We’ve seen a rise of workers choosing to work from home over the past few years, but what does this mean for our well-being? It’s true that remote working cuts out the commute and lets us spend more time with our families, however, are we well-prepared to work from home?
Unfortunately, some statistics and research show us that freelancers and remote workers often experience more depression and anxiety than office workers. A study showed that 41.09% of remote workers experienced higher levels of anxiety when working remotely. Though there are a lot of studies that show the negative impacts of remote work, it’s not all that bad.
When you take your career into your own hands you have more freedom to be your own boss, pick and choose the projects you work on, and you get to pick your own hours too. It’s true that freelance workers often experience more stress, but this can be controlled with a few simple tips.
Keep on reading to explore how you can tackle working from home in a healthy way!
The New Normal
A lot has changed in the past few years. Whether you’ve adapted to remote working or not, we’ve all had to change our work lives to adjust to social distancing and other Covid rules. This has resulted in a large number of workers taking the plunge into freelance work.
While freelancing can be very liberating for some, it’s difficult for others. It’s important to take proactive steps towards your mental health and wellbeing when you are remote working, as this type of work often comes with its own sets of challenges.
It’s proven that the stress of admin, isolation, and reaching out to clients often leaves freelancers feeling worse than others. To beat these work blues you need to stay on top of a healthy work routine at all times. This may sound like extra stress to some, but it’s essential to live a fulfilling and happy work life. A good headspace will result in happier feelings and a more productive workday too!
Try These Top Tips
Ready to add some proactive steps into your daily routine? Try some of these expert tips to improve your work-from-home routine and boost your mental wellbeing too.
1. Set a Morning Routine
Whether you’re a morning person or not, a good morning routine will be a game-changer for the rest of your day. When you start the day on the right foot you’ll be ready to keep going until you need to stop!
A good morning routine doesn’t jump straight into work. Instead, try waking up a little earlier and giving yourself time to wake up, drink coffee, and get ready for the day. For some, a morning run or yoga session helps them ease into the day. For others, it could involve reading the news and eating some breakfast. Whatever helps you wake up and focus should always be embraced!
2. Keep To Daytime Hours
When you start working from home, it can be easy to procrastinate all day and get large chunks of work done at night. Though you have the freedom to work whenever you want, you should avoid letting your schedule go nocturnal.
Set a work schedule in the daytime and try to keep to it. It doesn’t have to be extremely early, but make sure you’re doing the majority of your work when the sun is up. This will benefit your sleeping pattern and you’ll feel much more productive too. Working at night will have more effect on your mental health, leaving you more susceptible to anxiety and depression.
3. Take Regular Breaks
Another key rule when working from home is to avoid long stints of work. Take breaks when possible, as your brain needs rest and relaxation to stay focused. It can be tempting to work for long periods to make sure projects are done, but this isn’t always beneficial.
It can help some to plan lunch breaks and coffee breaks, however, others work best when they listen to their body and take time off when they feel less focused. No matter what strategy works for you, it’s still important to take time off and let your brain power down for a little while.
4. Set Ground Rules
This step may not apply to everyone, but if you live with housemates, family, or a partner, you should set ground rules when working from home. It’s easy to get into your own flow, but having someone else working in the house can distract you. Many freelancers find that creating a home office area where they can work alone helps them focus on their job. If you have children, you might benefit from asking them to avoid your home office area, leaving the space tidy and how you like it.
5. Leave The House
Though one of the main perks of working from home is ditching the commute and staying in your comfort zone, it can be beneficial for your mental health if you frequently leave home too.
A short 30-minute walk in your lunch break or an afternoon stroll can boost your mood and your physical health too. Fresh air and a change of scenery are proven to de-stress your mind, making it easier to return to work with a clear head afterward. If you have a dog, create a walking routine that breaks up your workday as this can be a great excuse to get out and move when working from home.
6. Stick To Your Boundaries
If you’re a freelancer that’s new to remote work life, you may need to practice setting boundaries with new clients. At the start of your work-from-home journey, you may be tempted to take on all projects to make as much as possible, but this is a sure way to end up feeling burnt out.
Many clients will try to get you to work for lower rates at the start of your career, especially if they know you’re a new freelancer. To beat this trend, practice sticking up for yourself and your skills! This is a very unfortunate fact, but being good at your work isn’t always enough when working from home. It’s also important to be able to negotiate salaries and deadlines too.
If you struggle with asserting yourself, it’s a good idea to research how to set boundaries in your industry. There will always be answers and suggestions on freelance work forums, but if the client or job feels off it’s always good to trust your gut! Put your mental health first and avoid overworking yourself for low pay.
7. Eat Well
Another way to optimize your time when you start freelancing is to make sure you’re fueling your body with the right foods. It can be tempting to fill up on junk food when you’re alone at home, but this won’t benefit your mind!
Vitamins and nutrients are essential for your mental and physical wellbeing. If you struggle to get the right food groups, try downloading a meal planner or batch cook food at the weekend to ensure you’re ready to face the week. It can also be helpful to stock up on healthy snacks such as nuts, fruit, rice cakes, and more. Replace chips or sweets with healthy alternatives and you’ll feel better in no time.
8. Stay Hydrated
Similarly to eating well, you should also keep your body hydrated too. To keep your brain running your body needs to feel great too! If you can, keep track of the amount of water you drink per day. Experts suggest we need about 8 glasses of water daily, however, you can substitute water for herbal teas if you want more flavor. Try to avoid caffeinated teas or sodas unless you want an extra burst of energy!
9. Catch Up With Friends
Nothing takes your mind off of work stress like a chat with loved ones. Whether you chat with friends or family members, it’s important to take time out of your busy day to have some non-work-related interactions.
It’s easy to feel isolated when you work from home. With no co-workers or friends around, you need to take extra steps to ensure you’re getting enough social interactions. At the end of the day, we’re all human and need socializing to keep us sane.
From Facetimes to distanced meet-ups, there are various ways we can take time off of work without breaking any pandemic rules too. Life and work should have an even balance, so don’t feel guilty for not working every moment of the day!
10. Create A Home Office
If you’re working in the same area every day, it can be helpful to make it cozy or aesthetically pleasing to you. Why settle for a space you don’t feel comfortable in when you have to spend the majority of your day there?
There is a range of work from home items you can purchase to make your day easier. These include ergonomic chairs that support your back, blue light glasses, motivational wall posters, cute calendars, and more.
Decorating your office to meet your personal taste will make it easier for you to work there. Websites like Pinterest have a wealth of inspirational room pictures that can help you design your ideal work from home space.
11. Don’t Work After Hours
This is similar to our point about setting boundaries, but it’s important that you don’t work in the evenings or weekends. Once you set your working hours, try to stick to them. This will allow you to have a specific time to relax where no client can reach you. It’s always easiest to copy the 9-5 working hours, but this can differ from industry to industry.
Try to ignore client emails unless they’re extremely important! They’ll always be there for you to answer at the start of the next working day.
12. Get Up And Moving
Feeling tired and stressed? One of the best ways you can combat anxiety is to get moving. You don’t need to embrace a full intense workout, but a short run or some active yoga will help boost your mood and reduce your stress levels too.
13. Make a Weekly Plan
Being unorganized can put excess stress on you. If you know you could be more organized, a weekly planner can change your life. Jot down all of your meetings, projects, admin tasks, and breaks, and start to be critical about how much time you really have. This way you can avoid taking on projects that are too large or deadlines that are too short.
14. Take Time For Self-Care
Self-care is a topic that’s important to talk about! There’s nothing like spending a cozy night in and treating yourself to some relaxation. Making time for self-care is a great way to boost your self-esteem and reduce stress too.
Popular self-care activities include:
- Cooking a nutritious meal from scratch
- Taking a hot bath
- Spending time practicing a hobby
- Talking to friends
- Watching your favorite film
Indulge yourself for an evening!
15. Chat To Other Remote Workers
If you find yourself wanting to vent about work, but none of your family or friends understand what it’s like to work from home, it can be helpful to connect with other freelancers online.
Facebook and forums like Reddit feature large groups for freelancers where you can discuss anything work-related. These groups are a great place to learn more about your craft, vent about issues, or just chat with similar types of people too.
16. Respect Your Sleep Schedule
Working from home can sometimes leave you staying up later than you’d like. When your work time blends into your evenings, it’s common to find yourself going to sleep later than you would if you worked in an office.
To keep your sleep schedule regular try to stay screen-free for an hour before bed. You can also try some sleep products like satin sheets, an eye mask, and lavender oils to help you drift off to dreamland easier. Getting at least 7 hours of sleep will improve your mood throughout the day.
17. Ask For Help When Needed
At the end of the day, your mental health should always come before your work. If you’re feeling anxious or depressed, please remember to reach out for help when you need it! From counseling to a chat with friends or family, you’re sure to feel better when you’re not facing your battles alone.
Working from home doesn’t have to be a difficult experience! As long as you structure your day well and make sure your physical and mental health is being looked after, this way of life can be extremely exciting. Always remember to put yourself first and make sure you’re in a healthy mindset before taking on extra work. Good luck with your freelance journey!
What helps you when working from home? Let us know your favorite tips in the comments!