The past couple of years have been hectic for most workers, and the ability to work from home has come as a needed blessing. It offers convenience, helps you stay safe amid the pandemic, and allows you to handle various family responsibilities. Working from home can also be very appealing – no need to worry about long commutes to work, no mandatory dress codes, no boss breathing down your neck, or overbearingly talkative colleagues getting on your last nerves.
But it can also increase stress levels. In fact, various reports have identified a rise in stress levels among those working from home. That’s because it presents a unique set of challenges you might not find in a traditional office setting. That said, if you find your stress levels going up as a result of working from home, the following strategies can help you reduce the stress.
Step away from what you’re doing
If the nature of your job is already stressful, one of the best things you can do is step away from it for a few minutes. There’s absolutely no need to spend a large amount of time away from what you’re doing. In most cases, even a 15-minute break time can be all you need to bring your stress levels down. The main idea here is simply to shift your focus from your work to anything else that will help restore some calm to your nerves. And what do you do during your quick break?
You can try playing a relaxing game on your phone, go for a quick walk outside, take a nap, listen to music, etc. Playing a game is a very effective option, but if your eyes are already too tired from staring into a computer screen for too long, you might want to avoid any screen-based game. You can consider playing a physical game of puzzle or even coloring. Coloring isn’t for kids alone, as you can find various options for people of all ages. You can find out more about the options available and how coloring can help you relax and de-stress.
Work with quality equipment
Technology is one of the main things that frustrate remote workers. Back in the office, you had the convenience of using the company’s computers, scanners, printers, company Wi-Fi, etc. Now that you’re working from home, you must rely on your own devices, gadgets, or equipment. If the options you have at home are old, slow, and underperforming, the chances are that you’re going to end up frustrated, as they’ll delay you, cause you to make mistakes, and even make you miss important deadlines.
The solution is to work with quality equipment. Ensure that your computer is not running on an outdated operating system and that all your work-related software and online tools are also up-to-date. If most of your work requires secure internet connectivity, ensure that you choose a reliable internet service provider. You’ll also need to have all the quality communications equipment or tools needed to stay in touch with your employers and colleagues.
Go back to the basics
A healthy body is better equipped to deal with stress than an unhealthy one. Getting enough sleep, eating well, drinking enough water, and all the healthy habits you’ve probably already heard of, may all sound very obvious. However, it is very easy to forget about all of them when your body is under a lot of stress. So, always remind yourself to go back to the basics as often as possible. Start by preparing a healthy meal menu and cooking your meals in advance to avoid being tempted to order fast food options when you’re feeling too hungry to cook. Next, find ways to incorporate your fitness routine into your daily schedule, so you don’t forget to work out. And finally, get your body all the sleep it needs. Experts recommend getting at least seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night.
If that’s not possible, find ways to grab quick snooze times during the day. You’ll be surprised by how much a 15-minute nap can do to lift your mood and make you more alert during the day. Plus, you might want to stay away from consuming too many caffeine-rich drinks to make up for depleted energy. While a cup of coffee or an energy drink can make you feel alert, ingesting high levels of caffeine comes with negative consequences. Your mood may plummet, causing you to want to consume more caffeine. You’ll end up losing sleep, suffering various health consequences, and feeling even more stressed as a result.
Set a routine
One major drawback of working from home is the lack of structure, which usually leads to poor time management and delays in work. Working without any supervision and a set schedule for the first time can be very tricky for many people. They end up miscalculating how much time they have to get a job done, wasting time in the process. This causes them to rush to meet deadlines, making the job twice more stressful than it’s supposed to be.
To avoid this, stick to your old work schedule even though you’re working from home. Wake up the same time you used to when you worked in a traditional office, maintain the same working hours, break periods, and closing times.
Sometimes you need to say no
When working from home, you may receive several requests not related to work. And most of these requests will either come in during work hours or require you to devote a part of your working hours to other commitments. These requests could come from friends, family, and other loved ones. And while you may not want to disappoint the people you care about, sometimes you need to say no. Know that there’s nothing wrong with turning down someone else’s requests if it interferes with your ability to finish your work on time. Setting the right social boundaries can stop you from making commitments that adversely affect your work.