In the past year, Coronavirus has changed how we all live our daily lives, and this new version of the world has proven to be a major challenge for all of us. Amongst everything else, working during a pandemic is pretty difficult. We all are facing anxiety about our health and our surroundings, but even so, it is easy to get lost in work and put your well-being on the backburner.
One major change that came from the past year is the culture of remote working. Working From Home (WFH) is the new norm and it seems like it will continue for a long time. However, while it sounds amazing and easy, that’s not always the case. Working From Home can tend to get more stressful because now there is no distinction between home and office life.
“Whatever you find relaxing and that you can do to break apart your day and institute a clear boundary between ‘work time’ and ‘home time’ is the right thing”. – Kate Sullivan, Consulting Psychologist.
ThoughtCloud HQ is joined by @kaelinmichele.art to discuss ways we can enter the weekend with less stress and anxiety.
Here are some challenges of Working From Home:
Management of time becomes an issue:
There is no distinction between office hours and personal hours anymore. This makes it hard to separate your work and office life, and can eventually lead to overworking and burnout.
Communication tends to become a barrier:
Having an in-person conversation is usually more effective than a phone call or a video call. There is a lack of human interaction, and not being able to meet people tends to have a negative effect on our work life.
Difficulty in setting boundaries:
it is difficult for so many of us to say no! This ends up being one of the biggest reasons for stress.
being reliant on networks means that when the internet does not work, you become paralyzed and cannot get things done.
Bad health habits:
stress can lead to overeating, lack of exercise, drinking, smoking, and other unhealthy habits.
Overworking and stressful environment:
not being able to manage the distinction between home and office eventually leads to a stressful environment.
Lack of structure and routine:
due to staying at home, it has become difficult to keep a track of time. Such a lack of structure and routine makes you ineffective and unproductive.
Too many distractions:
Working at home with family around can lead to a plethora of distractions during the day, and ends up affecting your productivity.
not being able to go out and meet your loved ones and your friends can negatively affect your mood and well-being.
Difficulty in focusing:
A lack of workspace and office atmosphere makes it difficult to focus on work and give your 100%. This will then lead to stress and feelings of being incapable of getting things done.
Stress has been a constant factor when it comes to working.
Let’s take a look at some worrying statistics:
- 7 in 10 adults reported that work tends to affect their relationships.
- 6 in 10 adults listed work and money as a significant source of stress in their life.
- 40% of workers reported that their job is extremely stressful.
- Stressed workers incur healthcare costs twice as high.
- Workplace stress is linked to 70% of visits to the doctor.
If working from home has been affecting you, we’re here to help!
Ways to Destress While Working from Home
There are many different ways you can unwind and relax while working from home. Without further ado, let’s jump right into it!
Take a workout break every day!
For most of us, WFH has been an excuse for us to be our lazy selves when it comes to physical health. Lack of physical activity ends up affecting your health. Having a strict and regular workout regime gives you a much-needed break, boosts your energy, improves your mood, and improves your overall productivity. However, maintaining a routine is not as easy as it sounds. Start small and work out for 10-15 minutes every day. Once you see the results, you will be more motivated to work daily for the same. It can be any kind of workout – walking, swimming, exercising, dancing – whatever works out the best for you! If nothing works out for you, at least go out for a walk/jog. Consider walking to your stores instead of using a vehicle. Any physical activity helps!
Give yourself breaks:
It is easy to lose track of time and end up working beyond your normal working hours! An office usually has set work hours, but WFH can go on and on. You will always feel like there is something else to be done before you end the day. You may feel productive for some time but after a while, you will get exhausted and experience constant burnouts. One way to avoid this is to set up a particular time when you stop working for the day. This will help you maintain a schedule for your after-office hours. However, you need to ensure that you follow this, no matter how hard it seems!
Create a post-work ritual:
This is so important! A lot of times, once you are done working, you may feel like simply resting and not doing anything else until it’s time to sleep. While that may sound wonderful, it is not good for your physical and mental health. Your body and mind need a routine to function effectively, and having a post-work ritual can help with that. When your body knows a routine, it divides its energy based on that and your mind can switch from work to relaxation more easily. Your post-work ritual can include going for a walk, taking a shower, meditating, making art, and so on. Do whatever you love to do in your free time. It will keep you happier and help you focus during the day.
Listen to music or entertainment podcasts:
Music helps in reducing stress and improving your mood. There are plenty of playlists that can enhance your mood and help make you productive. This helps you to enjoy your work and go through the day with ease. Moreover, you can also listen to entertaining podcasts during your breaks to distract yourself from overwhelming working situations. Doing little things like these will go a long way in helping you face the day and work efficiently.
Create a positive work environment:
It’s very important to have a separate workspace/office in your home – somewhere you can work without any stress or disturbances. You should not deal with outside stress where you work. Keep it outside. Have framed quotes, cute stationery, or whatever makes you happy around you, so that it adds a certain aesthetic to your surroundings. Keep aboard that is filled with things and quotes that motivate you. Creating this positive work environment will inspire you to work better and be more satisfied with your work.
Sitting in one place can wreak havoc on your mind and body. Movement is a great antidote to stress and that is why you need to incorporate short breaks into your daily routine. Even a five-minute walk or a quick exercise will reduce stress and frustration at work. Walk around your house, meditate for a bit, lift weights, or even dance – do whatever works for you! Moving around is beneficial for your physical and mental health.
Communicate your needs with your colleagues:
In remote working, communication can easily become a barrier, as you are not meeting your colleagues in-person but rather connecting with them through a screen. Such a barrier can easily affect your work and can make it difficult to achieve work goals. One way to improve this is to have daily online meetings where you discuss work or other things to bridge the communication gap between you and your colleagues. Another effective way is having team-building exercises and fun games that can help employees connect even in a distant working scenario.
Set stopping points:
In remote working, it is easy to lose track of time and to end up working more than you intended! Having consistency in your schedule and routine will help your body work at its optimal and will help you focus on being healthy. Have a firm stopping point every day, no matter the hour. Your personal life needs your time and in the long run, it will end up benefiting your job.
Take a proper lunch break:
Back in the office, lunch breaks were often at a fixed time. However, in a WFH scene, you may think of taking a break once you are done with a particular assignment or once you meet a deadline. This may result in you taking your break at 3 PM, which is not good for your healthy routine. If you want to stay healthy and not fall sick, you need to be good to your immune system, and that includes eating on time and hydrating well. No matter how important the work is, take a break! Your body will thank you in the long run. Plus a break in the middle of the day will make the second half of your work schedule better and help you be productive till the end of the day.
Turn off technology:
While this may seem a little difficult to do, you definitely can achieve this with discipline.A typical day often means you are on your laptop or PC for 8-9 hours during work and then either on your phone, laptop, or binge-watching your favorite show on the TV. This is not good for your eyes. Give yourself some time to detox by switching off all devices for at least an hour every day. If that sounds too hard, start with 30 minutes. Take that time to read a book, take your pet out for a walk, exercise, or meditate. This will help rest your eyes and make you feel better and refreshed.
Have a work-free morning routine:
This is something we have all been doing at points throughout the lockdown – waking up a few minutes before the beginning of the workday. However, doing this regularly is not ideal for you in the long run. We suggest that you wake up at least an hour or two before work and prepare for the day that lies ahead of you. This can include going for a walk, eating a healthy breakfast, taking a shower, and writing down your to-do list for the day. This will enhance your mood and get you excited for the day that lies ahead. Any kind of planning is known to make you feel more in control of yourself and this will reflect in the form of positivity in your work. Some other things you can do before work are yoga, meditation, reading, and maintaining a journal.
Enjoy your weekend!:
One more thing you can do for yourself is not taking the stress you have throughout the week into your weekend. Your weekends are meant for you to enjoy and unwind. Sometimes you may have a plethora of pending work, but even so, you should just ease into your weekend and give yourself a break. Try to do things for yourself, meditate, release the tension of the week, get a massage, and do whatever it takes to relax! Remember, weekends are not made for worrying about the next week!
Focus your energy:
Your energy needs to be aligned with your inner self. Surround yourself with multiple positive energies and have a set plan in place if things get too overwhelming for you. This can include doing all your favorite things or other relaxation measures. Put your feet on the earth to feel in tune with the world.
Take a warm shower or a bath:
Washing away the tension from your body will work wonders for you! It is known that water has a calming effect on your mind and soul. A hot shower will help your muscles relax and cold water energizes the cells in your body. You can even light some aromatic candles and use Epsom salts to calm your mind. Once you are done, you can moisturize your body for a continued relaxing effect.
Get out of the house:
You need a change of scenery at regular intervals. Go out in nature and take long strolls. You can even go for a little walk in your own backyard. Some fresh air will help your mind wander and help you destress.
Socializing is another way of relaxing! Spending time with your loved ones will give you the distraction you need from the everyday stress of life and work. Go out with your friends and loved ones. Surrounding yourself will love and positivity will have a calming effect on your life and help you unwind. You can also call up your friends and check on them. Solitude is not ideal for your mental health and picking up the phone or video calling a friend can make a huge difference.
Practice self-love and compassion:
Let’s face it – these are troubling times and none of us could have ever anticipated this happening. So if you can’t give 100% on a certain day, don’t beat yourself up for it. Some days, even doing the bare minimum will prove to be effective. Give yourself permission to relax and don’t let stress consume you. You need to realize that you are strong enough to get through challenging situations.
Unleash your creativity:
Creativity is known to have a positive effect on your mind and your body. This can be as simple as designing a great Instagram post or creating a Boomerang. Releasing your creative energies will give you a much-needed boost and train your body to relax even in stressful situations.
Get enough sleep!:
Again, sleep is extremely important. No matter what, strive to get a minimum of 7-8 hours of sleep. Make your bedroom your sanctuary and remove all distractions before you sleep. We highly recommend that you power down electronics 30 minutes before going to bed. Let your room be a place to unwind and destress. Ensure that you don’t work from your bed – it will fill up your room with negative energies. If you find it difficult to sleep, use apps that help you practice mindfulness.
Your desk or your room may get untidy and you may not have enough motivation to clean. A messy desk will be a major stress inducer on bad days. A great idea is to clean every day for at least 10-15 minutes. This will help you in improving your productivity and take your mind off things for the time being. Cluttering usually worsens existing tension and if you don’t clean every day, dust and dirt can affect your physical health! Keep only essentials around you and give away what you don’t need. Practice decluttering in both your house and your mind. No matter what, you deserve to have space, energy, and clarity to improve your overall well-being!
Anxiety while Working From Home:
For a lot of us, the past year has been a huge trigger for anxiety and depression. Here are some tips that might help you cope with the times:
- Make your decisions about which kinds of news and media to follow.
- Stay informed and try not to get overwhelmed.
- Spend time with your loved ones and talk to them about your worries and concerns.
- Get in touch with a mental health professional if it gets too hard to manage.
Benefits of unwinding and relaxing while Working From Home:
- Lower blood pressure
- Improvement in metabolism
- Healthier blood sugar levels
- Less muscle tension and chronic pain
- Improved sleep quality
- Less anger and frustration
- Better overall health
- Boost in confidence
- Less stress and anxiety
- Avoiding burnout
To sum up:
Working from home is likely how society is going to function for a long time. Adjusting to this new way of work may be tough at first, but with effort, you’ll be able to thrive.
Have faith in your ability to adapt. Pat yourself on the back for making it till here. Remember: we are all in this together!
Thank you for reading and all the best! Stay safe!