Updated: Jun 24
With remote work on the rise, some people find it allows them more flexibility and freedom in their day-to-day life.
However, some have found their mental health being impacted by things like staying inside for longer periods of time, not being able to disconnect from work, or just missing the human connection.
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Below are some ways I personally find that keep my mental health in top shape to allow me to continue to be productive and ready for another workday.
1. Exercise or go for a walk
Sometimes I find myself in a creative rut (writer’s block is a pain, right?). I have often found going on a walk, or if the weather isn’t so great then doing a quick workout on YouTube to help move past my problems. Also, after looking at the same screen for a while, things tend to run together. When I am editing, I often find the need to come back with fresh eyes to find errors that I had missed previously, so this is the perfect way to give my eyes a break and sit back down to work refreshed.
2. Create a schedule or routine
Recently, I traveled home to the United States from Germany and realized how essential and beneficial my daily routine was. Visiting a place that has a seven-hour time difference from the rest of the team really threw my days off from what I was used to.
I was used to waking up and having my daily cappuccino and a moment for myself before starting work. I would then open all of my working pages and apps I needed to function and start my daily tasks and process. Every other day, I would take an exercise lunch break and then go back to my work. Then on some afternoons, having team meetings.
Now, my new schedule was waking up and having a meeting before my typical working hours. Then taking a small nap to give me energy to get through the day. Then I often found myself uninspired when I sat down to do my daily work.
I have recently reevaluated my working schedule and created a new daily routine for myself that allows me the flexibility to have meetings with the team, and to be more productive than I was. It’s helped me create a normal flow to my day that I enjoy and know what to expect and it’s significantly increased my productivity levels.
I found this also useful in my personal life too. Staying organized and keeping to a small routine on the weekends helps me make sure I’m ready to “start all over again” when the new week is beginning. It also helps me turn off my working brain and keep my work and personal life separate.
3. Take small breaks throughout the day
As I previously mentioned, looking at a screen all day can become exhausting and things can start to seem to run together. No one is perfect and can sit at the computer all day Monday through Friday and remain completely focused, even in an office setting. Therefore, when I find myself stuck or blocked, I step away for a moment. I might call a friend, have a quick scroll through social media, grab a snack, refresh my drink and then come back. That little moment for myself, I find makes all the difference.
4. Find a cowering space
After experiencing a pandemic that took away so much of the daily life, contact, and personal connection we were used to sometimes it’s hard only having access to coworkers digitally.
At DeskNow we all work remote, and we have been fortunate to be able to grow our marketing team since I joined. We all work well together, but it wasn’t until we were able all meet up in person and work together that it enhanced our connection and allowed us to really build relationships. I found that after we all met and got to spend some time together, our communication greatly improved.
If you would like to find a space to meet up and co-work with someone on your team, check out DeskNow DeskBooking and find the perfect space with the right amenities for you. (Personally, we tend to drink a lot of coffee).
5. Stay hydrated and healthy
When I’m in the “zone” and really concentrated on my work, the first time I start becoming aware of my surroundings again, often I realize I could use a snack.
It is so easy to have the quickest option that takes no time to prepare, or often times so close you don’t even have to get up for it. In my case, my weak spots are usually for chocolate or a cold soda. I found keeping healthy bars in a drawer by my desk or placing a mandarin or an apple on my desk in the morning is going to increase my chances of choosing that over a candy bar.
It’s also essential to make sure you’re getting enough water throughout the day. I know a few people that even have water bottles that tell them what amount of water they should be drinking in a certain time frame that they use daily. As with placing fruit on the desk, if you think walking to refill your water bottle will increase your chances of grabbing a sugary drink then place some extra cups or bottles of water on your desk to drink first. Find the little things that are going to help set you up for success and align with your goals.
If you need a break from sitting in front of your workstation all day, then set yourself up with healthy snacks in the refrigerator or on a counter near where you would refill your water. You can also find or create a water tracker. This would be like a sheet of paper used for tracking your habits but placing it somewhere you see often to increase the likelihood of it being useful.
You can also turn your daily water intake tracker into an overall habit tracker. This allowed me to create and maintain healthier habits in my daily life, that are harder to form.
6. Create a specific place in your home to work from
I’ve seen a lot lately about trying to find a place you can work from in your home that is preferably not in your room, but if you can’t avoid that then not on your bed. This is because it is hard for your brain to differentiate the signals of “it’s time to go to bed” or “it’s time to start thinking and get to work.”
I understand this is not possible for every person. If you live with other people, sometimes your room is the only place you can ensure your environment isn’t disturbed or you know you can make your phone calls in peace. In this case, it is important to create a routine for yourself, so you have these new cues to follow and allow you to sleep peacefully at night and be prepared to wake up refreshed and ready for the next day. When I’m working in my room, I try to use a different surface to work from even if that means I’m using the bed as a bench. Just something to avoid laying back and getting too comfortable. It allows me to remember, when my computer is shut, I am done with my work for the day and I can move into my personal time.
7. Give "digital detoxing" a try
As someone who works in marketing, I’ve spent quite a lot of time on my phone and mostly on social media. There is nothing wrong with this because it allows me to stay up to date on what’s trending and keep an eye on what may start trending soon. However, sometimes on the weekend I would find myself “going down a rabbit hole.” For example, one day I don’t even know how much time I spent on TikTok but I just kind of zoned out and kept scrolling. It made me feel bad, like my whole day was wasted. I decided that I shouldn’t get on it anymore that weekend and start doing things I like to do. By stepping away from social media, not my phone completely because there were some people I needed to stay in touch with, but I did things I genuinely love doing. I went for a walk, listened to music, and rediscovered my art box. It reminded me that every now and then taking some time for myself and away from a screen can increase my mood and mental health significantly.
I write this because these are things that I have found help me. Not every person is the same and others need totally different approaches. For example, a routine works best for me, and I found an exact schedule sometimes gave me problems and lead to some stress. Some people function best with time pressures. Feel free to try any of these out or even leave a comment of something that works best for you. Happy remote working!