By: Esther Ng
A work from home (WFH) policy does not appear to be all that bad on the surface: no dress codes, no commute time, and no in-person management. However, working from home comes with a series of unique challenges that can be mentally and emotionally taxing.
If you’ve clicked on this article, then you’re probably familiar with the anxiety and distress that comes from working in isolation. Are you constantly on “work mode” because you no longer see your home as a place of relaxation and comfort? Has the increased use of digital devices reduced the quality of your rest? Are you simply just missing a sense of formality and structure in your professional life?
If you nodded yes to any of these questions, you are certainly not alone. As ironic as it may sound, we are all facing isolation together. It is critical that we maintain our mental health in order to combat the pandemic-related stress in our lives, particularly when it comes to our livelihoods.
Below are 5 WFH mental health habits that’ll improve the state of your emotional well-being.
Set boundaries in your living space
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You may find it difficult to switch off from work if you’ve converted every corner of your home into a working space. For instance, if you work from bed, your mind will start to associate your bed as space for work, not rest. To resolve this, resist the urge to pick up that work call from bed, allocate specific areas in your home that’s dedicated to work and commit to it.
Limit your digital consumption
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After a heavy day of back-to-back zoom calls, you might be wearing yourself thin by scrolling on Instagram for the rest of your night. Give yourself a break from the internet and engage in an off-screen hobby. Perhaps it’s time to pick up that book that’s taken residency on your shelf for the past few months.
Learn to say no during your off hours
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You may receive a lot of work-related requests during your off hours. Know that deferring these requests is perfectly acceptable if it interferes with your ability or desire to recover after a long day of work. You may find it difficult to say no because you are afraid of being irresponsible, but setting clear boundaries is also a strong indicator of responsibility. Simply let them know that you’ll respond to their requests during your work hours.
Move your body
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You might not be able to go to the gym or participate in certain activities that you used to. However, any form of movement is preferable to none, as numerous studies have shown that regular physical activities significantly improves one's overall mental and physical health. Make a conscious effort to incorporate movements into your day, whether it's stretching, going for a walk or joining a virtual group class for home-friendly workouts.
Practice sleep hygiene
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No, sleep hygiene isn't just going to bed clean! It is about incorporating certain habits into your nighttime routine to ensure a restful night. Limiting caffeine before bed, going to sleep at a consistent time, and avoiding social media an hour before bed are all examples of good sleep hygiene. By honouring the quality of your sleep, you’ll improve your ability to efficiently do your job.
Show yourself a great deal of compassion throughout this period.
Consider what you would say to a good friend if he or she was in your exact position. Then, direct those kind responses towards yourself because you deserve it too.