Many people have been forced to work from home as a result of COVID-19. Whether you were already working from home or required to do so, for safety reasons, it can be a challenging — and even lonely — transition especially during such stressful, uncertain times.
Maybe you’re working from home alone. Maybe you’re working from home with your entire family, and it’s a real challenge to get any work done at all. Both situations can be stressful.
While being safe and staying as healthy as possible is important during this time, taking care of your mental health is just as important.
As you’re transitioning and getting used to working from home, here are five tips to help you take care of your mental health.
Create a schedule
When you go into the office you follow a schedule: wake up, get dressed, commute to work, and so on. Because you’re used to this, it can be helpful to create some semblance of a schedule when working from home.
For example, you can:
set a time to wake up and stick to it
change out of your pajamas every morning and get dressed
create a morning routine
take a break for lunch
set a time to stop working at the end of the day (otherwise you may work well into the night)
Having a schedule to follow will help you maintain some sense of normalcy.
Connect with coworkers virtually
You can still have lunch with your coworkers – virtually. Video conferencing and seeing your coworkers’ faces makes you feel less alone and provides some much-needed social interaction.
Connecting virtually doesn’t have to be limited to lunches, either. Video conferencing for meetings can make you feel like you’re still part of your team at work.
Make time for exercise
When you work from home it often becomes commonplace to sit all day and not move. It’s important to make time each day for some form of exercise. Research shows that even modest amounts of exercise have a positive impact on depression, anxiety, ADHD and more. It also helps relieve stress and improve your memory. Whether it’s going for a solo run, doing some at-home workouts, practicing yoga or simply stretching, moving your body will help keep your mind healthy as well.
Get out in nature
Going outside can really improve your mental state. Fresh air helps send oxygen through your blood and allows your lungs to work at full capacity. So make time each day to get outside a few times a day. Breathing in fresh air while taking in the sights and sounds can help relax you and clear your mind.
Limit time reading or watching the news
There’s a lot going on with COVID-19 and it’s important to stay up-to-date; but to a point. Know what you need to know about what is going on in your community — whether a shelter-in-place or stay at home mandate has been issued. Beyond that, limit your news intake. Constantly watching the news about your community, country and around the world can cause a lot of unnecessary anxiety.
Focus on what you can control
You can’t control the actions of others, you can’t control whether people adhere to social distancing, you can’t control the amount or lack of toilet paper on the shelves, and you can’t control how long this will last. Focusing on these things isn’t helpful. Instead, focus on the fact that you can adhere to CDC guidelines for social distancing, you can get creative to find fun things to do at home, and you are in control of your mental state and positive attitude.