We’ve always said remote workforces can revolutionize companies. However, it took a worldwide pandemic for some businesses to actually make the leap! Over the past few months, thousands of workers have gone digital – and some of them are finding the reality of working from home lonely.
Is working from home lonely?
We’ve known for years that the tendency towards remote work is rising. Last year’s report by Owl Labs says that 62% of US workers worked from home at least once a week, and if newer research is anything to go by, it seems that working from home is here to stay, even post-Covid.
Being a digital worker offers a freedom and flexibility that most other jobs don’t. With all the available technology at your fingertips, all the pesky entrails of your typical nine-to-five can be forgotten. What many people don’t see is the challenges that come with it. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle and balancing work and home life are just two of the very real issues faced by remote workers. During the pandemic, many newly-turned remote workers have also had to bid goodbye to their social lives. Without meaningful, face-to-face interactions, loneliness and depression are often rife.
Dealing with working from home depression
Loneliness and isolation are bad for your mental health. Due to the current situation, we’ve been asked to physically distance ourselves from people outside our immediate family, so we’ve had to skip out on that refreshing coffee with colleagues, or the natter at the gym. For previously social animals who are now obliged to spend most of their time working from home, depression can potentially become a very real concern. Here are some of our tips for overcoming loneliness and depression when working from home:
#1 Stick to a routine
Whether we like it or not, we human beings thrive on routine and this may be part of why we are productive. Finding yourself at home for hours on end may initially give the impression of having all the time in the world, but without some clever time management, you could easily find your working hours dwindling from your previous productive eight to less than five. This is particularly true for working parents whose children are staying at home due to the closure of schools. Juggling homeschooling, video calls and an endless parade of household chores may inadvertently suck up all of your available time, leaving you frustrated and unmotivated.
Simple changes, like waking up every day at the same time and changing out of your pyjamas, may do wonders for your psyche. Other routine-related tips include scheduling tasks and not working at weekends and public holidays, if you hadn’t prior to the pandemic.
#2 Give yourself a break
Whether you’re a new or seasoned remote worker, saving your sanity should be one of your top priorities. Giving yourself a break is essential if you want to shake up what could become a monotonous existence if you allow it. If you’re the type who doesn’t know when to stop, you should fit breaks into your schedule. Useful apps like the Tomato Timer will help you manage your time and maximise productivity.
#3 Get some sunlight
If you have a history of or are prone to depression, working from home right now can easily have you sinking back into it. Working digitally already requires remaining indoors more often – now, due to the pandemic, you can forget taking your laptop to the park and enjoying some sunshine. Which means you’re depriving your brain of much-needed serotonin, a substance whose production is triggered by natural light. Serotonin is proven to contribute to feelings of wellbeing and happiness, so ensuring you get at least 15 minutes a day of sunlight is vital for your mental health. If you can’t go for a short walk, even a few minutes a day on the balcony or in the garden will suffice. Who knows? You might find yourself to be a nifty gardener.
#4 Stay physically active
Remote workers typically lead a more sedentary lifestyle than their nine-to-five counterparts, especially now that most of us are confined to our homes. Besides the obvious physical implications that working at unsuitable surfaces – such as on a couch or bed, or at a table that is too high or too low – lack of exercise can lead to feelings of apathy that are detrimental to your mental health. Doing regular exercise can help combat anxiety and depression by releasing endorphins into the brain. If you don’t know where to start, a look on YouTube is all you need – tons of new exercise and fitness videos are uploaded every day for all ages and abilities.
#5 Keep your screen time to a minimum
Excessive screen time is known to enhance symptoms of depression, and the current situation isn’t making it easier for us to know when to switch off. It can take an active effort to tear yourself away from the screen – I myself have used a timer with my kids and try not to touch any devices after 6 pm.
#6 Keep in touch with others
During these uncertain times, technology has come through for us in ways we couldn’t have imagined up to a few years ago. Having to maintain physical distance from family and friends can be hard, especially if you live alone. If you’re feeling lonely and want to connect with a relative or close friend, go for a video call instead of an email or text. Body language can account for over 60% of communication, so it makes sense that seeing someone’s facial expressions and gestures, even if they are over a screen, will feel much more real than talking over a phone.
#7 Think positive
Maintaining a cheerful state of mind while working at home can prove difficult if you’re constantly checking the news. Experts say that taking a break from all the depressing news surrounding the Covid-19 situation can help decrease your anxiety. If you do feel compelled to follow, make sure you use reliable sources and avoid clickbait titles that carry little to no useful information.
#8 Watch your eating habits – too much alcohol, fatty foods, binge eating
Whether or not you suffer from anxiety or depression, working from home in itself often encourages the development of bad habits. Smoking, drinking too much alcohol and snacking are bad for you physically as well as psychologically.
#9 Don’t forget your hobbies
It’s easy to neglect yourself when you’re working from home and staying indoors all day long. Now might be the perfect time to pick up a new hobby (or 10) and do things that make you happy. Work in a few little breaks into your schedule and make sure you give yourself some time to do what makes you feel good.
#10 Now’s your chance!
If your hobby is writing, now’s the perfect chance for you to make the most of it. This is especially a good option if you or a family member is temporarily out of income. We offer content writing services to online businesses, and we are always on the look-out for new freelance writers to join our global team. Sign up today and start writing that stress away.