Pandemic. Lockdown. Quarantine. It’s no surprise these were recently chosen as words of the year by our favourite dictionaries. From our homes to our work to our relationships, COVID-19 has upended almost every aspect of our lives.
Given these dramatic shifts in the way we relate to the world and with each other, it’s also not a surprise that we are now seeing the negative mental health impacts of the pandemic. In fact, it was only a matter of time.
In my practice, I have seen a significant increase in clients seeking help in managing stress related to their work, especially from those working from home. For some, it seemed to be a novelty at first to be able to work from home… you got to sleep in a little later, you didn’t have to sit in rush hour traffic, you got to wear your comfy clothes and be in the comfort of your home, and you could have lunch with other family members who were also home.
However, the stress from working at home seems to now be taking its toll.
Many people are experiencing stress due to feelings of isolation, lack of boundaries between work life and home life, extra work being added on to the day, loneliness, lack of social engagement, and difficulty balancing work duties and home duties. The levels of stress and anxiety have increased to astronomical levels and continue to show detrimental effects.
5 tips to manage stress while working from home
If the novelty of working from home has worn off, here are a few tips and ideas to help you deal with work stress more effectively:
1. Start Your Day off Right
If you are working from home it can be helpful to get yourself ready for the day as you normally would. We all know that when we get ready for our day by having a shower, getting dressed, and following our normal morning routine, we can feel more productive and better about ourselves. So, try to incorporate that morning routine back into your day!
2. Develop a Routine/schedule
Create a daily or weekly schedule for yourself. Without a schedule, we sometimes feel unproductive, overwhelmed, or scattered. Having a plan for the day/week can provide that needed structure, can help keep us motivated, and can help organize our mind.
3. Give yourself proper breaks
Whether you incorporate a few breaks into your day or take a lunch break, giving yourself time to decompress is important. Go for a walk, have a bath, schedule a lunch date, exercise, or do something you enjoy! Any of these options can help give you a much-needed break in your day.
4. Connect with friends/family/coworkers
If you find yourself missing those hallway chats it’s because relationships are vital for all human beings. Continue to connect outside of work with friends, family, or coworkers. Whether you meet up, connect over the phone, or do video chat keeping those connections is vital to your well-being.
5. Set Boundaries
Establishing work time boundaries is key. If you are working from home, oftentimes boundaries between work and home overlap and you will catch yourself checking emails, answering questions, finishing off an hour or 2 of work outside your normal work hours. Establish and be very clear about your work hours to not only yourself but your coworkers.
These are just a few tips to help maintain stress levels during an unprecedented time. Please reach out if you would like more support around stress and how to help handle it more effectively.