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How to Protect Your Mental Health When Working Remotely

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In the modern world, more and more individuals are beginning to work from home – otherwise known as working remotely. These remote workers can face a series of struggles. 

Whether this is due to company policy, difficulties in accessing an office space, or personal choice, remote working can have many benefits for an individual’s work life and personal life, but there are also some drawbacks that an individual may experience as a result of not taking care of oneself. 

Though it is difficult to determine whether or not working from home leads to greater productivity – as many studies are still ongoing and often lead to differing results depending on the company and its values – it is still important to try and work towards greater work success and productivity while working from home.

In addition to this, it is important that individuals consider their mental and physical health, as well as the effect on a healthy work-life balance – something which can be greatly affected when working from home – especially if the individual previously worked in an office or a shared space. 

The emotional costs of isolated work

Mental health can be greatly affected by remote working as the remote worker may no longer be working to a previous routine that they may have had, meaning that big changes are introduced to their everyday lives. 

Particularly when starting to work from home for the first time, there are many factors that some individuals may not consider, leading to further issues down the line, a buildup of stress, and a potential impact on their work life. These can all be as a result of mental health issues. 

This can lead to further and further issues. In addition, the shift from office work to remote work was combined with many other stressful factors, adding to the pressures and changes that an individual may face.

Serious effects can result as a byproduct of these changes, with many individuals becoming unsatisfied with their work, struggling to cope with the new demands of their work, and balancing this all with their day-to-day life. 

Remote work and addiction

In some cases, the additional stressors involved with remote working can also conflict with additional mental health conditions and disorders that some individuals may be struggling with. 

Due to the combined pressures of these different effects, an individual may quickly worsen over time and lead to serious issues, often requiring professional help to truly overcome them in the long term. 

One of the most serious disorders which a remote worker can be struggling with at the same time as working from home is addiction. Some addictions, specifically phone/internet addictions, can be made worse rapidly by the phenomenon of working from home. 

Generally, if an individual is going into an office every day, then this may be a form of temporary withdrawal for the individual and they are unlikely to engage in addictive behaviours as frequently as if they were at home. 

However, by working from home, an individual struggling with addiction may be more likely to entertain their addictive habits and lifestyles, often making the situation worse and leading to serious long-term consequences and effects. 

Getting help for issues such as addiction are usually best tackled via addiction rehab services. You can best deal with these issues by getting in touch with a specialist provider of addiction rehab services, for example, Rehab Recovery.

10 Mental Health Tips to Help you while Remote Working

Despite the challenges that many remote workers may be facing when working from home, it is vital to remember that there are steps that can be taken and activities to be undergone that can help the situation. 

No individual should be alone when facing the challenges of working from home, and help is always available to those who need it, whether this is face-to-face care, support from close friends and family, or support from counselling services and therapy programmes. 

In the following subheadings, we outline the top 10 tips for protecting your mental health while at work. While it is not vital to follow all these tips, please take a look and think which of these may be most suitable for you to try out yourself, recommend to someone else, or put into practice on your next work day. 

The following are our top 10 tips for protecting your mental health while working remotely:

1. Establish your ways of working

One of the first things to consider when working from home is ‘how do I work?’. Countless studies have been conducted into the best ways for individuals to learn, but at the end of the day, everyone is different. 

Some individuals prefer to work in dead silence, with no distractions – and this should be reflected in your work style. If you like music when you work, put on a relaxing background playlist. 

This doesn’t have to be established right away in a routine, either; this is something that can be slowly built up over time, figuring out what works for you, and what doesn’t. 

Once you’ve found a style that works for you, stick to it, write it down, and continue to make it your own. Getting tips and tricks from other individuals is a great way to get ideas on how best to work, but finding your own style is essential to good well-being during the workday. 

2. Take pride in the small things

When working from home, especially when left for long periods of time without contact or confirmation from others, it is important to create goals to work towards and acknowledge each step in the right direction. 

These steps can be as small or as big as you like but setting reasonable goals and feeling good about your progress is a great way to maintain motivation and attitude to work. 

When meeting with others, sharing progress is also a great way to motivate others or to be motivated yourself. These meetings should, however, be focused on taking pride within each aspect, rather than turning it into a competition. 

3. Create your own workspace

As well as figuring out a routine that works for you, it is important to set up an environment in which you can focus and get down to work when it really matters.

Though this is not always possible in every case i.e., those looking after small children in small houses/shared living, it is important to try and set boundaries for work – perhaps a few hours a day where the individual is left completely alone to make progress on work. 

From a management point of view, it is therefore important to make allowances for individuals who may be struggling with this particular issue, not organising meetings for specific times of the day, allowing them to sit in meetings without their camera or microphone on, and progress checking and goal making regularly. 

4. Check in with team members regularly

Also, from a management point of view, it is important to check up on employees, asking more about their wellbeing and progress working from home rather than just their work progress and meeting of targets etc. 

This is often done remotely through video calls and other video and audio-based means. 

By checking in with employees’ wellness, a manager will gain a greater idea as to their future progress, as well as any issues that they may be struggling with in the present. This can include feelings of isolation, in addition. 

Without these checks, an individual may be struggling for a long period of time, not meeting goals, working behind schedule, and dealing with increased stress for longer than is necessary, adding to their mental health struggles. 

In addition, it can also be beneficial for other colleagues (other than management) to check in on their peers, allowing for a more informal checkup, perhaps revealing more than a more serious management meeting that many individuals may perceive simple checkups to be. 

5. Socialise

Tying in with the point above, it is still important to maintain communication within a team.

Without meeting face-to-face, many individuals consider working from home to be extremely isolating, but it is important to remember that everyone is in the same boat with remote working at that everyone can work together to overcome some of the widespread issues. 

Organising meetings that are not strictly about work can be a great way to dispel isolation, as well as maintaining the social aspect and social interaction of work life that some individuals feel as though they miss out on by working from home.

6. Give yourself a break

Even at home, everyone needs regular breaks in order to maintain peak work efficiency, as well as giving oneself a break to do something else for a while. 

Working for long periods of time without breaks can be easy to do when working from home; some individuals feel guilty about taking breaks while at home, and work through the day in order to overcome this feeling.

However, everyone needs a break once in a while, whether this is to make food, get some fresh air, or make a drink, everyone is entitled to some time away from a screen or piles of paper. 

7. Get some fresh air when you can

Though briefly mentioned above, it is important to take breaks, and this includes getting out of the house and getting some fresh air.

Before working from home, many individuals may consider their commute to be their daily dose of fresh air, but this is not the case if they begin working from home.

By getting out of the house at least once a day, even for ten minutes, individuals will greatly increase their well-being, giving them a moment away from work and allowing them to relax temporarily. 

Time outside in the fresh air could be taken before work in the form of a morning run, during their break as a change of scenery for lunch, or after work for a post-work walk. No matter where or when the individual takes some fresh air, it is important to fit it into their remote working routine. 

8. Drink plenty of water

As another tip for health and well-being, it is important to remember to drink lots of fluids, especially water. Keeping yourself hydrated allows you to keep working at a good level, without the distraction of fetching water or being distracted by other thoughts. 

Having a glass or bottle of water around where you usually work should be one of the first steps in setting up work for the day, increasing the likelihood of consuming the water at some point during the day.

It is also a good idea to top up this water throughout the day, perhaps at the same time as stretching your legs, taking a lunch break, or taking a short mental break. 

9. Reflect on your mental health

At the beginning or end of the week, or at the beginning or end of each week, it is important for individuals to reflect on their mental health: how do they feel? What went well? Did they experience any feelings of isolation? Why did their mental health change throughout the day/week?

By asking yourself these questions, you may be able to identify areas in which your mental health may be struggling, working towards creating new habits, routines, or thought patterns.

In addition, these reflections can help you to build a picture of your mental health over time, seeking help if necessary, and having a good idea of how you are doing in the long-term, aside from other factors such as home life and the work itself. 

10. Honest And Open Communication

As the last tip, it is imperative to remember that you can ask for help anytime you need it. Just because you may not be face-to-face with colleagues or management on a daily basis, you can still contact these people for support and help where needed. 

This is true for both the individual’s work life and personal life. 

By reaching out to the network around you, help and support may come from unexpected places, and you can gain more support in working towards solutions to the issues you have brought forward. 

At the end of the day, no one is going to receive help if they don’t ask for it, and a problem can quickly become worse if ignored or not treated, causing serious issues in some industries and long-lasting impacts on the individual’s mental health.

Contact those around you today to get support should you need it. 

Further support and advice

One of the first places a remote worker can go when struggling with work-related issues is the Human Resources department of your company. In addition, if you have direct management over you, then mentioning any issues or struggles that you may be experiencing is a great way to get the support you need as quickly as possible. 

If you are struggling with working from home, whether this is due to the sudden changes brought on by this type of work, the struggles associated with mental health, addiction struggles, or any other problem, then it is vital that you contact the right people as soon as possible. 

No one is left alone when working remotely, though it can often feel like it, so get in touch with support today and support your mental health or the mental health of those around you such as loved ones or family. 

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