I know working from home can be a real struggle, especially when it comes to anxiety and loneliness. You are not alone when it comes to feeling this way. Anxiety, loneliness, and any mental health-related issue are some of the biggest problems in the corporate world when working from home or not.
A study from PWC revealed that 39% of UK employees took time off work or reduced their responsibilities due to a wellbeing issue. Nearly a quarter of the employees surveyed (23%) think their company doesn’t take their employees’ overall well-being seriously.
If left unaddressed, it can create serious issues that are difficult to combat in the long term.
Whether you’re feeling isolated, depressed, or simply lonely working from home, you’re in the right place to seek advice, before potentially consulting a medical professional.
In this article, we will share the 9 absolute best tips to fight anxiety and loneliness when working from home that you should include in your daily life.
Socialize outside of work
Socializing is an important part of life that can lead to many health benefits, including fighting against anxiety. While it is important to socialize, it’s even more important to choose the people you hang out with.
In fact, having a coffee with coworkers is not always easy when working from home as they might be in other states, or even in different countries. However, going out for a walk with friends outside work can be beneficial to fight anxiety as you won’t be talking about your job, and that means not increasing your anxiety and clearing your mind.
Whether you plan to go for a run, for a coffee in town, to have a walk at the park, or simply to invite them at home to have a chat, anything involving friends is fun! Moreover, a good idea of socializing would also be to visit your neighbors from time to time, having a coffee with them, walking your dogs together, and so on.
To sum up, plan things, get social outside work, and enjoy the outside world to fight loneliness when working from home.
Consider a coworking space
A report by Deskmag analyzed that there are on average over 180 workers per coworking space location. That means that you’ll have many opportunities to talk with people, take a coffee break with someone, and maybe even ask for help if you work in the same field.
In addition, coworking spaces can increase your productivity, accessibility, and also networking. With over 26,000 of them spread out in the world, you shouldn’t have any big trouble finding one in your neighborhood.
As you can see from the chart below from Buffer, 28% of employers do pay fully or partially for a coworking space membership. Working with other people around makes you more productive and healthier, and employers know that. Check with your employer if they would cover the costs of your coworking membership, so that you can work more efficiently spending less.
Take computer-free and phone-free breaks
Sitting at your computer or staring at your phone the whole day while working is certainly not great for your mental health. While we work from home and therefore need to sit at our desk, it is essential to take a computer and phone-free breaks.
A study by The Harvard Medical School found that taking breaks outdoors helps your Vitamin D levels rise, improves your concentration, and will make you happier in the long term.
On the other hand, extensive research by Iowa State University revealed that smartphone use was associated with anxiety and depression. In fact, 30% of college students reported that their smartphone was restricting their freedom. Also, 29% of college freshmen developed anxiety or depression before the end of their first year.
Bob Pozen, Senior Lecturer, and Author said that “Working for 75 to 90 minutes takes advantage of the brain’s two modes: learning or focusing and consolidation. When people do a task and then take a break for 15 minutes, they help their brain consolidate information and retain it better.”
To conclude, take a break every hour or so, walk outside for a few minutes, look away from computer and phone screens,
Follow a Routine
Having a routine and following it can help remote workers to prioritize self-care, plan ahead personal time, and do things that are important to them. This of course helps with mental health, as personal time includes time to relax, a nap, do some exercise, or even going outside for a little while.
An analysis by The Lancet Psychiatry found that sticking to normal daily rhythms, being active during the day, and sleeping well at night can prevent mental health issues. In fact, not following a routine can lead to sleeping disorders, and therefore have symptoms associated with bipolar disorder or major depression.
Caitlin Reddington, a successful Junior Digital Editor at All Things Hair US shared her experience of following a routine. She indeed quoted “Sticking to a consistent schedule and routine has helped me stay productive while working from home. I’ve also enjoyed taking advantage of my extra free time. I feel like I’m always on the go, so it’s been nice being able to catch up with friends I haven’t talked to in a while, watch TV shows I’ve been wanting to see and exercise more often.”
Communication is Key
Communication is not only socializing but also keeping in touch with coworkers and friends.
When working from home, things can get a little more challenging, but this doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Other than work chat, take time to meet your coworkers on a video call and share a cup of coffee while talking about the latest company updates.
A report from RoomtoEscape and Bit.AI share that companies that communicate effectively are 4 and half times more likely to hire the best employees. That is an impressive statistic that we should consider when thinking about communication.
On the business side, and according to research by Smarp, productivity at work can be increased by 20-25% in companies where employees are connected and communicate efficiently.
Moreover, good friends and colleagues can provide help and support when in troubled mental health.
Anthony Robbins, an American author, once talked about communication. He said “To effectively communicate, we must realize that we are all different in the way we perceive the world and use this understanding as a guide to our communication with others.”
Clean your working space and your house
Having a clean workspace and house can make you feel incredibly better compared to when having a messy or dirty one.
A study by Darby Saxbe, a psychology professor at the University of Southern California, showed that cleaning gives people a sense of control over their environment. Also, clutter can be distracting visually, and therefore will make you less productive. Lastly, women with a restorative home had decreased their depressed mood over the day.
Another survey by ApartmentGuide revealed that 66% of Americans feel stressed or anxious when their home is dirty. In addition, the most annoying kind of mess in a home is clutter by far, and clutter was proved by UCLA to cause a negative impact on our mood and overall health.
Consult a doctor if needed
Consulting a medical professional is sometimes needed, depending on the mental health and living conditions. Whether you feel panicky, anxious, can’t sleep properly, or can’t concentrate, medical assistance is always there to help.
Research by Mayo Clinic found that symptoms of depression can include irritability, frustration, loss of interest/happiness, lack of energy, anxiety, and trouble concentrating. On top of that, you might also experience physical problems like back pain or headaches.
The list of symptoms is much longer, hence why you should consult a doctor if you feel strangely down or demotivated.
There are many ways to fight anxiety, depression, and loneliness when working from home, and they might suggest doing something different that only professionals know about. Moreover, he might as well prescribe some medication to help you go better, and this could be your chance to integrate these tips to fight anxiety while going better with the pills.
A report by the National Alliance of Mental Illness stated that 19.1% of US adults had mental illness problems in 2018, which is nearly 1 person out of 5. In addition to this, 11.4 million people experienced severe mental illness in 2018 only, which represents 1 in 25 adults.
Obviously, consulting a doctor might not always be needed. If you have very mild symptoms or only feel down from time to time, these tips are an absolute must to feel better. However, if you’ve been constantly feeling down for a longer period and you feel that something serious is going on, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
Learn to refuse and say NO
Saying yes to everything does certainly make you feel useful with colleagues and friends, and definitely makes you feel more integrated with collaborations at work. However, to fight anxiety when working from home, it is essential to learn to say no. Accepting every task that your manager or coworker is asking you to do might have more mental health risks than you might think.
Saying no isn’t always selfish and always saying yes isn’t healthy. In fact, when refusing new commitments, you’re simply devoting your time to the ones that you already have, ensuring the high-quality of the results. The more projects you take care of, the less time you can concentrate on them, and the lower quality you’ll come up with. Also, having too many projects or things to do will make you overcommitted and therefore more likely to feel stressed, anxious, and negatively impact your overall well-being.
Stephen Covey, an American educator, shared his experience and said “You have to decide what your highest priorities are and have the courage pleasantly, smilingly, and unapologetically – to say no to other things. And the way to do that is by having a bigger yes burning inside.”
Investing in yourself
Investing in yourself can be done both physically and mentally, and both can provide serious health benefits that you should consider when working from home. Some of the greatest examples to invest in yourself are taking online courses, reading educational books, setting personal goals, attending workshops to expand your skills, or even creating a bucket list.
Other than that, skip television and focus on valuable shows like TED talks, and try to choose your friends wisely to avoid toxic people.
Moreover, social media is a productivity killer that you should try to reduce. A report from BroadbandSearch revealed that we spent on average 153 minutes per day on social media. That represents 2.55 hours per day, 17,85 hours per week, and a shockingly 856.8 hours per year (35.6 days). Now, try to imagine the number of skills or education hours that you could invest in yourself instead of wasting time on social media – Right, that’s a lot.
Robin Sharma, a writer, once said “Investing in yourself is the best investment you will ever make. It will not only improve your life, but it will also improve the lives of all those around you.”
In conclusion, taking the time to invest in yourself is a great way to fight anxiety, make you feel more valuable and happier in the long term.
Tips to Fight Anxiety and Loneliness When Working From Home – Conclusion
As you probably understood from this article, anxiety and loneliness are some of the biggest productivity killers in the corporate world whether working from home or not.
Remember that there is no right or wrong way to feel, the important thing is to feel good with yourself and avoid negative thoughts to remain healthy.
While going to see a professional doctor is certainly the best answer we could give to someone with mental issues, these tips are still very useful if you’re in an early stage with mild symptoms.
In conclusion, make plans outside work, keep your workspace clean and tidy, invest in yourself, and ultimately, learn to say no. If you feel bad about your working conditions, a relationship with your coworker, or anything else related to your position, don’t forget that managers are always there to help.
If your friends or colleagues are having a hard time when working from home, share this article with them. It could give them some excellent ideas to stay healthy and avoid anxiety and depression issues when working remotely.
Meet The Guest Poster:
Georgi Todorov is a digital marketing specialist at Green Park Content. He recently started his own blog about digital marketing called DigitalNovas. Georgi is the creator of The Actionable Link Building Training. Hit him up on Twitter anytime.
Thank you for reading today’s blog! I hope you enjoyed it! This is Being Alaia’s first guest post so be sure to give it some love!
If you are who works from home, comment down below how you fight anxiety and loneliness to help other readers who struggle with this as well. And if you haven’t yet, be sure to subscribe! I would love for you to be apart of the Being Alaia family. You can also follow me on social media! I love interacting with my followers. Thank you for your continuous love and support. I’ll catch you on the next blog! (: