Working from home is now a trend since the COVID-19 pandemic. Whether it’s your company’s mandate or you’re a freelance worker, working remotely seems to be exciting at first. Say goodbye to 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 are highly affected. Here are effects of work-from home setups to your mental health.
Mental Health Effects of Working From Home
Is there a work-life balance when working from home? We hope so. When you work tirelessly and are not taking breaks, this may lead to stress, anxiety, and depression. For adults who are working from home, it’s supposed to be fun. But when you don’t get enough balance, this may affect your mental health. So what are the factors that affect our mental health?
Social Isolation & Loneliness
One of the perks of working from home is you get to avoid that annoying co-worker or toxic team members. But what about your office mates that you love hanging out with? Having no social interaction everyday for months can make you feel lonely and isolated; thus, it will affect your mental health.
Many adults in corporate jobs talk about their health in the workplace. Some say that companies and team members produce a 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 the lockdown.
Another perk of working from home, especially freelancer workers, is getting to control your time. You can straight jump out of the 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, you should have the flexibility to manage your time properly and disconnect from work. You should learn how to place a boundary between work and home life to avoid the risk of work burn-out so you can look after your mental well-being. A schedule must be present. Having a schedule for work and yourself is self-care. Learning to balance your time is key to a 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 where you feel that your issues are unsolvable and there’s nothing more you can do to improve your situation. Anxiety towards your future is present and it 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 weight loss).
- Angry or irritated most of the time: A person with depression gets angry, agitated, 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, drinking too much alcohol, gambling, or driving while intoxicated.
- Lack of Energy: Always feeling tired, physically drained, and sluggish all the time is a sign of depression. Even the smallest tasks seem too hard and it creates stress.
- Self-loathing: There are strong feelings of guilt, worthlessness, low self-esteem, and always doubting yourself. Self-loathing may affect your view of yourself, the companies you work for, your tasks at your jobs, and other people.
- Other signs of depression for work from home employees are Lack of concentration, unable to accomplish tasks, unexplained physical problems, or tardiness in meetings.
How to Take Care of Your Mental Well-Being While Working From Home
If you experience some of these 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, there are many tips you can follow.
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. Also, 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 if it’s time for rest. Make sure that while you’re working, you have a work environment free from distractions. Dedicate a quiet, organized, and dedicated home office for you to stay productive and finish your tasks on time. Mess can cause stress too.
Stay Connected With Your Family and Friends
Take care of your mental health by staying connected with your friends and family. During today’s time, we are encouraged to be in isolation to prevent spreading the COVID-19 virus. However, you can still be social with your family.
Take time to bond with the kids, have a yard picnic, this can also help with your kid’s mental well-being. The truth is, your friends and colleagues who work from home also experience challenges with their mental health too.
Stay Active and Exercise Regularly
One great way to take care of your mental well-being and at the same your physical health is to stay active and exercise 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 avoid work burn-out, prevent mental illness, and helps boost your concentration.
Talk to Mental Health Professional
Get fresh air, eat healthy, engage yourself 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. It is important to talk to someone about your mental health. If you can’t leave the house, there is Telehealth Counseling from Kentucky Counseling Center you can enjoy from the comfort of your home.