Working from home is now a trend thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s your company’s mandate or you’re a freelancer, working remotely seems to be exciting at first. No more traffic, long commutes, work schedules with no flexibility, toxic co-workers, and you get to spend more time with your family. But in the long run, remote workers notice some changes in their mental and physical health.
With the lack of social interaction and physical activity, remote workers’ mental well-being is highly affected. This article will discuss the effects of work-from-home setups on your mental health.
Is there a work-life balance when working from home? There should be. Working long hours and not taking breaks may lead to stress, anxiety, and depression.
Working from home can be fun. But when you don’t get enough balance, this may affect your mental health. Below are the factors that affect our mental health in the work-from-home setting.
One of the perks of working from home is you get to avoid that annoying co-worker or toxic team member. But what about your office mates whom you love hanging out with? Having no social interaction every day for months can make you feel lonely and isolated, affecting your mental health.
Many adults in corporate jobs are aware about how their workplace affects their health. Some think companies and team members can cause mental health decline. However, some gain confidence, leadership skills, and social skills in an office setup—this is especially true for extroverts.
Anyone who lives alone is more prone to loneliness when working from home, which greatly affects their mental health. In addition to this, social interactions are limited. There are travel restrictions to visit families in other cities, and there are no social gatherings in bars and restaurants due to lockdowns.
Another perk of working from home, especially for freelancer workers, is getting to control your time. You can jump straight out of bed and attend meetings in your pajamas. But here’s a downside: with your workstation inside your room, you end up squeezing in work from any time you please, and this can lead to work burn-out, anxiety, stress, sleepless nights, and mental health problems.
When working from home, try to be flexible in managing your time. Learn to disconnect from work at the right time. Draw the line between work and home life to avoid the risk of work burn-out so you can look after your mental well-being.
A schedule is therefore a must. Having a schedule for work and yourself is self-care. Learning to balance your time is key to harmonious work life.
How to Know If You’re Suffering From Work From Home Depression
When you’re unable to look after your mental health while working from home, this may lead to depression. How do you know if you’re suffering from a depressive mood because of your work setting? Here are the mental health warning signs you should look out for:
- Lost of interest in daily activities: You don’t like doing hobbies you used to enjoy, or you’re too lazy to do your everyday tasks.
- Feelings of hopelessness and helplessness: There are times when you feel that your issues are unsolvable and there’s nothing more you can do to improve your situation. You feel anxious about your future, and this affects your view on life.
- Changes in sleeping and eating patterns: You may experience sleepless nights and a change in body weight (weight gain or loss).
- Angry or irritated most of the time: A person with depression gets angry, agitated, and has a short temper even for the smallest or unexplainable reasons. When living with another person, this can affect your relationship with each other.
- Reckless behavior: A warning sign of depression includes issues in activities that may cause self-harm and poor decision-making. This may include substance abuse, alcoholism, gambling, or driving while intoxicated.
- Lack of energy: Feeling tired, physically drained, and sluggish all the time is a sign of depression. Even the smallest tasks seem too hard, creating stress.
- Self-loathing: You notice strong feelings of guilt, worthlessness, low self-esteem, and self-doubt. Self-loathing may affect your view of yourself, the companies you work for, your tasks, and other people.
- Other signs of depression for work from home employees: These include lack of concentration, inability to accomplish tasks, unexplained physical problems, or tardiness in meetings.
If you experience some of the mental health symptoms mentioned above, please address them immediately and do not allow your mental health to spiral downward. Feeling sad or lonely for a short period is okay. What’s not okay is not taking care of your mental health.
So if you, a colleague, or a family member who is working remotely want to avoid depression or any mental health issues, below are some tips you can follow.
1. Follow a Regular Schedule
Consider working from home as a regular job and follow a schedule that will not affect your work performance and at the same time not cause a work burn-out. Suppose your remote work requires you to work for 8 hours a day, time yourself using a timer.
Make sure to take regular breaks like you’re in the office (1-hour lunch break, 15-minute morning and afternoon snack break). If your remote work is project-based, set a realistic goal on the tasks you can accomplish for the day.
Setting a regular work schedule programs your body and mind when it is time to work and rest. Make sure that you have a work environment free from distractions.
Have a quiet, organized, and dedicated home office for you to stay productive and finish your tasks on time. Mess can cause stress, too.
Take care of your mental health by staying connected with your friends and family. Currently, we are encouraged to isolate ourselves to prevent spreading the COVID-19 virus. However, you can still be social with your family.
Take time to bond with the kids. Having a yard picnic with them can also help with your kid’s mental well-being.
One great way to take care of your mental well-being and physical health at the same time is by staying active and exercising regularly. If you can go for a jog or walk in the park, do so. If you can’t leave the house, there are always home workouts you can follow online.
Studies show that exercise reduces stress, thanks to the happy hormones released by the body. This can help avoid work burn-out, prevent mental illness, and boost your concentration.
Get fresh air, eat healthy, engage in your hobbies, and always look after your mental health. If it helps, talk to a mental health professional if you’re feeling overwhelmed, anxious, or depressed.