Dealing with Work Stress While Staying at Home

Simple tips for staying balanced as remote work becomes the new normal.

Escrito por Emily Kane

Dealing with Work Stress While Staying at Home

01 As work from home set-ups become common place for many industries, it's important people find ways to break up their weeks and prioritize mental wellbeing.

02 Making time for family members, self check-ins, mindfulness and even teletherapy, can be game changing for people feeling bogged down by the monotony of doing everything — working, sleeping, chilling — in the same environment.

03 The bottom line is that you shouldn't force yourself to be productive at all times: if you find that your work is really getting to you, the healthiest thing is to step away and give yourself a breather.

Work stress is hard enough to manage on its own, but trying to work now in the midst of a global pandemic can make the simple act of waking up in the morning feel impossible.

While working from home has its benefits, working through a crisis is a different set-up. When studying the remote work phenomenon, economics professor Nicholas Bloom pointed out that forcing people to work from home — with family members competing for Wi-Fi, no chance of social interaction, and the like — can actually hamper productivity.

But not all hope is lost. Remote work is the new normal for many industries and there are ways to make it manageable. Here are a few tips for dealing with work stress while isolating safely at home.

Reach out to your colleagues

Many of us are tempted to keep our work and personal life separate, but keeping those walls up will end up proving detrimental once your mental health starts impacting your work — especially as Healthline notes that loss of interest and fatigue are common symptoms of depression.

It's worth reaching out to a colleague, or perhaps even supervisor, and keep them in the loop while you're working through your issues. While you might not be comfortable divulging the whole story to your colleagues, simply reaching out can help both them and you find ways to make your work routine a bit more manageable. If you're feeling particularly out of sorts, it's important to be up front about your current situation while also giving your colleagues an idea of how you might be able to tackle the issue, whether it's requesting a bit of time off of work or asking for some additional help with a project.

Participate in your work's wellness program

Speaking of your colleagues, bonding with your team is one way to stave off feelings of isolation. After all, Pain Free Working’s article on workplace wellness programs points out that regular activities can help improve your behavior and overall outlook on life. Whether it's as simple as watching a stand-up comedy special together or joining a virtual quiz night, scheduling regular bonding activities with your colleagues helps tighten your bond as a team and reminds you that you're not alone.

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Take breaks as often as necessary

Our previous post on How Mindfulness Affects the Brain highlights how even just taking 10 minutes to practice mindfulness every day can have a great impact on your mental and physical health. Research has found that such mindfulness techniques may have an impact on brain function, but the key is sticking to this habit and building it up as part of your daily routine. There are a handful of guided meditation videos and tracks that are even less than 10 minutes long, which means you can easily squeeze a session into your five-minute work break.

The physical awareness you get from meditating can also help you become more aware when panic and/or anxiety attacks start cropping up. By training yourself to be aware of your breath, you're better equipped to minimize mental health challenges as they come up. Making breaks part of your daily routine also helps get rid of the constant pressure to stay productive and busy, which is in itself a huge source of anxiety for many.

Plan calls with loved ones

One of the downsides of self-isolation is that you inevitably get used to not seeing your loved ones around. Let's face it, how many of us have missed a Skype call with a friend or a family member just because it slipped our mind? It's normal to miss a call here and there, but over time you get used to not reaching out — and this can have a detrimental effect on feelings of isolation.

Although psychology professor Anna Lomanowska maintains that things like nonverbal cues and body language can be difficult to gauge over FaceTime, it's still better than nothing. Indeed, technological advances have opened up several avenues for communication, which means your loved ones are just a button away It may be weird to formally schedule a call with friends and family, but doing so ensures that you have a dedicated chunk of time to prepare yourself for and look forward to.

Schedule a teletherapy session

Managing mental health challenges isn't a solitary activity. Don't be afraid to ask for help if you need to; lots of therapists and even mental health organizations are offering teletherapy sessions that you can avail of. Even if you've never attended a therapy session before, reaching out to a counselor online can give you the tools you need to manage your condition moving forward, while also helping you feel less alone.

The bottom line is that you shouldn't force yourself to be productive at all times: if you find that your work is really getting to you, sometimes the healthier thing is to step away and give yourself a breather.

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