You may have been working remote for some time now and have gotten into somewhat of a routine. You may also be living in social isolation, especially if you live by yourself. Despite getting somewhat used to this new normal, you may feel antsy, unproductive or feel like you’re just going through the motions. It’s normal to have all of these thoughts and emotions from time to time while working remote and being isolated from others.
If you are struggling with social isolation or working remote, especially when you are accustomed to going into the office, here are a few strategies to help keep things fresh. A few changes in your routine may be just the difference you need to avoid getting into a rut.
- Get dressed. Even if you don’t have any video calls with your work, getting out of your pajamas and into regular clothes can boost your mood and mindset. Researchers in a 2012 study in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology also showed that participants who dressed the part, such as as wearing a lab coat, performed better on attention tasks.
- Begin or change your exercise routine. If you haven’t been exercising, start by taking a walk around your neighborhood. If are currently exercising, try a new activity such as an online fitness class. Besides improvements to your overall health, studies have shown that low-intensity exercises boost energy levels and possibly even improve your working memory.
- Get outdoors. Research shows that spending time in nature can help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. A short nature walk or even a stroll around your neighborhood can be the boost you need to refocus when you get back to work.
- Limit distractions. Designate a specific workspace that is ideally separated from distractions such as other family members and television. Industrial/organizational psychologist Timothy Golden, PhD suggests creating news- and information-free times to disconnect from the pandemic and help you focus.
- Learn something new. If you have some downtime from your work tasks, consider taking this opportunity to learn something new such as a language or an IT course. This can keep your cognitive skills sharp like your memory and also improve happiness.
- Take breaks. Long attention spans are typically great when it comes to getting work done, however, setting a timer can be helpful to remind you to get up, walk around or even to eat lunch. You’ll be more productive once you get back and your breaks can also help you improve your ability to learn new skills.
- Connect with others. You may be feeling extra isolated or lonely during this time only due to remote working, but also social distancing. To help improve your mental health, make a conscious effort to seek out social connections with fellow colleagues.
- Maintain or create a routine. Perhaps you’re losing motivation and just rolling out of bed and opening your laptop or you may not have firm start and end times to your workday. Try setting a consistent alarm each morning and give yourself extra time to exercise, enjoy your coffee or enjoy some pleasure reading. Also, try setting specific work hours. These suggestions may help enhance productivity, improve your mental health and avoid burnout.
“10 science-backed tips to help you work from home successfully,” www.sciencefocus.com, May 5, 2020.
“Sour mood getting you down? Get back to nature,” www.health.harvard.edu, May 5, 2020.
“Psychologists’ advice for newly remote workers,” www.apa.org, May 5, 2020.