Stay on top of your wellbeing with these essential suggestions
Occupying the same four walls every day can certainly take its toll, not least on our mental health. Although remote working offers more flexibility and freedom, the lack of social contact can leave some employees feeling isolated. And with the number of people working from home some of time expected to rise to 25% by the end of this year, it’s more necessary than ever to take care of our emotional wellbeing. But what are the solutions?
As someone who has worked remotely for over a year now, I know just how difficult it is to keep positive when left to your own company. So, I have drawn on all my domestic wisdom to create an easy guide for those who might find themselves struggling in 2023.
Make every step count
Exercise is absolutely essential if you are working from home, particularly for cultivating a strong mental attitude. A study from the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health found that even just running up to 15 minutes per day, or walking for an hour, can reduce the risk of major depression by 26%. It doesn’t sound like much exercise, but it’s more valuable than you might initially believe.
Long periods of inertia, such as those spent indoors, have been known to cause a variety of depressive symptoms including low self-esteem and tearfulness. Physical activity not only releases endorphins, which serve to relieve stress and pain, but also gives you a break from your work routine. Whether it’s cycling or pilates, spare just 15 minutes each day and you will notice the difference in your mindset immediately.
A change of scenery
Even subtle changes to your routine can make all the difference in your mood. Though it may seem rather frivolous, changing your workspace every now and again can keep things from growing stale. Trust me, there is nothing worse than inhabiting the same room for months on end. You might as well be chalking tally marks on a prison wall. Therefore, changing your surroundings is an effective way of reviving your enthusiasm.
Rather than spend all your time hunched behind a desk, why not migrate around your house or kick your feet up somewhere more comfortable? If you are feeling adventurous, you could even work from a café. These little escapades lend your week a certain degree of variety, and prevent the days from bleeding into one another.
Reconnect with nature
There’s nothing that gives people who work from home quite so keen a pleasure as getting outside. It’s been well-documented that greater exposure to the outdoors has a host of benefits, from increased happiness to a heightened sense of purpose. I found that taking daily walks in the countryside can have a relaxing effect on the mind, releasing you from the claustrophobia that comes with long-term remote working. Allot a small portion of your day to outdoor activities, whether it be during your lunch break or a short interval between meetings. This will reduce your stress levels and make you realise there are finer things in life than your computer screen.
Sunlight is vital for your mental wellbeing as it maintains your internal body clock, otherwise known as your circadian rhythm. Long periods of time without sunlight exposure can disrupt this cycle, causing your brain to limit the release of serotonin. This chemical is important for many bodily functions including sleep, digestion, and mood.
I discovered that the best way to guarantee yourself enough sunlight while working from home is by using a seasonal affective disorder (SAD) light. This device imitates sunlight, which is especially helpful in the winter season. I recommend sitting near this light for 30 minutes each morning to lift your mood, and add some brightness to your day.
Awaken your social butterfly
Remember to keep on top of your social life. While you might enjoy your homely comforts, it doesn’t mean that you should distance yourself from others. If most of your social interactions are via Zoom, then it might be worthwhile to schedule more plans in person. Psychologist Susan Pinker states that face-to-face interactions activate a fusion of neurotransmitters, which police anxiety and stress levels in the body. This is because something so minimal as a handshake or a hug releases oxytocin, and reduces your cortisol levels. Don’t deprive yourself of these happy hormones by staying indoors every evening. Get some plans in the diary. It’s the small things that go a long way to improving your mental health.
To access support for depression, visit the Counselling Directory.