10 Ways to Cope With the Stress of Working From Home
The coronavirus pandemic help uncover the fact that more than half (54%) of workers want to work from home (WFH), regardless of whether there’s a crisis.
Even though WFH is popular, it doesn’t mean it’s a panacea for all of your work woes. On the contrary, remote work can lead to issues such as isolation, lack of work-life balance, health and weight concerns, and distractions by pets, family, and friends.
This can lead to high levels of stress, which should be addressed from time to time. While you’re working from home, here are a few tips to help you manage the stress that tends to come with the WFH lifestyle.
1. Create a Routine
One of the biggest pitfalls of the work-from-home lifestyle is a lack of structure. Flexibility is nice, but if you don’t create your routines, it can leave you feeling scattered and disorganized.
A routine doesn’t have to be complex. Start by structuring the activities that you already do every day. For instance, your morning can start with a process that includes:
- Making your bed;
- Getting dressed;
- Making coffee;
- Eating breakfast.
Once you have your essential elements in place, you can consider adding extracurricular activities like exercising, reading the news, or meditating and praying. A good routine can help you maintain momentum and get things done throughout each day.
2. Have a Dedicated Workspace
A dedicated workspace is a critical part of keeping stress levels low. If you work from home, it’s easy to blur the lines between work and your personal life. This may make it difficult to feel like you ever get off the clock. It can also make it easy for personal distractions to interrupt your work.
The best way to remedy this is to dedicate a specific area of your home for work and work alone. In addition, make sure to keep this space clean and decluttered. A messy workspace can make it difficult to focus, add to anxiety, and disrupt sleep.
3. Adhere to Work and Home Boundaries
A dedicated space is a good first step, but you want to make sure that you’re setting up boundaries between your professional and personal life everywhere. For instance, if you have a family or roommates, make sure that they know not to disturb you when you’re in your home office.
It’s also important to establish a schedule. You don’t have to make this rigid, as that would undermine the blessing of a flexible remote-work lifestyle. However, make sure that you know when you’re on and off the clock. That way you can focus on work during work hours and genuinely turn off notifications and unplug when you’re resting.
4. Reward Yourself
Rewarding yourself is a great way to help you stay motivated and focused. If you work from home, you likely spend all of your day “putting out fires” in the same physical space. You go from dealing with work issues in one room to addressing life issues in the next.
One way to help you survive this draining cycle is to reward yourself from time to time. This can be anything from taking a break to going for a walk, reading a book, or getting a drink.
Make sure to shake up your reward system every so often, too. Predictable rewards can lose their charm quickly. Adding a dash of randomness to your life can keep things exciting.
5. Ensure a Good Night’s Sleep
The CDC recommends that adults over the age of 18 get at least seven hours of sleep each night. Along with getting enough sleep, you also want to make sure it’s high quality. You may find that you’re getting up to check work notifications or tend to your kids.
With all of your life crammed into your home, there are plenty of reasons to let your stress eat into your sleep quality. Make sure that you’re doing everything you can to make your sleep as deep as possible.
6. Eat Better and Drink Water
Eating and drinking are easy-to-overlook aspects of a stress-free work-from-home lifestyle. When you spend the bulk of your life operating within the same four walls, it’s easy to lose track of time. Moving from one responsibility to the next can feel endless after a while. This can make it easy to miss out on some basic self-care concerns.
Along with things like sleep, you also want to think about how you’re eating and drinking. Hydration is critical. It’s also easy to overlook when you’re sitting at your office desk all day long.
Take some time to read your body, do some research, and figure out roughly how much water you should drink each day — remember, coffee doesn’t count. Try to at least follow the four-to-six cup rule. However, you may find that you need more water than that.
Additionally, make sure to invest in crafting a quality diet to keep you well-fueled at all times. It’s easy to lean on junk food when you’re stressed, but if you have a solid diet in place, you can keep your mind and body fueled with clean, healthy nutrition.
7. Make Time for Socialization
The WFH lifestyle is often criticized for its tendency to isolate individuals, and with good reason, too. When you have little-to-no need to interact with coworkers (and even then, doing so digitally), it’s easy to slip into a hermit mindset. Interacting with your family members in a perfunctory manner doesn’t count as socialization, either.
Make sure to take some time to purposefully engage with others. You can do this by:
- Planning “unplugging” nights to bond with your family members.
- Inviting others to come over and spend time with you.
- Visiting friends and family at their homes.
- Setting up times to engage in hobbies, exercise, and other productive activities with your loved ones.
Socialization doesn’t just keep you from isolation. It also heads off serious things like depression, anxiety, and stress, all of which can go unchecked when you’re alone for extended periods.
8. Try Adding Supplements
Along with nutritional food and plenty of water, it’s important that you meet your nutritional needs through supplements. The specific supplements required will vary from one person to the next, but a few common examples include:
- Vitamin B12 to help with strong cognitive function;
- Vitamin D to help with a lack of sunlight during the winter;
- Cortisol to improve sleep and regulate your metabolism;
- Vitamin C to bolster your immune system;
- L-Theanine to support the nervous system and reduce stresses and strains;
- Glutathione is an antioxidant booster and stress reliever.
These are just a handful of the options available. Consider how stressed you are and look for the root of that stress. Then talk to your healthcare provider to see what vitamins would be best for you to take.
9. Exercise Regularly
There are plenty of ways to get some physical activity in, even when you work from home. You can do a workout while you watch television, start gardening, or even take a few minutes every hour to walk in place.
10. Practice Mindful Self-Care
Self-care can be a lifeline to peace and tranquility. If you’re working from home, you may need to invest in some purposeful, mindful time spent caring for your own needs.
You can do this by meditating and praying, practicing yoga, or going for a nature walk. If you’re feeling particularly burned out, you could even take a longer mental health break to truly unplug and get some prolonged stress relief.