2020 has been a historic year and certain to be one we will never forget.
One thing is clear, we are adaptable and resilient humans.
Transitioning to a work from home lifestyle was one of the many hurdles we tackled this year and seems to be the new normal, here to stay for the foreseeable future.
Working from home has proved to be effective and sustainable for companies but does the same remain true for the work from home employees?
Recent statistics show that there has been a huge spike in people reporting symptoms of depression and stress related to their work from home lifestyle.
So the question is raised: how do we get out of this funk and/or avoid falling into this statistic?
We have some tips that may help to keep you happier while working from home!
- Let in the light
We are all made as individuals with a variety of personalities but one thing is true for us all; fresh air and sunlight does the body good. Our bodies crave this and it is fundamentally good for our mental health.
Sunlight triggers the brain to release the hormone serotonin and allows you to feel calm and focused. Another plus is a boost in mood while reducing anxiety.
So pick a spot for your work area near a window and open those curtains for that natural light!
More tricks to really let the light shine is to paint the room a light color or use mirrors to reflect the light. Choosing a room upstairs or with higher ceilings can also aid in capturing the sunlight.
- Keep the noise down
Our brain has so many different parts that are constantly working to both recognize and interpret the many sounds around us. Too much noise, especially sharp sounds, are a huge distraction.
Each person can interpret sounds slightly differently, hello mom ears and phantom cries! Your response to certain noise can send different responses to different areas of your brain and even make you more alert when a sudden lack of noise occurs.
We can all respond differently to a variety of sounds. When necessary earplugs might be a simple solution, however adding thicker carpet or heavier curtains would also help lower the noise level.
Ever just see a mess right in front of you so long you had to get up and clean it?
Too much mess or clutter delivers conflicting stimuli to the brain, which then has to work harder to filter out unhelpful signals.
This stimuli triggers cortisol release in the brain and if those levels become chronically high it becomes associated with anxiety, depression, headaches and sleep disruption.
We are all guilty of clutter in our lives in some form, and a lot of the times we can easily ignore or hold off on it till a later time. However, transitioning a space to your workplace can change your state of mind and lead you to the need to cut down on distractions.
- Move, stretch, stand
Staying home has removed your commute and allowed you to avoid traffic now, but it has also taken away walking. Simple physical activity is just as important for your mental health as your physical fitness. Exercise is a natural stress reliever and anti anxiety treatment.
Getting your body moving releases endorphins and boosts your energy and overall well being. To add some activity back into your day consider switching to a standing desk that can be adjusted.
Structure in a brief walk in your day or add your own “commute” by starting and ending your work day with a quick stroll.
- Add some greenery
While a fake plant requires no maintenance, consider adding in small household plants to create a positive impact.
Studies have shown adding natural elements into your daily environment can reduce stress, anxiety and blood pressure as well as improve your sleep, attention and memory. If a simple addition of a plant can enhance your mood then why not try it!
- Be around other people
Throughout the pandemic we have grown accustomed to avoiding going out in public when possible, but avoiding social interaction altogether can be very damaging. Losing the daily office interaction is a huge change and for most people was the majority of their social interactions.
Online socialization can be great but don’t forget to reach out to close friends and family to plan safe meet ups as well. Everyone has their own personalities but we all need social interaction beyond staring at a screen during meetings.
Chat with your neighbor, meet up with a friend for a walk, or ask a family member to have dinner at a restaurant.
We don’t have to be completely distant as long as we can remain safe about our interactions.
Simple changes can enhance your daily work life and your overall health.
Take the time to implement some of these suggestions can create a happier and more productive work environment while you continue adjusting to working remotely.
Written By: Morgan Henry