Boost Your Mental Health and Emotional Balance While Working from Home
Remote work has become increasingly popular in recent years, offering the flexibility and comfort of working from the comfort of one's own home. There are so many added benefits to one’s mental health that can come with working from home. However, this change in the work environment can also have a significant impact on a person's mindfulness and wellbeing.
As a remote worker myself I know the long hours in front of a screen, limited physical interaction with others, and the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life, can easily become overwhelming and stressful. I want to share with you the tips and strategies that have help me working for Tixel, an international company with coworkers spanning the globe.
It's crucial for remote workers to prioritize mental health and emotional balance. In this article, I'll discuss the challenges faced by remote workers and provide practical strategies for improving mindfulness and wellbeing. So, let's take a deep breath and get started on a journey to better focus, productivity, and happiness.
Practice a deep breath by simply closing your eyes, inhaling slowly through your nose while counting to four, holding your breath for a count of four, and then exhaling slowly through your mouth for another count of four.
The impact of remote work on mindfulness and wellbeing
The prolonged hours in front of a screen, lack of physical interaction with others, and blurred boundaries between work and personal life that are often present in remote work can negatively impact a person's mindfulness and wellbeing, leading to feelings of burnout, social isolation, and stress. These feelings can further exacerbate the lack of structure and support that is often present in remote work environments.
One of the common problems faced by remote workers is burnout. Remote work can often involve long hours in front of a screen, with no clear distinction between when work starts and ends. This can result in feelings of exhaustion and a lack of motivation, which can be further exacerbated by the absence of regular in-person interaction with coworkers. Burnout can lead to decreased focus and productivity, as well as decreased overall happiness.
Another common problem faced by remote workers is social isolation. Being isolated from coworkers and friends can lead to feelings of loneliness and disconnection, which can negatively impact a person's mental and emotional health. It can also be challenging to build and maintain meaningful relationships with others when working remotely, leading to feelings of isolation and a lack of connection.
Remote workers can also experience high levels of stress, due to a lack of structure and support in the remote work environment. This can result in feelings of overwhelm and anxiety, which can negatively impact a person's mental and emotional health, as well as the ability to focus and be productive. It's important for remote workers to be mindful of these challenges and take proactive steps to address them in order to maintain wellbeing.
Burnout, social isolation, and stress can all have a negative impact on a person's mental and emotional health, leading to decreased focus, productivity, and overall happiness. It's important for remote workers to be mindful of these challenges and take proactive steps to address them in order to maintain wellbeing.
Strategies for Improving Mindfulness and Wellbeing for Remote Workers
Set Boundaries and Create a Routine:
Setting boundaries between work and personal life is crucial for remote workers. Usually, the office walls are a pretty clear barrier between work mode and personal time. At home, you need to create similar boundaries for yourself. This can include creating a designated workspace, setting specific work hours, and taking regular breaks throughout the day. I only work at my desk and resist the temptation to hop on the couch keeping a boundary between work and chill time.
Establishing a routine can also be helpful, as it provides structure and helps to reduce feelings of stress and overwhelm. I use the time saved on commuting to do something nice for myself in the morning by going for a walk to get in the early morning sunshine and then spending a few minutes meditating before I start work at 8:30.
Staying Active and Healthy:
Staying active and healthy is important for maintaining mindfulness and wellbeing in general but becomes key for remote workers. You could stay a whole day in your home or flat when your commute to work is down the hall so being active is an important choice to make. This can include regular exercise, such as taking walks, doing yoga, or participating in online fitness classes. Make sure you take time to move your body during the day despite the easy option to be more sedentary. Eating a healthy diet, staying hydrated, and getting enough sleep are also key factors in promoting overall health and wellbeing.
Include time to Stay Connected with Others:
Staying connected with others is important for mitigating feelings of social isolation and loneliness. This can include virtual social activities, such as online games or video chats with friends and family. Regular communication with coworkers, such as through virtual meetings or regular check-ins, can also help to build and maintain meaningful relationships. Have a coworker you have a lot in common with? I have a Tuesday morning call for just 15 minutes where I check in with one of my coworkers, no work talk is needed, we just check in.
Techniques for Managing Stress:
Managing stress is especially important for remote workers, as the lack of structure and support in the remote work environment can lead to feelings of overwhelm and anxiety. One effective technique for managing stress is mindfulness practices, such as meditation or deep breathing exercises. These practices can help to calm the mind, reduce feelings of anxiety, and improve focus and productivity. Another helpful stress-management technique is journaling, which can help to identify and process stressors and improve mental clarity. Here’s a deep breathing exercise that can be done anywhere, anytime:
Find a comfortable seated position, either in a chair or on the floor. Sit with your back straight and your feet firmly planted on the ground.
Close your eyes and take a deep breath in through your nose, filling your lungs with air.
Hold your breath for a few seconds.
Slowly exhale through your mouth, letting the air escape slowly and completely.
Repeat this deep breathing pattern for 5-10 breaths, focusing on your breathing and letting your mind quiet down. Image each inhale flowing into the point of tension in your body and each exhale releasing that tension.
Once you have completed the exercise, take a moment to notice how you feel. You may feel calmer, more centred, and less stressed.
This simple deep breathing exercise can be done for a few minutes at a time, whenever you need to reduce stress and calm your mind. The repetition of deep breathing can help to slow down your heart rate, lower blood pressure, and activate the relaxation response, leaving you feeling more relaxed and focused. You can also attach this to points where you enter into or out of work. I always close my eyes for 5 deep breathes when beginning again after lunch and at the end of the day when I am done for the evening.
Ideas for Incorporating Purpose and Meaning into Work:
Incorporating purpose and meaning into work can help to reduce feelings of burnout and increase overall satisfaction. This factor can affect any worker but may have an additional impact on remote workers who aren’t as easily engaged with the output of your work. Here are some actionable ways to incorporate purpose and meaning into your work:
Set achievable goals, both short-term and long-term, that align with your personal values and priorities. This can help to add structure and purpose to your work day and give you a sense of accomplishment and progress.
Find ways to connect your work to a larger mission or cause that you care about. This can give you a greater sense of purpose and fulfilment, and make your work feel more meaningful and impactful.
Back to connecting with others, incorporate a sense of community into your work. If you have coworkers in your region maybe you could coordinate one lunch or dinner a trimester where you travel to a central location and meet. Or host a virtual team building activity if your colleagues stretch farther in radius.
Regularly take time to reflect on your accomplishments and progress. Host a personal trimester evaluation of how you are reaching your goals. Give yourself a pat on the back for all your hard work. Furthermore, seeking feedback from others can help to reinforce a sense of purpose and meaning in your work.
By incorporating purpose and meaning into your work, you can improve your overall wellbeing and job satisfaction, and feel more fulfilled and motivated in your career.
In this article, we discussed the impact of remote work on mental health and wellbeing, and how it can lead to feelings of burnout, social isolation, and stress. We then explored strategies for improving mental health and wellbeing for remote workers, including setting boundaries and creating a routine, staying active and healthy, staying connected with others, managing stress, and incorporating purpose and meaning into work.
In conclusion, it is important to prioritize mindfulness and wellbeing for remote workers in order to maintain good mental health and emotional balance. By implementing the strategies discussed in this article, remote workers can improve overall wellbeing and work-life balance, and feel more fulfilled and motivated. So let's take another deep breath and make a commitment to our own mental and emotional wellbeing for a better work-from-home experience.