Many people feel so concerned about their productivity levels when they start working from home.
They wonder how to balance putting in the hours with taking care of the kids. They’re not sure they can stay focused on what needs to be done and bring in enough money to cover the bills.
But, although these are indeed important factors to be thinking about, there are other bigger things at risk when you don’t go to the office as usual.
Namely, your mental health!
Because working from home can be extremely lonely and isolating. The lack of separation between your work life and homelife can be overwhelming. If you’re not careful, you can end up anxious, stressed and feeling burnt out.
Here are a few tips that can help you stay sane.
1. Stay active
Above all else, staying active and getting plenty of exercise will help you feel much better as you work from home.
As you get your heart rate up, all that extra blood flow will help your brain work better. It’ll also release plenty of those feel-good endorphins that lift your mood and help you feel on cloud nine.
If that wasn’t enough, it will even help you to sleep better which will help regulate your mood and make you a much nicer person to be around.
So incorporate movement and exercise into your day whenever you can. Why not take the dog for a walk or go for a run? Or download an app like Fitbit Coach and work out at home?
Whatever you do, make sure it’s something you love. Otherwise, the effort could outweigh the benefits.
2. Connect with others
When you’re working from home, it’s far too easy to find yourself staring at the computer for hours without so much as speaking to another human being. But don’t let this happen!
If you want to stay feeling positive and avoid feeling isolated, you need to connect with others throughout your day.
Find time to voice or video call your colleagues, even if you don’t have formal meetings scheduled and speak to your friends and family whenever you can. The benefits will be huge!
3. Stick to a routine
Building your day around a predictable routine will help you to stay feeling grounded and calm, even when the world feels chaotic.
Because you know exactly what to expect, you’ll better focus on what you need to get done throughout the day. This, in turn, will also help dial down your stress and leave you feeling less anxious.
“Routine also helps with stress…” says clinical psychologist Dr Steve Orma, writing on the Headspace website. “Create a set schedule for doing chores, work tasks, meetings, exercise, paying bills, and all the usual things you need to do. Put these into your schedule. Once this becomes your normal routine, it’s easier to accomplish everything, because it becomes habit.”
4. Get enough sleep
There’s no way you’ll feel even remotely human if you aren’t getting enough sleep. Not only are you likely to be much more irritable, prone to making mistakes and less productive, you’re also more likely to struggle with mood swings and overwhelm.
That’s why getting enough sleep should always be your priority. Most people need between 7-9 hours’ sleep to feel refreshed, so feel free to experiment and find out what works best for you.
5. Listen to music
If you’re keen to keep your stress levels low and you want to be as productive as you can, popping those headphones in might be just what the doctor ordered.
“Listening to music can have a tremendously relaxing effect on our minds and bodies, especially slow, quiet classical music,” says mental health online resource Psych Central. “This type of music can have a beneficial effect on our physiological functions, slowing the pulse and heart rate, lowering blood pressure, and decreasing the levels of stress hormones.”
Much more than this, there are numerous studies that show that listening to music will help you to focus better. Of course better focus means less stress, making music a perfect partner for your working day.
But don’t think that any music will do. Choose your music carefully, opting for something familiar and instrumental when you need to concentrate on an important task.
6. Find time to play
Life shouldn’t be all work and no play! So make sure you give yourself regular breaks and downtime throughout the day to disconnect from the stresses of your working day and have some fun.
Switch off your laptop, silence your notifications and enjoy yourself doing simple things like walking the dog, messing around for the kids, or watching an episode of your favourite Netflix series.
You’ll feel much more relaxed when you return to work and able to handle whatever life throws at you.
Yes, working from home can be stressful. But by including healthy practices in your daily routine, you can feel calmer, more in control and much less stressed. What could be better than that?