Remember when we thought that our offices were stressful environments? Yes, those were the days! With the Covid-19 pandemic still at large, businesses all over the world have been forced to stop shop and establish a work from home culture. That, if not carried out in the right way, could do more harm than good.
If you find yourself getting anxious or upset due to the current working situation, the mental health maintenance tips mentioned below might help you.
#1 Try To Move Around The House
While we’d like to believe that we’ve always spent our entire 9-hour shift glued to our seats, the truth is that we haven’t. In reality, we used to spend at least 1-2 hours of our shift interacting with our colleagues, eating lunch, attending meetings, and so on. With work from home being the new normal today all those distractions are pushed out of the way and this can take a toll on our mental health. A great way to counteract this would be to break up our average workday and spend at least 5-10 minutes every 2 hours walking around the house or doing some other activity that will get your mind off work.
#2 Try To Create A Routine
Work from home implies a lack of management that could put us in a state of uncertainty. It could also create a stressful environment as we now work in spaces that we previously reserved for relaxation. Creating a routine is great here as it gives us a sense of control which works towards improving our mental health. The routine doesn’t have to be a strict one but if you used to follow a strict 9-5 work schedule with a 1-hour lunch break in between, make sure that you follow the same routine now.
#3 Have A Designated Work Space
Everyone needs a designated work and home life, even when the pandemic seems to be pushing the two closer together. The best way to tackle this situation (other than following a routine) is deeming a specific area in your house your work area. Make sure that the place you choose is one that you don’t usually use for your daily activities and then use it only when you’re working. An example of this could be a seat on your dining table that you don’t usually sit in when having dinner. This super simple distinction can go a long way in creating space between your work and home life and will contribute to your improved mental health.
#4 Make Sure That Everything Is In Order
People mistake the power that a good internet connection has on our mental health. While going from “work from office” culture to “work from home” culture can be a bit of an adjustment, trying to work without the proper infrastructure can add a lot of stress, and result in the deterioration of our mental health. So before you start working, take some time out to see if you have the necessary infrastructure in place. The infrastructure here could range from a decent wifi connection to a proper desk and chair. If the issues that you’re facing are related to IT, inform your company immediately. For the most part, the company will be able to help you and this will reduce your stress greatly.
#5 Try To Remain In Touch
As mentioned before, at least a few hours in our workday are spent socialising. While it may seem inconsequential, socializing actually does play a major role in venting out our stresses and improving our mental health overall. Therefore, it is important to try to stay in touch with your colleagues as much as possible.
#6 Too Much Of Anything Is Bad
One of the major side effects of the COVID-19 pandemic is the overuse of social media. Not only that, but it is not uncommon for you to work while leaving the news on. This continuous intake of information can take a toll on your mental health and add more stress to an already stressful situation. To avoid this, make sure that you put a limit to the amount of information that you take in and try capping it at 2 – 3 hours per day. This will give your mind a break and will improve your mental health drastically.
#7 Watch Out For The Silver Lining
At a time like this, it is really easy to develop and maintain a glass half empty viewpoint. And while it may seem realistic to some, the actual reality is that it could lead to the deterioration of one’s mental health. So instead of focusing on the negatives, try taking some time out and focusing on the positives. The positives here could range from something as simple as getting more sleep and escaping the everyday transit, to more complex positives like an increase in savings and getting the extra time to practise your hobby or learn a new skill. What could be positive for you doesn’t necessarily have to be positive for someone else, remember that and you will be fine.
Mental health tends to be a taboo topic within the Indian society, but now, with work from the home culture in full swing, it is important to give your mental health its due importance. It is important to note here, that your mental health does not deteriorate only because of environmental stressors but can also deteriorate because of your current physiology. To put in short, even the food you eat, the amount you exercise and your overall health play an important role in the state of your mental health. It is, therefore, necessary to pay attention to it.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. How do I manage my mental health when working from home due to the Covid-19 pandemic?
Working from home can be a tough situation if not handled with the proper care and can negatively affect your mental health. The above-mentioned tips should help reduce stress. Besides this, you should also try to adopt a realistic lens and accept that there are things that you can and cannot do in your current home environment.
Q2. What can I do to avoid burning out?
The first step would be to understand the reason for your burnout. This could happen due to personal reasons like unrealistic expectations that you’ve placed on yourself or due to external factors like an excessive workload. If the cause for the burn out is a personal one, it is advised that you reach out to a psychologist to help sort through your issues and if it is caused by external factors, then you should talk to your boss about the same.
Q3. Should I get therapy to help deal with work and COVID-19stress?
India as a country has a history of” with “As Indians. We sometimes ignore the issue of work stress and the factors that lead to the deterioration of one’s mental health. Currently, with the Covid-19 pandemic at an all-time high, it is considered vital to pay attention to one’s mental health. This can be practised personally, through exercise and meditation or you can even reach out to a therapist to help with the same.
Q4. How Do I Create Boundaries Between My Work And Personal Life?
With work from home culture being the new normal, it is no wonder that people find it difficult to create boundaries between their work and personal life. The top two ways to create these boundaries are to create a routine and to have designated areas around the house for your work. That said, it is not uncommon for the individual to take on more work during this period and if this is something that is happening to you, it is advised that you speak to your boss about the same and set some ground rules.
Q5. Can changing your diet improve your mental health during the COVID-19pandemic?
There are a ton of jokes out there today highlighting unhealthy habits like extreme drinking and binge-eating to get through the pandemic. That said, quite a number of studies have proven that your diet can affect your overall mental health. So while the jokes may bring a laugh or two to some, in reality, it is quite important to stick to healthier dietary habits like eating your required fruits and vegetables, staying hydrated and trying to avoid sugar and alcohol.