For many remote employees, the freedom and flexibility that come with working from home drives them to perform their best outside of a traditional workspace. Yet, working remotely can also inadvertently take a toll on an employee’s mental health.
What Is the Link Between Mental Health and Remote Work?
Working remotely, employees don’t have the ability to engage with coworkers, superiors, and others like they would in the traditional office setting. As a result, remote workers are increasingly prone to stress, anxiety, and other mental wellness issues rooted in being physically isolated.
Tips for How to Look After Your Mental Health While Working Remotely
An employee can do many things to look after their mental health while working remotely, such as:
1. Know the Signs and Symptoms of a Mood Disorder
Watch for depression and other signs and symptoms of a mood disorder. Workers may experience physical symptoms like sleep and eating changes and headaches, and emotional side effects such as feelings of sadness, loneliness, and helplessness. Over time, these issues can make it difficult for a remote worker to perform their best. “You don’t feel passionate or engaged with your work (if you’re burned out),” says Cynthia Olson of Family Enthusiast.
The physical and emotional symptoms of depression won’t disappear on their own. However, if remote workers identify these symptoms in their early stages, they can find ways to manage them before they become too much to handle. “Feeling a bit down and disconnected can be normal from time to time, but when [these symptoms] become more frequent and hope begins to fade, there could be a problem brewing,” says licensed marriage and family therapist Rachelle Bloksberg.
2. Establish a Daily Routine
Remote workers may benefit from developing a daily routine that promotes a healthy work-life balance. For instance, Ben Tanner, a physician assistant and founder of FastingWell, notes that he starts his day with journaling and walking. Tanner also performs meditation and exercises during the day; these activities help him stay grounded.
3. Manage Your Time and Establish Milestones
Remote workers should account for both their professional and personal lives, says Sonya Schwartz, a relationship expert and founder of Her Norm. Schwartz points out that scheduled breaks can help employees stay on track during their work shift and ensure that they still have plenty of time to spend with family members and friends past work hours.
Establishing project milestones can also make a difference in terms of mental wellness, says Maggie Chin of Explore the Plain. Once project milestones are in place, employees can work diligently to achieve their project, professional, and personal goals.
4. Maintain a Healthy Diet
Healthy meals that contain high volumes of vitamins, minerals, and nutrients can help maintain energy during the workday. As such, Sarah Franklin, program director at the Stepping Stone Center for Recovery, notes that eating well should be a priority, especially for remote workers.
5. Engage with Work Colleagues
Daily interaction with colleagues can have significant positive effects on remote workers’ mental health. “Humans are social creatures. Even the biggest introvert needs some socialization,” says Vanessa De Jesus Guzman, a licensed professional counselor and CEO of Free to Be Mindful. “Whether it be virtual or face-to-face at a distance, humans crave some kind of daily interaction.” Those who work remotely can take advantage of video conferencing technology to host a wide range of social events, including virtual birthday parties and lunches.
6. Set Up a Home Workspace
Remote employees should create a dedicated workspace that drives productivity and efficiency; this space should also promote mental wellness at home. “Keep a dedicated home office, work desk, or workspace, depending on how much room your home has,” says Jamie Bacharach of Jerusalem Acupuncture. “This will promote mental health while keeping you in a work-mindset and limiting distractions.”
7. Practice Self-Care
As the workday progresses, remote workers should continuously take care of themselves. It can be tough to maintain a healthy work-life balance, Olson states. However, those who meditate, journal, or practice other mindfulness activities may be able to find a healthy balance between work and life.
8. Enjoy Time Outdoors
Take a walk, go for a jog, and enjoy other outdoor activities. Even taking a few minutes to get a breath of fresh air can provide a break from the hustle and bustle of everyday tasks and alleviate stress.
9. Get Sufficient Rest
At the end of the workday, remote employees should make it a point to relax and get a good night’s sleep. By getting seven to nine hours of sleep each night, employees can wake up feeling refreshed, rejuvenated, and ready to do their best. “Getting more sleep could help you feel more grounded,” says licensed professional counselor Kasia Ciszewski of Charleston Counseling Services.
10. Establish Boundaries
Resist the urge to work 24/7. Instead, remote workers should try to work the same hours they typically would if they completed tasks in a physical office setting. They should also shut down from their job at the end of their shift and avoid work emails and phone calls. Seeing as most of us are on the go a lot less these days, it can even be helpful to remove work email accounts from your personal cell phone. This can help remote employees to truly disconnect and destress when they’re not working, and protect mental health from nonstop work habits.
11. Connect with Family Members and Friends
Set up daily or weekly phone or video chats with family members and friends. These chats help remote workers stay connected to loved ones and share their concerns, feelings, and thoughts with them. They also allow these employees to regularly engage with important people in their lives outside of work, leading to a greater sense of balance.
12. Pursue Medical Help
There is no need to wait to pursue help for mental wellness issues. If a remote worker believes their mental health is deteriorating, meet with a doctor. The employee should also notify their supervisor, who may be able to provide additional support to help this worker feel their best once again.
Achieve TMS Offers Mental Health Treatment Options for Remote Workers
The remote workforce is growing, but adjusting to working outside the traditional office can contribute to various mental wellness problems, and even cause depression or anxiety if left unchecked. For remote workers who want to pursue treatment for depression and other mental health issues, the team at Achieve TMS can help.
Achieve TMS is the nation’s leading provider of transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) treatment for patients coping with depression, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), and anxiety. Our medical clinicians and technicians are happy to meet with remote workers and others who are struggling with mental health issues and determine if our revolutionary TMS program can help them improve their mental wellbeing. To learn more or schedule a consultation, please contact us online, or call or text us today at 877-909-4363.