Are you one of the millions of Americans who are still working from home? Are you still unsure about when you will be going back to work in the office?
Or whether your company might decide not to bring you back to the office at all and choose to keep working remotely? If you are like many Americans, working from home has been an ever-changing landscape.
At first, it was difficult because the shift was so sudden and unexpected. But then you got into the swing of things and found that you really enjoyed working from home.
But now, you’re starting to feel stressed out. And, most of the time, you can’t figure out why. Or maybe you were someone who skipped the pink cloud and just stayed stressed out the whole time. But, unfortunately, you’re not the only one.
There is a whole host of unique challenges to working from home, even though working from home offers:
- More flexibility
- Less time in rush hour traffic
- Fewer interactions with toxic co-workers
But What About the Stressors?
Let’s take a look at the most common work from home stressors.
Lack of Structure
Some people thrive on a lack of structure, but others need structure like a house needs a foundation. Working in an office environment comes with its own built-in structure.
Building this same structure at home can be difficult if you don’t have that skill-set or realize it needs to be self-imposed.
It can feel liberating at first to lack boundaries around:
- When you need to start/stop working
- What time you need to get up and go to sleep
- When to log off of social media
For some, though, the liberation This feeling eventually turns into a feeling of being out of control.
Too Many Distractions
If others live in your house with you, it can be challenging to make them understand that you aren’t just hanging around at home. You need to be working. And it’s not just the people (or pets) that live with you.
Even friends and family can make it difficult for you to say “no” to a phone call or an outing because they think you make your own hours, so why can’t you talk with them or go out?
Even brief distractions create an inefficient work environment. Then there is, of course, email, television, and social media, which are huge distractions that can lead from “I’ll just take a few minutes and…” to looking up and realizing hours have gone by.
Inability to Set Boundaries
When the lines get blurred between productivity and leisure time or socializing/domestic and work time, it’s challenging to keep up with everything.
If you have trouble setting boundaries with yourself and others, even the boundary setting can be a stressor. Even if you are great at setting boundaries, sometimes defending them from people and children who cannot understand them or respect them is exhausting.
Change in Social Interactions
The solitude of working from home can be a double-edged sword. It can be easier to focus when you’re in your own home with no co-workers coming by your desk to chat.
But if you don’t automatically run across people outside of those you live with—you can become lonely. Although Social media seems like the answer, it may also feel isolating because it is less personal than face-to-face encounters and conversations.
Studies are beginning to show that the added stress from frequent use of mobile devices is a significant source of added stress. In addition, using mobile devices late at night can mess up your sleep schedule.
One report found that using mobile devices late at night is linked with frequent waking:
- 42% of those who work from home reported frequent night waking
- 29% of office workers reported the same
And although mobile devices seem to connect us, they can also lead to greater social isolation.
How Do I Manage Work From Home Stress?
Now that you understand the stressors of the work from home culture, you can do something about them. The first thing that can help reduce stress is just the fact of knowing that you aren’t alone.
Other people are having this experience too. There’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t failing. Working from home can be really hard. Here are several proven strategies for minimizing work from home stress.
Set Your Schedule
If you are self-employed or your company allows you the freedom to set your own schedule, then you need to set one. Don’t try to work when you feel like it or if you find the time.
When developing your schedule, choose a time when you work at your best. For example, some people work best in the early morning, while others prefer to get house tasks out of the way and then work in the afternoons. It’s up to you.
When you are scheduling tasks, prioritize the unpleasant or difficult tasks that are stressing you out. Get them done first, don’t waste your energy on stress. Instead, save it for something more useful or even fun.
Feeling isolated can become a significant drain and can even lead to anxiety and depression. If you work from home and feel lonely, you need to take responsibility for your social life.
Create a network of colleagues, fellow work-at-home buddies, or like-minded individuals. You can do this through social media groups, planned meet-ups, or even text-chat groups. If you don’t want to make your own, you can find established groups to join online.
No Means No
You may think that the needs of others are more important than your own. Or you may feel like you are the only person that can help them. OR you may have a starving ego. Whatever the case, saying yes to them means saying no to ourselves.
Say Yes to Sleep and No to Late-Night Devices
Healthy sleep is vital for your productivity, so you must protect your sleep. Set a bedtime for yourself and stick to it. And turn off the devices at least an hour before bedtime so that your body can get into its own rhythms.
Live Your Best Life
We know that every person is unique. We each have different health backgrounds, genetic makeups, exposure to environmental factors, and stressors. So if you are ready to get to the root cause of whatever is ailing you, whether it’s a chronic condition or what seems like plain old fatigue, we’ll take an individualized approach to assessing, diagnosing, and treating you.
We will work alongside you to uncover the root cause of your ill health and get you back on track to optimal health. So contact us for a consultation today, and lets’ get started!