The largest hurdle to face when working from home is a feeling of isolation. Extended periods of time alone, especially when you’re not used to it, can leave you feeling anxious, uneasy and lonely. These feelings can be compounded by our current circumstances.
Make a point of speaking with at least one person on your team each day. Take time to connect with co-workers on a personal level, the same way you would if you were at the office — those extra moments go a long way.
Try out the Text4Hope - Supporting Mental Health & Wellness in a Time of Stress & Isolation - Get a daily text message from Alberta Health Services - Alberta Health Services program Text4Hope – a free service providing three months of daily Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT)–based text messages written by mental health therapists.
Want more info on how to connect? Check out the AHS Social Isolation & Loneliness Toolkit
Structure your routine
Staying on top of getting ready in the morning helps you start your day refreshed and gets you into a more productive mindset — it also prepares you for any unexpected video calls! Many people who work from home advise to set daily goals, eat at regular times, get consistent sleep, and most important, to separate work time from home time. During office hours, try to stay in your work mindset, but allow yourself to take breaks and enjoy the perks of being at home by catching up on small household tasks.
It can also be helpful to create a physical separation from your workday and personal life. Instead of a commute, try taking a short walk around the block at the beginning and end of your workday to signal that separation.
Exercising can significantly lower anxiety levels, and boost serotonin — and there are plenty of ways to exercise at home. Simple stretching throughout the day, (Stretch and Strengthen) or an exercise app can get your energy flowing and feel refreshed without leaving the house.
Spending time in nature is also sometimes referred to as ‘ecotherapy’ because it has been linked to lower blood pressure and stress hormones. During off-hours, take some time to visit a local park or drive to a favorite hiking destination to take in the outdoors and get some fresh air.
Switch off at the end of the day
Working from home can often blur the line between home and work life, which makes it hard to disconnect from work-related tasks at the end of the day. Be sure to make a clean break from your email and work phone after work hours and enjoy more leisurely activities. It is also a good idea to discuss the boundaries of work and personal time with your leader and team.
With ever-changing news and social media updates, it may also be helpful to reach for a mindfulness app rather than your Facebook or Instagram app. Or check out Dr. Toupey's Luft's presentation on Mindfulness.
Reach out to your support systems
Healthy relationships with family, friends and loved ones are vital to your own mental well-being during this time. Be sure to check in with them on a regular basis, just as you would with your colleagues.
At ULeth, we are still here to support you, even if you’re not on campus. Mental health services and supports are available for students, faculty and staff.
Faculty and Staff:
Homewood Health - Employee Family Assistance Program - 1-888-713-8623 or Homeweb.ca