REMOTE WORK & MENTAL HEALTH
Each coin has two sides and you get to witness each side as time does its thing. Like most things in the world, remote working has its own boon and curse. While the concept of remote working was new or unacceptable for the world, we all experienced it when we witnessed an outbreak of global pandemic Covid-19. The world has been grateful for the break it gave them to introspect, rebuild themselves, change habits and see the world from a different scope. With bad comes the good and visa versa, Covid-19 has been pretty much the same for most of us. While we came in terms with the pandemic and the changes it brought, we surely struggled a lot with the new ways of work. While some of us enjoy working remotely, we also are out here struggling with the impact it's leaving on our mental health.
What we have experienced may want us to continue with this new normal but we are still finding our pockets at managing this life easily and efficiently. Remote working can bring challenges that are beyond the struggles of managing work from home but more about managing work life balance. Here’s a quick reality check of what may come in your way of remote working and how you can eliminate work from home stress like a pro.
Needless to mention, isolation is the biggest struggle we all face while working remotely. Office is called a second home as you spend half your day there with your extended family i.e. your work colleagues. But while you work remotely, there’s barely any interaction that takes place with your remote work colleagues except work related conversations on mails or group chats. We as social animals are bound to miss social interactions especially when we are spending most of our day with them. You might crave striking conversations that are not work related just so it’s a little less isolating for you. You might miss those weekend outing plans with the whole team and waiting for Friday to end so you could go home and dress up to leave. Well there are still ways for you to have the social connection going without meeting them. Here’s how!
a) Plan virtual chilling weekends.
Start off with communicating with people you deal with at work and suggest to them plans to chill. It may be awkward at first to be suggesting new ways of chilling but we all are rowing the same boat and your effort will be an ice breaker. You can plan virtual drinking plans and plan games over it. You can plan a virtual movie night with the whole team. You can try a new way of pot luck lunch by planning it virtually. Conversations in the pantry can be given a new shift by taking up things virtually. This way you can beat the isolation and begin to form a connection with your colleagues even if you can’t meet them personally.
b)Acknowledge the cause and effect.
Learn about reasons that are making you feel isolated. Try understanding the psychological effects of working from home by reading articles online. Is it due to bare minimum social interaction or is it due not being able to vocalise how you feel about your work? The first step to solving any issue is to acknowledge its roots. If you are going to be in constant denial about the cause and its existence, the issue will pile up causing even greater breakdown in the longer run. So open up. Find or seek for the person you trust the most or someone you’re comfortable with and vocalise about your emotions. Take a small break, plan a small trip, a road trip or a vacation, give yourself the break your mind is seeking for and start off fresh in a few days. This habit of disconnecting and connecting back will eliminate chances of you feeling isolated throughout the working span.
2. Burn out
Remote working gives an upside of having flexibility in the working hours. But sometimes project dues or big events can cause you to work for extra hours. Flexible hours can also make you stall the work which can eventually lead to work being piled up. Not to forget one of the biggest reasons for burnout is blurred out lines between work life and personal life which happens due to working from home on most days. If you think you’re getting close to burn outs while working remotely here are a few things you can try to prevent it and enjoy your remote job like it’s supposed to be enjoyed.
a) Keep modifying your Schedule.
While you may feel sticking to your schedule is crucial while working remotely, let us tell you modifying it every once in a while is equally important. To avoid monotony in your way of work, you might want to keep switching hours of work. Find which set of hours work best for you and keep switching between them. This will also help you maximise your tasks in those hours depending upon the targets set for the week without exhausting yourself by spending endless hours at it. So say no to monotonous life and overtiring days and keep switching between multiple schedules designed by you. Find yourself flexible jobs that won’t cause you burnouts with Gorewo.
b)Walks during Sunset or Sunrise.
Walks can be really therapeutic and calming when you’re by yourself. It gives you room to introspect, gives you a short break without doing too much to enjoy the break and also keep you fit. Nature around you can be pretty inspiring and sky changing its colour during this time of the day can be all the motivation you might be seeking for. To add on to this small break, we suggest leaving your phone at home but if you’re someone to enjoy music with the walk, put it on airplane mode and turn on your playlist. Practice this small way of disconnection everyday and you might be addicted to a great habit to sail smoothly in your remote working journey.
3. Work Life Balance
Meeting targets is important and moreover your responsibility but taking care of your mental health is an equally important responsibility. It is really important to be aware of your abilities to push yourself and how much you can pull off in a day. Working from home can blur the lines between work and personal life. You might fall in the habit of cancelling your personal plans for work because you are in charge of running tasks in the time that suits you. This can eliminate your only source of social interaction and mental break which can later lead to irritation and agitation towards your work. Try out these things to maintain a healthy work life balance while you continue working remotely for as long as you please.
a) Learn to set boundaries.
Don’t overestimate your potential. Learn about your abilities to perform things by starting off slow. You might be able to perform tasks quickly in an office environment but things can be different when you are working remotely. So be patient and gauge ways to figure out your threshold, how far you can go with your day and set your boundaries accordingly. Learn to say no to things that are beyond your capacity rather than getting stuck with it and cancelling the rest of your plans in stress to finish the existing task.
b) Limit your media consumption.
While your personal life can be at stake, you might also end up disrupting your work balance by going overboard with silly habits. Avoid excessive use of media as you may not know when to stop scrolling (knowing how addictive it gets). Besides you might end up having a notion in your head that you have no personal time left for yourself when it won't even be true but you might end up believing it to justify your habit of excessive consumption. Rather start a reward system by basically letting yourself scroll social media for a few minutes after you’ve achieved a set target and that’s how you can balance things out.
4. Mental Health will affect Physical well being.
If you were to hurt your elbow you are obviously going to be sad or agitated about that accident. In the same way, if you are not mentally at peace your physical well being is bound to be affected by it. You might observe feeling difficulty getting out of bed on days you’re not motivated to work, you might end up feeling sick on days you are not inspired to perform a task. This sickness is not the same as the one thermometer shows but more as a reflection of your mental being on your physical being. How can you tame these feelings? How can you keep your mental as well as physical well being in check?
a) Physical activities with the team.
Team that grinds together shines together. While physical exercises will uplift your mood instantly and ensure fitness, a virtual group work out plan will be even more fun and exciting. This way you will have the entire team be on the same page of fitness and you wouldn’t feel so alone practicing these activities. It is unreal to exercise with everyone everyday but you can plan a day off the week and have a group workout session. You can make it fun and entertaining by keeping a score board for everyone’s target and end up rewarding one another.
b) Hydrate and feed yourself good!
They say good food instantly brightens up the day and they say it right. When you’re agitated or upset you usually tend to lash it out by skipping meals or by not paying enough attention to what you feed yourself. Although you might not feel like eating on the days you feel low, push yourself to treat yourself with your favourite meal. It can be a cookie or a giant meal, the goal is to TREAT YOURSELF. Food definitely lightens up one’s mood and good food, well see it for yourself. Hydrate yourself and treat yourself more carefully on the days you feel low as it will immediately cheer you up in unexpected ways.
What to keep in mind?
It’s not like the world is coming to an end if some things are going haywire. We humans end up adapting to all the unusual changes and we are definitely going to adapt to the challenges that come with remote working too. So stay focused, calm and composed as it may seem too much to process when times are tough but eventually all cards will fall in place. Always try communicating issues with your friends or your work colleagues. Vocalising your emotions will help you understand and fight them better. Remote working can be really fun as you get to plan your day and work in your flexible hours. Make use of this leverage and start off your journey in remote working by finding suitable jobs at Gorewo. Hope this article helps you in coping up with the negative thoughts and give you a positive outlook on remote working.