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Mental Health

How To Stay Mentally Healthy During The COVID-19 Transition To Remote Work

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COVID-19’s pandemic has us going through a massive transition in our work, family, and personal lives. These changes can ultimately be confusing, overwhelming, and scary. Making new lifestyle adjustments can become mentally taxing. For those who have traditional 9 to 5’s or whose work relies on being in the office, working remotely brings new, unfamiliar challenges. This added pressure is not only distracting but can also be very discouraging.

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But, working from home doesn’t come without a list of pros as well. Apart from ditching your office-casual wardrobe, working remotely means saving time from your commute, prioritizing your schedule to work for you, and no office distractions. If you live with family, especially young kids, now is the chance to spend quality time together. We’ve compiled a few tips to help moving from your office to home smoother and less stressful. 

Stay Present

Working remotely, especially from home, can mean being faced with endless distractions. With your kitchen and closet at your disposal, it’s easy to lose focus on tasks at hand. If you live with other people, getting side-tracked may either be tempting or inevitable. Simple day-dreaming can have your mind wandering for hours. Now that we’re no longer working on autopilot, getting stuck with our thoughts can threaten our mental wellbeing, even more so in a time of heightened confusion.

Staying present and being aware of your feelings, thoughts, and senses will prevent unnecessary overthinking. Being out of office for too long can get us lost in thought and we can often interpret situations as worse and the present more dismal. Refocusing our attention is easier said than done, so make reminders to meditate, whatever that looks like for you. Realign your mind by taking a few minutes to log-off, watch a Youtube video, do some stretches, or call your friends. Organized distractions will help you concentrate and get work done.  Check out these apps that help relieve stress, get you moving, and manage your time efficiently.

Make Your Space Work For You

There’s truth in how your atmosphere affects your mood and work ethic. Being absent from your typical work environment can decrease motivation and feel out of your element. Create a space that allows you to feel productive and decrease disruptions. Pick a spot, whether it be your kitchen table or a nook in your basement and keep your computer, phone, and other work supplies on hand. Create your ideal office space, and play with lighting, décor, etc.. If you don’t live alone, make it known that at certain times, it is a place of work and requires discipline from both parties. Try to get them to work with you during that designated time and space for shared productivity.

During this pandemic, you can feel a loss of control. Instate separate boundaries that will help you focus on work, family, and personal life without overlapping stress. Once you get into your work-flow, you’ll feel a satisfying momentum. To elevate your ambiance, play your favourite. music, light a comforting candle and tidy up. A fresh space can feel more invigorating than you think. These feng-shui tips help increase your at-home productivity.

Time Batch

Seek this time working remotely to effectively time batch all aspects of your life. As all your worlds may seem like they’re merging together, allocating your time accordingly will help you compartmentalize. Working remotely means you can focus on multiple things simultaneously, which is both convenient and arduous. Scheduling your days will allow you to accomplish more without burning out. Dedicate your morning to answering emails, and your afternoon to meetings or important work. Take an hour or two out of the day to focus on yourself and your family. Use your evenings to decompress or work on a side project.

With COVID-19’s quarantine, we now have ample time to do more. This can either work for or against you and abiding by an agenda that checks off all aspects of your life will give you a sense of organization and accomplishment you found in the office.

Be Alone Without Feeling Lonely

As your work life changes, you and your colleagues may feel out of the loop or misinformed. Working remotely may be physically desolating, but seek comfort in knowing most people feel the same. Help each other find your groove, and if you seek your old office banter or productive work environment, schedule work calls or sync screens; if you’re used to working with a team, continue doing so. But, also find ease in working with yourself by exploring your own perspectives.

Physical distancing does not mean social isolation. We live in a virtual world, and COVID-19’s outbreak doesn’t have to make us emotionally secluded. Relocate your usual coffee dates to Google Hangout and check in on your relatives. Also, take this time to focus on yourself. As our lives move at high-speed, this societal slow-down is a good time to work on the things your normal schedule didn’t allow. Knowing that we’re in this together is comforting and help your friends and family with emotional support. 

What Should You Do?

  • Take breaks throughout the day to maximize focus
  • Stay inside as much as you can
  • Prioritize phone conversations with friends and family
  • Work on side projects and emotionally fulfilling activities
  • Wash hands and produce thoroughly
Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez Jaffer

Kaneez is a Certified Human Resources Leader (CHRL) with an advanced knowledge of human resources and organizational structure and design. She has extensive experience with HRIS systems and understands the need to move HR from a transactional model to a transformational one. She has worked in the investment banking, insurance, and legal industries, as well as with large not-for-profit centres helping to simplify and streamline their internal systems. Kaneez is an expert in building relationships and affecting change in a positive and productive way. She acts as the key HR business partner at Apri Insurance Services Inc, managing the implementation of JungoHR, while providing expert advice and counsel on a range of HR matters. Kaneez holds a Graduate Certificate in Human Resources Management as well as a Certificate in HR Law for HR Professionals from Osgoode Hall Law School in Toronto, Canada.

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