By Ivana Babic….
The pandemic struck suddenly, and it struck hard. The whole world found itself struggling to keep everything from falling apart in all walks of life. Once the initial shock died down, we have found ourselves adjusting to new circumstances, trying to manage and keep our work-life balance afloat. Thanks to the power of the Internet, many were fortunate enough to be able to continue working from safer locations. Today, we have grown accustomed to appropriate safety measures, but they have undoubtedly taken a toll on the mental well-being of many. Let’s pause for a bit, breathe in, and take a look at how we can improve our mental health in these delicate times.
What hides behind the benefits of remote work
At one point, you must have enjoyed the perks of working from home – not having to commute, dress up every morning, not having to deal with the stress of a hectic office. However, after a while, you might have noticed the first signs of losing your enthusiasm and motivation. Your productivity declines, it’s hard to focus, and you find yourself missing the early commute and the crowded office.
How to get back to your A-game
In order to get back on track, you need to be aware of the signs of mental health decline. Here’s what to look out for and some very efficient suggestions to beat the lock-down blues.
You’re experiencing anxiety
Our usual outlets like socializing with friends and colleagues in person or engaging in our favorite sports activities outdoors are not an option to an extent we are used to. Instead, after a long day at work behind a screen, we have no choice but to socialize online as well. Being restricted in such a way may cause anxiety and irritability. You feel restless and easily annoyed as if you can’t get anything done right and on time.
Routine to the rescue. Working from home doesn’t mean you should be in your pajamas till midday. Get dressed before you punch in, make yourself comfortable, and most importantly – be assertive with your family about your office hours and how important it is for everyone to take them seriously. This kind of mindset will definitely make you more productive and focused. You can finish work on time and even squeeze in some fun while chatting with your colleagues or engaging in online team-building activities. Being satisfied with your work will leave you with more energy to spend quality time with your loved ones.
Your feel unfulfilled
Have you ever heard of “anhedonia”? It is the inability to enjoy activities you once found pleasurable. In times of lock-down and social distancing, it is not uncommon for one to feel unmotivated, but this may well be a sign of depression and lead to more serious consequences.
Therefore, it is vital to acknowledge and act accordingly. Do a little research and find hobbies that really pique your interest. Perhaps they’ll be something completely new, or they might be something you’ve always wanted to do but just couldn’t find the time. Furthermore, expanding your professional skill set will also bring you great satisfaction. Now we have the privilege of online courses, and if your usual hobbies don’t bring you joy anymore, this might do the trick. Whether you are an economist, teacher, or a certified medical professional, you’ll find online courses that will not only help you pass the time but also step up on the career ladder.
You notice drastic changes in your appetite
This may manifest either as an increase or a decrease in appetite. Neither is good, and indeed a sign something is out of place. If you find yourself munching all the time, eating large quantities of food, waking up to raid the fridge at night, it just might not be lockdown boredom, especially if you’re working from home. Besides eating your emotions, you’re tempted to get up for a snack whenever your concentration at work breaks. Or – you can get lost in your work so much that the first time you remember to eat is late afternoon or even evening.
Again, routine is the answer. If necessary, set your alarm and try to eat every day at the same time. Avoid eating at your desk and try to have some company, even if it is online. You can even arrange a fun online lunch with a colleague and spend your break enjoying a meal without shoptalk. Try to eat healthier. Food deliveries have never been more popular, but there’s an absolute thrill in making a healthy meal by yourself. There are options that are not time-consuming and great for your overall well-being. Ten minutes of browsing the net, and you’d be amazed at what you can find.
These are challenging times, but the trick is to accept the challenge. Embrace the changes and make the best of the resources you have available. Working from home is not all that bad if you manage your time well and stick to healthy routines. Look at it as a new and exciting way of life, an opportunity to form new habits and acquire new skills. After it ends, you’ll be left with an irreplaceable sense of accomplishment.