Working From Home and Mental Health

Working remote, home-based, telecommuting – all of these terms for working from home has been increasing immensely since 2005, by 115% to be exact.

About 3.9 million U.S. employees (2.9%) work from home at least half of the time. In the next ten years it is predicted that 38% of full time staff will be working remotely.

I am one of the U.S. employees that works remotely full time. This is recent, I used to be in an office part time, but due to downsizing and being in a location not near an office anymore, remote it is.

This is both a blessing and a curse.

People are usually on the extremes of either side. They either say they could never work from home, or they would love to only work from home.

We have these stats about all the people who work remotely, the productivity, and the cost benefits, but I want to share my perspective of working remotely while having mental health problems.

I will reiterate, it is both a blessing and a curse.

I’m going to give some pros and cons, and I know most of these are pretty obvious.

Pros:

More sleep

Can be in PJs all day

Getting chores done – laundry, cleaning, meal prepping, the list goes on

Running errands

Cons:

No face to face interaction

Easily distracted (the TV really gets me)

Not as nice work space (usually)

Bored, bored bored! (I know you can be bored in an office, too)

So, I know this pro and con list can be super different for every person.

This is also taking into consideration I’m dealing with my depression and anxiety, and I am really starting to miss people.

On the other hand, not having to drive an hour to work and then another hour to go home has been amazing helping my sleep and fitting more things in throughout the day.

So, here are my tips for anyone working from home that also has depression, anxiety, or any mental health issue that may make it more difficult (or it may make it much better for you). Or honestly, just anyone.

Stay on a schedule

Before I worked from home I was out the door at 6:45am and in the office by 7:45, then I could usually leave around 4pm.

Now, it’s been really hard to stay on a consistent schedule and I keep feeling more and more lethargic not rolling out of bed until almost 9am, because I know I can work later until 5pm or longer. Then I stay in my pajamas for way too long.

Something I’ve been doing to break up my day, weather permitting, is going on a run every lunch break. This has been a huge help for my mental health and daily mindset.

Little by little I am going to bed earlier and waking up earlier again, it just makes me feel so much more refreshed. Especially getting out of my pajamas, even though I’m just putting on yoga pants or leggings and a t-shirt.

Change it up

This sounds contradicting, but I really mean change up your location, not your schedule. I have a designated “work/office” area in my apartment, but I still go stir crazy with my anxiety kicking in and feeling lonely, so I’ve found its been really beneficial to go to a coffee shop across the street from me. It’s something familiar but still different than my apartment, and I get dressed and feel like a human! I’m going to try other places like libraries or different cafes, too.

Stay connected

Now, if you’re someone with social anxiety maybe this isn’t for you and working from home is a dream. Otherwise, stay connected with your coworkers. Sure there are meetings and things like that, but if you have friends or acquaintances within your company, try and stay connected because it can make you still feel a part of something, not totally separate.

All in all, working from home has given me the flexibility I really, really love right now. If you’re in the same boat, take advantage, but make sure to still keep taking care of yourself. It is really easy to fall off a schedule and get sucked in to a dark place. With a little effort, you can do a lot for yourself with that freedom when you can. Go for a walk, work from a park outside, go on a run, cook your favorite meal, go to your favorite coffee shop or cafe – and stay on a consistent sleep schedule, your body and mind will thank you.

-Riley

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