Coronavirus has presented with challenges that the current living generations have not seen. Because of the uncertainty that revolves around this, it is important to find ways to work so that the economic activity does not stop. With the volume of layoffs, it is important for businesses, and for employees, to find means to continue working so that more problems do not arise. As a result of the quarantine, many people are telecommuting for the first time, being isolated from their colleagues, friends, and family members.
This disruption in daily lives can cause a lot of anxiety and stress, and impact physical, emotional, and mental well-being. While the uncertainty around the duration of the quarantine and lockdown persists, we need to take care of our health now more than ever. Experts are predicting a slump in productivity not just by the decreased activity but also because of the effect of being forcefully quarantined at home. So here are some ways you can manage your stress while working from home
Handling Social Isolation
Social isolation, if done voluntarily, can be nice and peaceful. However, over time, it can get dull and claustrophobic. Here are some things that you can do to handle isolation blues
Keeping Yourself Busy
Staying busy is a great way to reduce the feeling of isolation due to quarantine. You need to set a strict routine that you can stick to. You need to remember that you’re working from home, not on vacation.
Make sure to take time out to talk to loved ones during your schedule. Taking up activities is also a good way to keep yourself occupied. You can pick up an old hobby, take up a project you’ve been postponing, or discover new ones. New activities like music have been proven to reduce isolation, even if it is just listening to some.
Keeping Yourself Healthy
It is easy to slack off and get into the lethargy of food and work. In fact, exercise has a proven relationship with workplace productivity. Add healthy foods to your diet. Keep yourself hydrated and eat a lot of fruits. Make sure you do some exercises.
Now that you can’t risk going out for your daily jog or bike ride, you can always do quick exercises in your house. You can always go for a short walk around your house to get a breath of fresh air. The quality of the air you breathe is just as important as the work you do at home. Exercise can improve your mental health significantly.
Understand if anyone around needs any assistance. Be willing to help them because they may not be equipped to deal with the crisis as well as you are. This isolation can affect the elderly a lot. They may be confused, clueless, lost, or need help. Ask how you can help them and get them their medicines or other daily needs.
Children, given their hyperactive nature, might find it hard to stay at home. It will be a task to convince them to isolate themselves. Get them to help you around with the chores at home. Include them in the household tasks so that they feel responsible. Lastly, help the men and women who do the chores in the house. If your spouse is usually in charge of the household, give them a helping hand so that they don’t get overwhelmed.
Handling Emotional Problems
Dealing with Anxiety
Anxiety can be a major impediment to a successful work-from-home. In fact, a study showed that people generally felt shunned or anxious when working from home because of the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ approach that comes with staying at home to work.
If you’re feeling anxious, you need to consciously recognize that and take efforts to mitigate that feeling. Experts suggest a lot of breathing exercises, thinking happy thoughts, or consciously avoiding those thoughts that cause anxiety. One good way to reduce that feeling is to take stock of what is under your control and what you can achieve with the resources you have at that moment.
Dealing with Loneliness
Loneliness is an extremely common and predictable outcome of working from home. When you add to it the fact that you’re forced to stay home, this loneliness can become crippling and cause significant harm to your mentally and physically.
At times like these, it helps to consider similar incidents in the past that have stressed you out and how you overcame them. It takes a huge effort to ask yourself what will help at that moment and implement it. The easiest way is to stay connected with people. Schedule calls with people over Zoom or other applications. Connect with your colleagues over work requirements. Talk to your loved ones. Build and repair old relationships.
What Not to Do
It is easy for people to use alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs to cope with the emotional stress of the quarantine. Not only will this further affect your mental and physical health negatively, but it will also compromise your immunity, which leaves you susceptible to common infections.
From there, it is just a straight path to being an at-risk candidate for the virus. People who have substance abuse problems need to find ways to get professional help because it is hard to get ‘fixes’ during the lockdown. Even if you do get some, the quality gets even more unreliable, thus putting everyone else at risk.
Recognize Mental Health Problems
Changes in Regular Schedules:
Just as you recognize your own mental health issues, you need to be accommodating of others’ problems too. Keep an eye out for any changes in the regular patterns in your, and others’, schedules such as
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Insomnia or hypersomnia
- Worsening health problems
- Increased substance abuse, or cravings
- Extreme withdrawal effects of old substance abuse problems
If problems persist, get professional help. Contact helplines or seek the help of your loved ones
People who have had, or have, mental health issues may face newer challenges during the lockdown and quarantine. They would face the same fears and stress factors as others, which can worsen their mental health state or their condition. This isolation means there is increased social activity at home.
Introverted people might find it hard to cope with this sudden increase in the bustle at home. This can make them more withdrawn, moody, or irritable. They may also hesitate to ask for medical help or guidance. People with health issues need to be careful, as well. If you have any ongoing treatment, make plans with your provider to issue a long term medication plan
Do not shun people with COVID infection. It is true that you need to exercise caution and care while interacting with them, but they need your care and concern as well. Remember that COVID-19 has a high recovery rate. Staying in good health and maintaining a strong support network is a good way to stay strong during this crisis.(1)
Take your medication, maintain your daily routine, stay engaged, and be positive. Remember that great mental health could help you win the battle more easily.