As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent safety procedures, many organisations are quickly scaling their remote workforce to accommodate this new era of digital collaboration.
If you are one of the employees at home and adjusting to a new routine, mental wellness should remain a top priority in your day-to-day planning. Beyond the regular stress of your role and responsibilities, symptoms of fatigue, frustration and anxiety can all heighten with this new change of environment. To help you build your arsenal of mental wellness strategies, here are six essential focus areas for your approach:
Think beyond your brain
Even though we are discussing your mind, your cognitive health is dramatically impacted by your body. The way that you care for your physical self has a direct correlation to your ability to cope with anxiety. This practice can include anything from implementing a daily exercise routine to improving snack habits or meal-prepping nutrient-dense lunches. Small decisions made consistently over time can have a large impact, potentially lessening the side effects of depression, anxiety, ADHD or stress. A focus on physical health can also improve your memory, self-esteem, sleep patterns, self-esteem and general energy.
Monitor your stress
Not all stress is bad; sometimes it helps us keep a deadline or motivates us to do our best work. However, unhealthy or excessive amounts of stress can affect our ability to perform, or even have the motivation to get up and out of bed.
It’s more than just an emotion; over time, stress can impact your immune system and therefore your overall health. When these reactions become chronic and recurring, they begin to affect our body and mind’s operating systems. Identify factors or changes in your new environment that may be heightening your stress, and address each outside influence one at a time. For things outside of your control, implement a practice of deep breathing and meditation to cope with the perceived stressors.
Communicate concerns early
If you begin noticing patterns of heightened anxiety, depression, frustration or stress early on while working at home, share your concerns with a partner, friend, manager or trusted colleague. Leverage your network to build support around you and identify potential areas for concern.
Use employer-provided resources
Many organizations offer remote-friendly resources to employees seeking to improve their mental wellness. Whether it’s a quick telehealth appointment or a free online exercise class, make sure to take advantage of the resources provided to you. If you’re not sure what options are available, contact your Human Resources department for clarification. For business without an existing mental wellness program in place, consider contacting executive leadership to express your concerns and share some of the initiatives that may be worth looking into.
Prioritise a personal schedule
If your job allows, leverage the flexibility of your remote working position to adjust your workday hours to fit your individual needs and preferences. A night owl won’t perform their best at the hours of the early bird; look for ways to closely align your schedule to peak productivity time slots. Experts also suggest setting alarms to help you develop a daily rhythm for your pre-planned schedule and using a time-tracker to manage your efficacy.
Stay creatively connected
I’m not saying you need more Zoom meetings. In fact, it’s likely the opposite. As a remote employee, you might be subject to long, virtual meetings for the majority of the day. This can quickly cause fatigue and burnout, hurting your overall mental wellness. Look for alternative ways to connect with colleagues, friends and family outside of a formal video chat. Leverage social media or other digital tools to engage in a meaningful way without scheduling another call.
Listen to your body and brain
You know yourself better than anyone else. As you focus on both your mental and physical health while working from home, don’t compare your experience to others and hone in on what’s going to make the most change for you individually.
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg.