In the last two months we’ve seen a total upending of normal day-to-day life. This kind of abrupt change and uncertainty can be overwhelming and scary. If you’re working remotely, balancing work and personal life may be even more difficult and it’s easy to feel burnt out. While we navigate this new normal, we wanted to share 5 tips to help you reduce stress and anxiety while working from home.
Know when to turn the technology off
Now, more than ever, it’s important to take a break from your devices. Between constant emails, video meetings and calls with friends and family it’s easy to spend the entire day tethered to some form of technology. Knowing when to step away is key to reducing stress while working from home. Computer and phone screens are known headache triggers because of the blue light they emit. We recommend taking breaks to rest your eyes and utilizing the 20-20-20 rule (look at an object 20 feet away for 20 seconds every 20 minutes) when you can’t fully disconnect. As many of us get our news online, the constant influx of information and media can also be anxiety provoking. It’s important to be informed, but acknowledge when it’s time to shut down for the day to prioritize your mental health.
Back to basics
Eating well, drinking enough water and sleeping may sound obvious, but can easily fall by the wayside when you’re feeling stressed. If you were new to working remotely, the transition to working from home full-time may have required you to rethink your daily routine. Setting a daily schedule that allots time for meals is a great way to make sure you’re getting proper nourishment each day, as opposed to just snacking periodically. Drinking water throughout the day is easy to forget, especially at home, but it’s so important to avoid getting dehydrated. And last but not least, make sure you’re getting enough sleep. According to the Mayo Clinic, “the quality and amount of sleep you get can affect your mood, energy level, concentration and overall functioning.” If you’re having trouble sleeping, rethink your bedtime routine. Are you using your phone right before you go to sleep? Is there too much light in your room? Are you watching TV in bed or doing something more mindful like reading? These are just a few things to consider.
Tapping into friendships is a great way to get support when you feel stressed. Just because we’re operating in a physically distanced world, doesn’t mean we have to stop socializing altogether. Setup a reoccurring Zoom Happy Hour with friends or schedule regular calls with family to stay engaged with your relationships. Connect with colleagues regularly throughout the day, even if it’s just for a quick chat via instant message. If you’re feeling overwhelmed at work, talk to your manager. They’ll be able to help you prioritize your to-do list and may have suggestions on time management. Bottom line, try not to isolate yourself even if that’s your initial inclination when anxiety creeps in.
Incorporate physical activity into your routine
Exercise is an excellent stress-reliever no matter how athletic you are. Physical movement helps reduce tension and can increase your endorphins thus lifting your mood. Whether you’re going for a walk outside, doing a free class online or setting up a virtual dance party in your living room, getting your body moving throughout the day is key to reducing anxiety. In addition to exercise, taking time to stretch periodically is a great idea when working from home, especially if your new desk chair leaves something to be desired. A quick 5-minute stretch break in between meetings is a great way to clear your head and improve the physical health of your body.
Find what sparks joy for you
One of the best ways to curb your stress is by getting absorbed in an activity you love. Whether you’re an amazing baker, a creative artist or have a green thumb, make time for the things you’re passionate about every week. When you feel anxiety creeping in, distract yourself with a project you love. If you find you have more downtime, consider taking an online class. Working on your professional skillset will have you feeling more confident at work and set you up for success in the future. Knowing how to reduce stress and anxiety is the first step, now it’s up to you to put these ideas into practice. For more tips on finding success working from home, click here.