remote workers exercise at desk

The Remote Workers Mental Health Checklist

Maintaining your sanity while working remotely can be a challenge. It’s so easy to get consumed by too much work when it’s following you around wherever you are at whatever time of day. Unlike traditional work settings where there is a designated time and place for work, remote jobs don’t offer the same normalcy.

Factors that challenge mental wellness for remote workers

Isolation

Not everybody thrives well in solitude. While calm and quiet gives people a good break from office politics, it might make them feel lonely in the long run. There’s no cafeteria to chat over lunch with colleagues, no coffee station where you can sneak in a bit of small talk, or no next-door cubicle. Overall, your chances of getting some social interaction throughout the day are slim.

Non-conducive work environment

Unless you invest, you won’t have the automatic privilege of a standard office with a desk, a chair, and other necessary equipment like computers. Newbies with little funds to start with might settle for a laptop and any workable space like the bed or the kitchen. While it may only seem like a slight discomfort, it could compound into serious physical stress over time.

Zero boundaries between work and personal life

One of the hallmarks of remote work is that it makes it so easy for work to encroach into your personal life. It’s like not ever having a specified time to clock off. Since you can take work with you anywhere, it seems work is following you everywhere you go. Without proper time management, you may begin to feel as though you’re on call 24/7 for the rest of your remote career.

Frequent changes in the work environment

Change is inevitable in almost any situation; however, it seems to be more rapid in a remote work setting. It may also be that you are a digital nomad, traveling as you work. While the constant change in the environment may be stimulating and exciting, it could exhaust and stress you out in the long run.

remote workers relax with music

Keep your stress levels in check

In the heat of the moment, you might not realize how stressed you actually are. Look out for some of the most telling signs and symptoms of stress. If you have a combination of the following, you might be experiencing stress.

  • Mood swings
  • Feeling depressed
  • Feeling overwhelmed
  • Finding it difficult to relax
  • Avoiding others
  • Low self-esteem
  • Low energy
  • Headaches
  • Upset stomach
  • Insomnia
  • Low sex drive
  • Nervousness, shaking or fidgeting
  • Clenched jaw or teeth grinding
  • Changes in appetite
  • Finding it hard to focus
  • Pessimism
  • Increased use of alcohol, drugs, or tobacco

Take good care of yourself

To counter the effects of stress, or to avoid stress altogether, observe proper self-care with the following practices:

Eat healthy balanced meals

The first thing you can do to make sure you are healthy is to monitor what you eat. Make sure that most of your meals are made with whole fresh foods. Avoid too much salt, sugar, and preservatives. Generally, processed foods are a big no, so reach for an apple or a banana to snack on instead of a bag of salty chips.

Supplement your diet with superfoods

If you think your diet needs a boost, you can supplement it with superfoods. You might consider vitamin supplements from the drugstore, but superfoods have the advantage of being natural and more easily absorbed by the body.

Avoid drug use

Some remote workers may fall into the harmful habit of coping with stress using drugs. While it might make you feel good for a moment, it could just as quickly get you hooked. Ultimately becoming dependent on substances to function can ruin your health and damage your body. It can even pose lifelong effects.

Limit caffeine and alcohol intake

You may feel like you need a cup of coffee to perk you up in the morning and a nightcap to wind you down at night, but anything in excess is not good for your body. Limit your intake to two cups a day for both substances. Remember that the less you consume, the less your risk of contracting health problems related to excessive alcohol and caffeine consumption.

remote workers drink coffee when working late

Exercise daily

Physical activity has a significant impact on mental health. Studies show that overall wellbeing, including that of the mind, is improved with exercise. Regular exercise not only increases strength and endurance, but it also improves mood and confidence. The reduction of stress hormones and the release of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin are often attributed to the positive effects of exercise on psychological wellness.

Practice good hygiene

Working at home all day is not an excuse for being a slob. Maintaining a clean environment and a clean body is your responsibility to yourself. Besides, a good bath or a nice shower can instantly make you feel brand new. If you’ve been feeling icky all day, a quick wash might be all you need.

Go for regular medical check-ups

Regardless of whether you feel ill or not, it would help if you regularly visit your doctor for routine check-ups. Take advantage of your insurance coverage and submit to an annual physical exam. Such precautions will detect health problems you may not be aware of. This will help you manage your health better so you can avoid getting worse or improve any existing condition.

Ensure adequate sleep

Sleep is a restorative activity that lets your body and mind replenish itself and heal from damage. Rest is also an important indicator of mental health, as poor sleep might signify an underlying psychiatric condition. Additionally, the lack of sleep can contribute and exacerbate any psychological problems. Try to avoid the temptation of working through the night. Set a timer for when you are supposed to stop working so you can rest.

Maintain social connection

Just because you are not obliged to do office chit-chat doesn’t mean you don’t need a social life at all. Lucky for you, social connections are easier to maintain now more than ever. No matter the distance, friends, and family are just a touch away. Virtual hang-outs are a thing now since more people are physically distancing themselves from each other. Make it a point to talk to someone in person or through phone at least once a week.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness may seem like a contemporary thing, but mentally healthy people have already been practicing it for ages. Mindfulness is focusing on the here and now, letting go of your troubles from the past or the future’s anxieties. It might seem like a difficult feat, especially if you have looming deadlines, projects, and targets to worry about at all times and all places. But it’s actually quite simple. Take a walk and carefully notice the things around you. Notice your breathing. Have a friendly conversation, and dwell at the moment.

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