When working remotely it may seem like you’ve got it all… flexible hours, the freedom to travel and a better work-life balance.
However, If you’re working outside of the office, it can be easy to lose track of some telltale signs that you aren’t taking good care of your mental health. Not having coworkers around, constantly traveling or even just staying inside at home can all hide bad behaviors and habits.
Taking good care of your mental health and remembering to stick to some basic rules can make you happier, healthier and more productive. Most of the advice is basic, but these are often the ones we forget to do the most. We teamed up to prepare this text with guys from Remote-how.
Don’t just stay alone, get out socialise!
Working whilst traveling or from home can sometimes be a bit of a lonely experience. Not meeting coworkers in the office, socializing with other people or constantly moving place can all lead to a feeling of loneliness. Its effect on your mental health and your work can be drastic.
Loneliness can also lead to anxiety and depression, all associated with an increased rate of mortality equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day! Your productivity, teamwork, and number of completed tasks can all be decreased due to the knock-on effects of being lonely.
Think about your particular situation and think about whether you are socializing as much as you could be. If not, try and fit in some sessions doing something with friends, new people or family. You can even combine it with something productive or practical like sport, education or a hobby you want to develop. Overall, make sure to have some fun whilst doing it and take time to unwind.
This can reduce stress too, as well as combat loneliness. Working in a coworking space could also be an option for meeting new people and being in a more social environment. The number of these spaces are increasing in huge numbers around the world, so you should be able to find somewhere nearby from most places.
Easing into your day and learning to switch off. Make sure to keep some line between your work day and relaxing
One of the best benefits of working remotely can also be a bit of a double-edged sword. Having a great degree of flexibility and working at the times that suit you is an enviable thing to have.
However, your work life and home life can become a bit blurred when they are essentially the same place. This also counts for traveling too. When most people have left the office, they will leave any new tasks until the next working day. But when your home is your office, there’s always the option to just get back to work.
We’re in an age where everyone incredibly accessible through the internet or phone. Getting out of work mode is much more difficult when you can be reached constantly by your colleagues or boss.
Try and make a habit of not responding to calls or messages after a certain time, creating more of a boundary between your work life and home life. I always find that not checking your emails the first thing when you get up can make your mornings a lot more relaxing and stress-free. Most things can at least wait until after breakfast!
Make sure also to have some dedicated wind town after finishing work. You can ease into this by leaving less difficult tasks until the end of your day. Reply to your last emails, check any relevant news and updates and save the larger tasks for the morning. Create a routine that works for you and stick to it! You’ll feel even more ready to relax then once the workday is finished.
Give mindfulness a go for managing stress
Stress is pretty common in most people’s jobs. A little bit of it can help improve your concentration and performance. Too much however can have serious negative impacts on your mental and physical health.
While most remoters have lower levels of stress in general than standard office workers (82% according to PGI, stress can sometimes strike! There are multiple methods of dealing with it, but I particularly recommend giving mindfulness a go. In fact, it can be used in a lot of different situations as well!
Mindfulness is a technique for making us more aware of our emotions, physical feelings, and biases that occur on a daily basis. It allows you to take a step back and assess how you’re feeling from afar, evaluating emotions and refocus our attention to how we feel at the present.
One really great tool for practicing mindfulness is headspace, which goes through the basics needed to get started. Like many other skills, it’s something that needs regular practice for you to get the most out of it. Try 10 minutes a day before bed or in the morning at first and see how it can fit into your schedule.
Physical exercise can help your mental wellbeing
Staying fit and active physically has a positive knock-on effect on your mental wellbeing as well. It can be difficult when working from home to find the motivation to leave the house, however. This makes for a pretty sedentary life which isn’t healthy at all! Even just some basic exercise like going for a longer walk, doing some yoga or cycling can make a big difference in how you’re feeling.
Aerobic exercise releases endorphins into the bloodstream that improve mood and also ultimately reduce the amount of cortisol and adrenaline present in the body. These two stress-inducing drugs are in large amounts bad for mental health and can lead to burn out.
You can also look at the social side of getting involved with a sport to get more interaction in your day. This can sometimes be a challenge when working from your house or always traveling.
Want more tips on staying healthy and productive when working remotely?
These are just some of the things team of Remote-how recommends for people wanting to take care of their mental health when working remotely. If you want more tips, tricks and lessons though on how you can improve your remote work skills in general, you check out their Remote-how Academy.
You’ll find there top advice given by remote work experts from companies like Doist, Buffer or Github. By completing the course, you can become a remote certified individual and show employers that you have the relevant skills to work remotely. They also got a learning program for employers that are looking to make their work environment more flexible.