6 Tips for working from home without losing your sanity
The flexibility is great, but the isolation can get a little much sometimes. Here's how to be productive in your work while keeping your mind healthy
Working from home, as a freelancer or otherwise, can sound like a dream: no commute, no need for office attire, and the ability to avoid hordes of chattering colleagues. If you’re someone who enjoys having the ability to set your own agenda, or that works better when in a silent space, then remote working could actually have a very positive impact on your productivity and mental wellbeing.
That said, those that work remotely can also face a great deal of solitude. Freelance, remote workers often won’t have the same support network that they would if they were based in an office—whilst chatter might be a bother when working to a deadline, that same buzz can also lead to laughter, shared experiences and camaraderie.
A recent study by MoneySupermarket found that there are currently over 2 million freelancers in the UK. This figure is set to spike dramatically as the coronavirus forces many more people across the UK to stay at home—perhaps working remotely for the first time ever. Both for those used to working from home, and those new to the phenomenon, during this time, it is important that we collectively ensure that our mental wellbeing is taken care of. David Brudö, CEO and co-founder of mental wellbeing and personal development app Remente Shares his top tips on how to safeguard your mental wellbeing whilst working in solitude.
1. Manage your mindset
The COVID-19 outbreak will inevitably cause a lot of uncertainty. As uncertainty has impacted our survival chances negatively, it, in turn, can lead to feelings of being unsettled, fear, and stress. A study by Nature Communications actually found that our fear of uncertainty is so ingrained in us that we actually prefer pain over uncertainty.
We need to accept that we cannot control the current situation, however; we can control our reaction to it. Your mindset will be key here and reflection and goal-setting can help manage how we react and feel about the spread of the coronavirus.
You can practice daily reflection by, for example, journaling. There are so many benefits to journaling including, acting as an outlet for processing emotions, and doing it on an ongoing basis can help increase self-awareness.
Create a routine
Keeping a daily routine is important as it can provide you with some sort of normality in an otherwise uncertain time. This routine does not need to look like the one you normally follow. Yes, you need to make sure you get dressed in the morning, eat at least three healthy meals per day, and sleep 6-8 hours per night, but also have fun with it and adapt your routine to fit your current situation. For example, if you used to commute into work, use the time you’ve gained back to exercise, learn something new, or enjoy some “me time”.
Make tasks manageable
Minimise stress and anxiety by setting goals that you want to achieve. This will help you to feel more in control of the situation and give you a better direction. Try to break down tasks into small and manageable components, instead of one long to-do list. For example, instead of saying “complete assignment”, try to set smaller goals you can allocate a set amount of time to. This will help you concentrate on the task at hand and help prevent procrastination.
Health practitioner Daniel Marvies at Instash says ‘Logging your time and tasks throughout the day ensures that you are not only productive, but adopt a structure within your routine. As humans, we respond well to structure as it keeps the brain focussed and encourages an increase concentration levels’.
Join forums and organisations
In order to help prevent any feelings of isolation and loneliness, consider joining freelance forums and organisation pages on social media, where you can chat and discuss issues with other remote workers who might be facing similar problems as yourself. Freelancers who are in these groups already are most likely veterans and can, therefore, likely share insight into how they fight loneliness. In fact, just discussing how you are feeling can help you feel less alone.
Keep in touch with friends
Good friends are among the most valuable elements to leading a fulfilling life. We need to talk to our friends, and listen to them, both to enjoy a good laugh, but also to have a support network to help us cope with the challenges life might throw our way. Without a connection to our friends, we may experience loneliness, and this could in some cases turn into depression.
As you’re sitting at home, working, make sure to take five minutes to connect with a friend. For example, suggest scheduling a virtual lunch date or an after-work drink with colleagues over Google Hangouts. We bet they’re just as isolated and stir-crazy as you are.
Lastly, it is vital that you take time off and pause for a while to reflect. A good way to ensure you do this is to take a little time each day to relax. With hundreds of tried and tested relaxation techniques available, there are guaranteed to be a few that will work well for you, regardless of your location or the reason behind the stress. It definitely takes time to find a technique that works for you, but you can experiment with techniques like meditation or breathing exercises or anything else that you like the sound of.
Read more: Why pain is important
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