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Mental Health and Remote Work

The Impact of Pivoting to Work from Home on Mental Health

For many people, the shift to working remotely has required us to re-think how we take care of our mental health. The usual self-care and self-compassionate practices we’ve relied on in the past need to be adjusted to support our well-being in this new situation we find ourselves in. If you haven’t yet developed any mental wellness strategies to take care of yourself while working remotely, now is the time!

New situations naturally bring on new feelings of stress. Working remotely can cause the following stressors: isolation or disconnectedness, feeling unable to ask for help, receiving negative feedback in an impersonal way, reading into a co-worker’s tone over text communications, increased anxiety surrounding your own non-verbal communications, time management, and an inability to create concrete boundaries.

We can cope with new elements of stress but it means we need to strengthen our mental resilience first.

The Signs of Burnout that Stem from Working Remotely

Now that our working environments are in our homes, it’s a lot easier to let the line between working hours and off time blur. Remote work can be great for some people who really benefit from having a more flexible workday but, without the separation of leaving your home every day, we’re working longer hours, maybe without even realizing it and this can lead to burnout. Burnout is a state in which we feel emotionally, physically, and mentally exhausted and is usually caused by being stressed for a prolonged period of time. To make sure you’re aware of your own burnout or the burnout of your coworkers and employees, here’s a few things to recognize:

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  1. Loss of confidence. This means they that might be showing a more tentative side to themselves when it comes to collaborating or communicating at work.
  2. Change in levels of socializing while at work or a drastic dip in energy. Have you noticed that one of your coworkers has been avoiding casual drop-in sessions or doesn’t respond to your coffee break chats via teams?
  3. Less careful when completing work. Someone who is burnout is more prone to making little mistakes that they wouldn’t normally.
  4. Physical illness noticed through more days off than usual.
Dealing with Burnout and Building better Boundaries

Work-life balance sounds great but seems unattainable. To create the right balance for you or your business you need to draw personal boundaries that work for you that allow you to prioritize both work and rest.

Here are some things to implement to keep a good work-life balance

  1. Avoid promoting a ‘hustle’ culture at your workplace. Instead, try sharing healthy ways of taking breaks during the day instead of promoting or encouraging over-working behaviours.
  2. Try not to send work emails after hours – try scheduling that email to hit your team’s inbox the next morning during their workday instead, so they don’t feel pressured to answer you during their time off from work.
  3. Build in social interaction into your work from home situation using chat or video functionalities.
  4. Speak openly about mental wellness and show that it is made a priority at your place of work.
Resiliency for Remote Work and Wellness

Working remotely can be overwhelming, especially when you’re operating amidst uncertainty. Stress can impact how we operate while at work and can negatively affect our productivity and well-being. Here is some advice about how you can build more resiliency working from home to prevent burnout and be well.

 

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  1. Create a workspace that supports a calm and productive environment. This could mean that you treat yourself to new office equipment like an ergonomic chair or move to work in different places around your home throughout the day, or even dress up your desk by adding photos or personal objects that inspire and motivate you while sitting at your desk.
  2. Try to time block or segment your day into manageable chunks. Working remotely has required us to assess the hours in our day and make room for both work and life in a new setting.
  3. Be intentional with your breaks and spend time outside. It’s important to step away from your computer when you’re taking a break so that your mind has time to be away from your work zone.
  4. Schedule time for yourself outside of work and caring responsibilities. Doing something for yourself if only for 30 minutes allows you to have the space to re-center yourself and reenergize your social battery and ultimately refill your wellness cup.
Take Action to Improve your Mental Wellness while Working Remote

Making your workplace more aware of mental wellness in a remote setting starts with you. Do your best to encourage others to prioritize their mental health and have open conversations about mental wellness. Promote good habits like mindfulness, maintaining a balance between work and life outside of work, and actively foster an environment where others feel that they can reach out for help whenever they are struggling. Take this time of change and look at it as an opportunity for discovering new things about yourself and find alternative paths for taking care of yourself, your well-being, and those around you.

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