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14 TOP TIPS ON HOW TO REDUCE STRESS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME

In light of the COVID-19 crisis, many people have shifted from a corporate office environment to working from home.

This meant blurred lines between work and the comfort of being home after a long day of work, which can be confusing, to say the least.

The fact that social isolation is also the reality of the day means that there aren't many ways to vent about the situation.

So common is work-from-home related stress that even the United Nations has mentioned it as something we all need to collectively battle. Current statistics show that 54% of people feel far more stressed when working from home than working at an office.

If you find yourself feeling overly stressed when working from home, you're not alone.

The stress of working from home can negatively affect your productivity and quality of life, and here's why.

WHY THE INCREASED STRESS?

- No Cut Off Time

The sad reality of working from home is that you wake up at work and sleep at work.

Sometimes you get carried away, working till late in the evenings or into the wee hours of the morning.

- Being Alone

One of the things we enjoy about work is that it allows us to interact with others. Humans are social animals, after all.

Working from home means working alone and aside from not having anyone to talk to, you don't have anyone to let you know when you're working too hard.

- Not Getting Immediate Help

At work, if an uncertainty crops up, you can always ask management or your boss. Working from home brings forward the idea of independent working. This means that you have to wait until your next Zoom meeting to get an answer if you have a question.

While a considerable amount of stress is expected when working from home, you must remember never to let your stress get the better of you.

Thankfully, there are ways to relieve stress and handle any anxiety that you might be feeling at this time.

HOW TO REDUCE STRESS WHEN WORKING FROM HOME

1. Create A Dedicated Workspace

The biggest mistake that people make is not dedicating a specific area for their workspace. Instead, they end up working from the bedroom, living room, and kitchen.

Working from every nook and cranny in your house blurs your boundaries.

As a result, you may find yourself reaching for your laptop just as you wake up, and this is not a healthy habit.

Grabbing your phone to look at social media is bad enough without following it up with work first thing in the morning.

Having a designated space as your home office area will help you to set boundaries. For instance, whenever you're away from your home office space, your brain will register that a break is in order.

If your house is too small or cannot dedicate a specific area in your home to an office area, visit your local coffee shop. Many coffee shops offer free internet as well, so you can offset your coffee cost with the data savings you'll make.

2. Establish A Work Routine

You often hear people say, "Gone are the days of 9 to 5 working hours."

This statement is sadly true. Working from home somehow makes it okay for most people to work all hours of the day and night.

Sleeping in late and then having to cover up hours by cramming in work until the early hours of the morning is a big no! Your body has become accustomed to having a work routine.

Try to wake up at the same time as usual and get ready for work.

Starting work precisely at 9 will allow your day to unfold similarly to how it would at your typical workplace. In this way, you need not adjust to an overly new way of doing things.

If you want to put in the extra hours beyond 5 pm, that is entirely up to you. But, you should never see this as a requirement if you already dedicated yourself entirely from 9 to 5.
3. Get Exercising

Working from home also means that there is no need to climb up two flights of stairs to your office. You don't get any exercise, and this could make you all the more lethargic and weak.

If you are feeling exhausted, even with your regular sleeping routine, your body is telling you to get a move on.

Try an exercise routine from home on your own. If you are unfamiliar with routines, many gym instructors offer online classes. You can join an online dance class or an aerobics class and get moving from home.

Another ideal solution to alleviating stress is to go for long and peaceful walks. This will allow you to clear your mind while connecting with nature.

4. Speak Your Mind

Keeping feelings bottled up could very well lead to more stress. So, try to organize regular "chit chat" sessions with your co-workers.

Aside from the usual instant messaging and Skype meetings for work-related queries, it's worth it to meet regularly with co-workers to discuss your frame of mind.

Making casual conversation and discussing cool working-from-home tips can very well help the situation.

There will always be that one person at work whom you are the closest to, so make time to call that person up. You will only realize once you make that phone call, how much of a burden has been lifted from your shoulders.

5. Take Time To Walk Away From Work

There will always be that one task that seems too burdensome to complete all at once. If you feel that work activity is sucking away all of your strength, walk away from it.

Think about it. At work, when you feel overwhelmed, you take a quick coffee break. Do the same at home. Move away from your computer screen, and watch a quick TV show (or upload our YouTube channel to your TV screen :)

You'll understand the value of walking away from your work, once you actually try it. Your breaks need not be too long. A fifteen-minute coffee break is all you need to distract your occupied mind for a while.

6. Be Kind To Yourself

Let's face it; we're all trying to stay afloat in unfamiliar waters. As clichéd as that may sound, the mere fact that you are still floating deserves a pat on your back.

Tell yourself that you have done enough! If you worked for long hours the previous day, perhaps, do less today.

It is essential to understand that work cannot consume your entire life and ruin your happiness. So try as best as possible not to let work stress set the tone for your mood and how you feel as this can have a detrimental effect on your overall quality of life.

7. Call Your Boss

The truth is that many employers have realized how much more productive their employees are when they work from home.

Seeing that you are getting tasks done considerably quicker than before, your employer might think they need to pile on the workload.

While this is no fault of your employer as they give you as much as they think you can handle, it may be burdensome for you. If you feel you are drowning and cannot cope with the amount of work you have to do, call up your boss and let him or her know.

Remember, this setting is entirely unfamiliar to your boss as well, and they'd be more than happy to resolve any employee grievances that come up.

A simple, courteous call to your boss can ensure you only take up as much work as you can handle.
8. Call A Friend

Although most of us are in social isolation, that doesn't mean you must cut all communication lines. Thankfully due to technological advances, we can still stay connected with the press of a button.

Dial-up a friend; let him or her know that you are still around to talk. Having a friend to discuss stress with is an easy and effective way to unload.

Unlike talking to your work colleagues, a close friend or family member is often easier to talk to. You feel free to discuss anything with them.

Keep in mind that one of the causes of stress now is being away from people. This can cause untold emotional havoc.

Feeling alone and isolated affects your mental health negatively already, so always try to stay in the loop.

9. Go On A Holiday

If you work from home long enough, it can start to feel as if your laptop is an extension of your very self. You might even catch yourself taking it everywhere.

Now, when you take sick leave or regular leave from work, you leave all work-related issues behind and take a break. The same should hold true when you work from home because you're still allowed to take a leave of absence.

If you feel that your work stress has built up beyond control, take a break.

Being cooped up in your home is never an ideal situation. So take a break and move away from your home for a second.

Look at the roses in the garden or visit a park. The idea of catching a glimpse of new scenery may do wonders for your mindset.

Better yet, take a proper "holiday" and stay at a COVID-19 friendly hotel in your town or go camping at a national park to get a change of scenery.

A holiday could also be your way of disconnecting and getting to grips with your feelings and emotions. So take the holiday of your dreams and feel the stress melt away.

10. Make Room For Laughter

As the adage goes, "a laugh a day keeps the doctor away". (okay maybe it said apple, but what's better than a good belly laugh?)

Watch your favourite sitcom or a comedy movie and tickle your funny bone to laugh away the stress.

11. Try Not To Pace

Pacing up and down in a bid to gain control of your feelings is not the solution. This can make the stress even worse.
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12. Let Go Of The Tech

As convenient as technology can be, it can also be unreliable sometimes. I mean, have you ever felt like throwing something at your laptop because it just refuses to start?

I know I feel stabby whenever a file or a website takes too long to load, and these microaggressions can really add up.

However, you must keep in mind that technical problems can happen at any time, and the world won't come to an end because your router is having an off-day.

If your device is giving you headaches, walk away from it. Come back later to see if it's working again.

13. Look For The Positives

Living and working in the same place every day is not ideal, but think of the positives.

You don't have to sit in traffic anymore or deal with wearing formal clothes every day. There's a silver lining to every cloud.

14. Insomnia Is No Good

Insomnia is a sure sign of stress, and the worst part is that it can lead to a vicious cycle. You're unable to get the full 8 hours of sleep that you need, which causes stress, which causes even more insomnia.

To relieve insomnia, consider drinking chamomile tea before bed.

Switch off the noise in your head and sleep by switching off all digital devices.

If you are still unable to sleep, speak to a psychologist or a doctor who can prescribe something that may help.

A massage session can also help relieve stress, as it helps to realign the body and release tension.

CONCLUSION

So to round up your key takeaways from our guide:

1. Create A Dedicated Workspace

2. Establish A Work Routine

3. Get Exercising

4. Speak Your Mind

5. Take Time To Walk Away From Work

6. Be Kind To Yourself

7. Call Your Boss

8. Call A Friend

9. Go On A Holiday

10. Make Room For Laughter

11. Try Not To Pace

12. Let Go Of The Tech

13. Look For The Positives

14. Get Great Sleep


Remember, you are least productive when working in stressful situations.

Increase your productivity by using these tips to reduce your stress and remember that when the going gets tough, the tough get tougher.

You can deal with working from home.

You have gotten this far, hang in there and remember you are doing the best you can in a not ideal situation.
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