May is Mental Health Awareness Month. For the past month, the majority of us have been working from home and practicing social-distancing. This new world that we live in has brought a whole host of new challenges, and taking care of your mental health has never been more essential. With schedules out of wack, the inability to take part in most activities, and work life upended, we could all use a check-in with ourselves. Read below for five steps that you can take to improve your mental health while working remotely.
1. Separate Work from Personal Life
The balance between work and personal life is always something to strive for, but when your living room is also the office, it's crucial. Without commutes or activities going on, it can be too easy to work into the night, wake up earlier, or answer email after dinner. Notify your colleagues about what time you plan to go offline each day. Fully shut down your computer, or move it into a room where you won’t see it after work hours. Try to still take a lunch break, and go for a walk or read. Working remote doesn’t have to mean working more- it just takes a bit more effort to balance.
2. Prioritize Yourself
Whether you’re quarantining solo or have a family to care for, you need to prioritize your wellbeing. Taking care of yourself can mean keeping a routine, exercising most days, spending time outdoors, or setting time aside to indulge in a quarantine hobby, like doing a puzzle. This article from the Center for Workplace Mental Health outlines steps you can take to support yourself while working remotely. You can also click here for more tips on how to not get overwhelmed at home, and be successful at work while still taking time for yourself.
3. Seek Help
Maybe you’ve had professional mental health help in the past or perhaps the idea has never crossed your mind- no matter what background, living through a global pandemic is bound to propel many to want to seek guidance and advice as we navigate these times. For those who want to talk to a professional but are unsure where to start, there are online therapy platforms like Talkspace. If you simply want more information or tools, check out this guide from the National Alliance on Mental Illness or this page from the CDC for COVID-19 specific resources.
4. Try a New Routine
While staying at home, the days blend together (is it Wednesday? Friday?). Working remote does provide some structure, but for those who feel lost without their normal routines, it can be hard to cultivate new, social distancing friendly ones. Try taking time for yourself in the morning by doing a short meditation or breathwork. Write down your thoughts in a notebook. Sign up for a new exercise class or test out a new recipe for dinner. Do something that feels out of the ordinary- something to be excited about.
5. Reach Out
We are physically isolated from our greater support networks- friends, family, and in some cases, partners. Not all of us are big texters or enjoy group video calls. However, maintaining your connections with others is crucial to our wellbeing during these times. Let loved ones know that you are struggling. Ask them to check in on you, or initiate plans with a larger group of people. These are the times where we step up to support others, and closing yourself off from support may seem like the right thing to do when we are feeling down, but there’s truly nothing like the power of friends and family to cheer us up and provide a (virtual) shoulder to lean on.
As we navigate these trying times, and as the work landscape changes, continue to make your mental health a priority. Working remotely brings its own set of challenges, and it is important that we take care of ourselves. If administrative tasks or other logistical challenges are bringing you down, feel free to click the button below to learn more about how AdvantEdge Workspace is supporting individuals and businesses during the pandemic.