How to Protect Your Mental Health While Working from Home

woman with good mental health looking in the mirror

This is a guest post for the MELD Coworking blog written by Holly Shaw.

Before the COVID-19 outbreak, there was a lot of debate over whether companies should adopt work from home policies. It was a valid discussion considering that people can easily access communication and online collaboration tools nowadays.

With all these advancements in technology, employees can deliver the output expected from them whether they are in the office or not. While many organizations slowly began embracing flexible working solutions, there was still a good number that had some hesitations.

With countries going into quarantine to combat the spread of COVID-19, many organizations find themselves forced to adopt a work from home setup unexpectedly. While working from home is a step towards a more modern way of working and has many benefits, suddenly experiencing it during a time of uncertainty can take a toll on a person’s mental health.

Working during these difficult times can be stressful, especially when you try to find a balance between your work and personal responsibilities at home.

Here are some tips on how to protect your mental health while working from home:

woman in red shirt working from home

Develop a Routine and Stick to it

Having a routine gives your day structure which is why it is necessary to create a work schedule that works for you. Working at home is all about finding a balance between your work time and your personal time at home.

Create a routine that you are comfortable with and try to follow it as much as possible. Your routine could include blocks of time dedicated to specific tasks such as checking in with your boss or colleagues, answering emails, doing your regular tasks, and even going on your breaks.

Make sure to also set an end to your workday and stop reading or replying to emails. Even if you do not accomplish everything that you wanted to do for the day, you will still feel at ease and in control.

Once you establish a routine, everything will come more naturally. You can work in peace and not feel overwhelmed, which will help you finish your work in an efficient and timely manner.

man working in a coworking space

Create your Workspace

Find a space in your home that you can use as your official workspace. Having an “office” inside your house will help set your brain for “work mode”.

Try to find a quiet room away from where most of your family members usually are and do a bit of interior design to make it feel more like a work area. Make sure to sit upright with your feet on the floor while working on your laptop or computer to avoid back strain. Your laptop screen or monitor should be at the appropriate eye level so that you avoid neck and eye strain.

If you have the opportunity, investing in a coworking space can offer you the chance to work in an office setting while still enjoying the freedom of working from home. Many coworking spaces also offer some great perks to joining; making them worth your time and money.

Above all, keep your workplace (whether it be at home or in a coworking space) tidy. It will calm your mind and make you feel more motivated to get things done.

Go on Breaks

Trying to finish a seemingly never-ending To-Do list can be stressful, which is why you need to take regular breaks to get a snack, walk around, or even take a power nap.

Breaks are an essential part of your work routine especially when you are working at home. Since you are working all by yourself and your colleagues can’t see if you even get up from your chair, you could end up staring at a screen for eight hours straight which is not healthy at all.

If you need reminders for your breaks, you can use apps that will remind you to stand up and stretch a bit.

sign that says self care isn't selfish

Take Care of Yourself

For David Rowland, Head of Marketing at Engage EHS, mental health and wellness are extremely important for employees working from home. This is especially true during these times of stress and anxiety when we’re expected to practice social distancing.

One of the best ways to protect your mental health is to consciously take care of yourself. Just because you are not in the office, it does not mean that you can wear your pajamas the whole day while working at home.

It should go without saying that taking a shower and putting on a smart casual outfit helps in getting you work-ready mentally. Taking care of your body and regularly exercising will boost your immune system and improve your mood so that you feel refreshed once you get back to work.

If you have too many worries such as the pressures of working or raising a family during COVID-19, consider doing meditation to calm your mind. There are mobile apps that teach beginners how to meditate for even just 10 minutes a day.

Remember that self-care is a vital part of protecting your mental health whether you are working from home or not.

About the Author

Holly Shaw is part of the content team at The Long Reach. Holly has worked in the health and safety industry since graduating from university. When not writing about health and safety practices, Holly can be found researching new travel locations.