Work Wellness

Working from Home and Mental Health – Solving 4 of the Main Issues

Avatar of Autonomous Autonomous | Nov 26, 2020
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While working from home can be advantageous in many respects, it also presents several mental health concerns. As there's a focus on maintaining high productivity, the psychological problems created tend to be ignored. Office workers must put themselves in the direct line of fire where mental issues are concerned, and there is often no assistance for them. Below is a look at four of the main problems that arise from the mix between working from home and mental health. 

The good news is that apart from seeing these problems highlighted, you also get valuable insights into addressing them. 

1. Fatigue

Fatigue

When people hear the term fatigue, they tend to associate it with the tiredness of physical activity. However, did you know that it was possible for remote office workers to experience fatigue after working from a desk? What if you were to find out that all this fatigue is not necessarily physical? 

Mental exhaustion is just as common as its physical counterpart. Unfortunately, many people don't realize this, and they ignore this pressing problem as a whole. If you find that your thought process is not as clear as it used to be, or you are becoming forgetful, mental fatigue could be at play.

For physical tiredness, persons usually incorporate things, such as sleep, to mitigate the problem. One of the good things about mental fatigue is that there are numerous alternatives to help fight it. You can use an anti-fatigue mat, a standing desk, an ergonomic chair, a daily schedule, among other things, to help you stay mentally alert. 

2. Stress

Stress

Stress is a term that gets thrown around all the time in a variety of different contexts. While some forms of stress are beneficial for you, chronic stress is a serious problem. Studies have shown that most Americans experience some form of stress in the workplace. Do you think remote workers experience this problem as well?

You'd be surprised to learn that working from home can yield chronic stress for some of the same reasons that working in an office can. Additionally, there are other factors specific to the home, such as managing children, dealing with distractions, technological limitations, etc. 

If you're dealing with stress, there are several techniques you can try to bring things back to the point of normalcy. Some examples are deep breathing, meditation, exercise, talking to loved ones, engaging in hobbies, etc. 

3. Anxiety

Anxiety

Anxiety is another serious problem that affects a large amount of the remote work population. While working from home and stress seem to go hand in hand, anxiety gets overlooked by many. That's because of the belief that only people who have a history of anxiety can suffer from its symptoms.

While everyone is not going to get a panic attack, they certainly experience higher amounts of anxiety than usual when working in a remote setting. Performance anxiety is one of the biggest problems in this regard. The remote workspace provides a different environment, which often calls for adjustments to how employees are evaluated.

Additionally, people tend to feel like they are forgotten about if they are not seen. Naturally, this creates a situation where an employee starts to worry about job security, income, perceived performance, among other things. Of course, when someone is trying to get a job done in such a mental state, there are implications on the output presented.

One of the best ways to fight anxiety is with information. Try to find out what are the key performance indicators that your company is looking for. Talk to your co-workers frequently to maintain your presence. Understand that working to the best of your ability is the ace up your sleeve. 

4. Depression 

Depression

Working from home and depression are two things that are not commonly associated. Therefore, much of the negative feelings that remote workers feel are left up to chance when they need serious help. Feelings of depression can throw off the way that employees act and think. 

The problem doesn't always present itself as an acute downward spiral in someone's manner of thinking. It can be as simple as unexplained feelings of sadness or a loss of interest in activities that were once very enjoyable. Eventually, the affected person becomes unable to function in an optimal way, which hurts productivity. 

As is the case with the other mental health issues presented, depression is treatable. It's a good idea to limit the amount of personal time that you spend on work. Engage in personal development activities and continue to look for something new to learn. Try to get in as much sleep as is possible. Finally, don't hesitate to talk to someone if you can feel that you need assistance. 

5. General Advice

As you can see, remote work and mental health are not two concepts that should be separated. Though many people assume that the home environment's comfort leads to better mental health, that is not always the case. Humans are complex, and multiple facets contribute to the way that they think and feel.

What's important is that you make a concentrated effort to keep yourself in the best mental health that you can. A part of this means looking out for your physical health as well. It's very easy to use your desk in an unhealthy manner. Stretches, exercise, eating breaks, playing with your pet, and other activities can help you to keep your body in check as you work.

Remember that working remotely can be a monotonous task. Therefore, you need to do all you can to create a sense of variety and excitement in each new day. Try to avoid staying indoors all day, sitting for a long time, or not practicing proper hygiene. These and other mistakes are very detrimental to your mental health.

Finally, children can contribute to many of the psychological struggles that a remote workforce may face. Parenting is a job and a half, which means doing it, and your day job at the same time can be a little tricky. However, setting office hours, having fun with your children, planning properly, and other techniques can make it a little easier.

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