studies show that taking breaks is scientifically-proven to boost your productivity.
Let’s face it: In a normal work day, we don’t work 8 straight hours. Whether it’s taking a coffee break, going for a walk during lunch or talking with colleagues, we find ways to take a breather.
The same should apply to working from home. Briefly stepping away from your work will not only help you stay sane, it will ultimately will make you more productive in the long run.
Give your day structure and create a schedule that works for you
Making the transition from working in an office to working from home can be a bit jarring. Many people like being surrounded by the hustle and bustle of coworkers and feel more focused in that type of environment.
If you’re this type of person, it can be beneficial to come up with a similar routine. For example, if answering emails is first thing on your to-do list in the morning, continue to do that. If you’re used to taking afternoon coffee breaks with a particular coworker, set aside time every few days to video chat.
The goal is to help you feel anchored by doing things and seeing faces that are familiar.
Use video conferencing for meetings
Show your face! One of the biggest issues that comes with social distancing is loneliness. Humans are wired for connection, and we’re craving it now more than ever.
Science confirms the positive psychological impact of video chat. When compared to text, audio and video, people felt the strongest bond to others with video communication.
Set boundaries with other people in your living space
In a home setting, a big source of stress for people is distraction.
When it comes to maintaining your sanity, setting boundaries is essential. For example, if you have meetings at certain times, make sure your partner is aware and is watching the kids. Or if you have a tight deadline to meet, tell the other people in your home you’re going to shut the door for several hours and don’t want to be disturbed unless it’s urgent.
Take care of your physical health
Along with eating well and exercising, getting enough sleep is critical. Research shows sleep deprivation can lead to depression and anxiety.
“Sleep disruption — which affects levels of neurotransmitters and stress hormones, among other things — wreaks havoc in the brain, impairing thinking and emotional regulation,” Harvard Health reports.
In terms of nutrition, there are certain foods that are proven to increase your energy and boost your brain power. These include avocados, beets, salmon and for all of you with a sweet-tooth, dark chocolate.
“Dark chocolate has powerful antioxidant properties, contains several natural stimulants, including caffeine, which enhance focus and concentration, and stimulates the production of endorphins, which helps improve mood,” according to WebMD.
But with this tasty treat, less is more. One-half ounce to 1 ounce a day is all you need to experience the health benefits.
How do you protect your mental health while working from home? Share your thoughts in the comments below!