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Struggling to work from home? It’s definitely an interesting transition that may be difficult for some. With any major transition in life, it’s more important than ever to check in on your mental health.
And, truly, everyone is different when it comes to adjusting to the switch of remote work.
Working from home has always been a dream of mine, so when I successfully pitched a work-from-home proposal for my job, I was over the moon! The COVID-19 pandemic was partially the cause for my transition to remote work, along with my cross-country move this past summer. Nonetheless, I was ecstatic to cut the commute, be in my own comfortable home space, and become more independent.
With that said, I am certainly an introvert. Being able to stay at home keeps me from feeling drained, improves my productivity, and overall, allows me to thrive.
However, I understand that many people struggle with this transition, especially if it was one they did not wish for and instead were pushed into it due to the pandemic. Managing your mental health while working from home can be challenging for some.
And after all, depending on how often you get out of the house outside of work, being at home so much certainly can take a toll on your mental health and may have you feeling isolated.
Here’s how to stay on top of your mental health while working from home, especially if this is a tough time for you.
This post is all about struggling to work from home.
Aside from the obvious, how can I tell if I’m struggling to work from home?
You might already notice some difficulty getting through your work day that you didn’t previously experience in the office. Here are some tell-tale signs to look for:
- Feeling sluggish and unmotivated
- Apathetic or less interested in the work you’re doing
- Feeling anxious, overwhelmed, or restless
- Trouble separating work life from home life
If any of these have been an issue for you, it’s certainly a good idea to make the changes necessary for more manageable, productive work days.
1. Establish a morning routine
I am pretty bad at this myself, with my alarm that’s set to go off at 10:20 when I work at 10:30 AM (yes, I love to sleep in). Usually I am brewing a quick cup of coffee at the last minute as my computer boots up.
But of course, setting up your morning with a meaningful routine is a better way to go! This is a good opportunity for morning meditation, journaling (thoughts and feelings, 3 goals for the day, 3 gratitudes), and self-care in general. Even changing out of your pajamas and brushing your hair is enough to help you feel a little more ready to start the day if you’re struggling to work from home.
2. Set up a dedicated workspace
As tempting as it is to hop on your laptop from your bed or couch, you will feel a lot more on top of your business and in the right headspace if you have a dedicated workspace for your computer. Check out my Ultimate Home Office Setup Guide for ideas!
This doesn’t have to be an entire spare room for an office (although, being able to close the door is a nice perk!). But at least a desk in the corner of a room in which you can work distraction-free and feel a little more professional.
If you’re looking for an affordable and good quality office desk, this desk from Amazon is a great example.
Below is an example of what my dedicated workspace looks like:
(Side note: I’m pretty proud of the desk I painted!)
3. Create a to-do list and plan out your day
Upon scrolling through your work emails, make a to-do list that is both work-task related (while including breakfast, lunch, and breaks) and also relevant to after-work plans. Feeling as though I’ve accomplished “nothing” at the end of the day can add to my depression, so having a clear outline can help combat that.
The lines between work time and leisure time can become blurred fairly easily. You’ll want to ensure that you have time set up strictly for activities you enjoy upon getting off work for the day, too. If you have difficulty coming up with “me time” activities, you should take a look at my advice on making the most of your free time.
My (free!) productive day planner printable is a great place to get started with to-do lists and planning out your work day!
Want a head start on actually improving your organization and productivity? ...and want it free? Sign up for my newsletter below to get the FREE productive day planner sent straight to your inbox!
4. Make time for exercise especially on days that you’re struggling to work from home
You might not manage a full-blown workout routine every day, and you don’t need to have a gym membership, either.
What I shoot for is exercising at least every other day, with a mix of strength-training and cardio. It is the cardio in particular that I notice boosts my mental health, but anything to get your heart rate up will have you feeling good afterward.
Every other day, I aim to take at least one online dance class and follow YouTube videos for specific workouts (a little bit of abs, glutes, arms, and calves). This only takes about one hour, and that hour is enough to help me feel refreshed from the day.
It is essential to clear your mind and have an outlet for pent-up stress when you’re struggling to work from home. Exercise is a great way to achieve that.
5. Get outside!
Getting outside and changing your environment has been shown to lessen stress, depression, and anxiety. Even if it’s not a sunny day, simply connecting with nature and being in close proximity to green space has been associated with lower levels of stress and even improving cognition.
This can be unpleasant if you live somewhere really hot in the summer or really cold in the winter. I know I don’t feel super motivated about going outside right now when the temperature dips into the 20’s.
But then I think back to whenever I’d vacation somewhere cold (i.e: Quebec City in late November) and I would brave it like it was nothing! I sure felt happy even despite the weather conditions, simply because I was outside exploring and getting fresh air.
There is a learning curve to adjusting to remote work, especially when overcoming feelings of isolation. However, if you’re struggling to work from home, there are steps you can take to manage this.
Being mindful of what may trigger a negative head space and, accordingly, creating a routine that works for you will help keep your mental health in check.
Best of luck out there!
If anxiety is something you struggle with during the work day, you should grab my (free!) printable anxiety tracker!
Managing anxiety is tough. This tracker makes checking in on yourself a little easier. Want to gauge how your anxiety symptoms are doing? ...and want it free? Get my printable anxiety tracker sent straight to your inbox!