You’ve been moved to your home office because of COVID-19. Work used to be your escape from the oppression of your home’s walls closing in around you; now what? You’re at home for hours per day, trying to get work done while those depressing thoughts creep into your mind and threaten to distract or completely derail your current project.
If there’s anything COVID-19 has shown us, it’s that many jobs that “couldn’t” be done at home actually can be. But as glamorous as working from home might sound, it’s just not for everyone. If you’re suffering from depression and working from home, this guide is for you.
We’ll cover some simple tips to help you manage your depression at home and still maintain productivity and keep your hope up.
Get Out of the House
You’ve likely got limited options for leaving the house with restrictions from both state and federal government bodies. While you can’t exactly go down to your favorite Saturday night hangout spot, some parks are still open. Let’s say there’s actually nowhere you can go for an escape, then what? If you have a yard, you can set up an outside office. That’s right; I’m writing this from the comfort of my sunny backyard right now.
This has a twofold effect: you’re getting sunshine, which can actually help improve your mood, and you’re getting out of the confines of your home while getting your work done. When those depressive thoughts and self-deprecating I hate myself feelings start creeping in, take a step outside and give yourself a break.
Yes, it’s ok to take a break. Take as long as you need. At the end of your day, your mental health is the most important thing right now.
You absolutely must maintain some kind of routine during this pandemic. Your brain yearns for a semblance of normalcy in times of stress and fear/anxiety. Go to bed and wake up at the same time you would if you were headed into the office. Don’t let yourself oversleep or stay up so late that the next day feels like a marathon of exhaustion.
Maintaining a schedule from home can be difficult if you’ve never worked from home. It can be even more difficult since it’s summertime now and the kids are at home. Keeping everyone on a schedule can ensure that you’re all focusing on your mental health and maintaining a healthy household until the virus runs its course.
If your project is due Friday and you wait until Thursday night to do it, you’re causing your brain ten times as much stress and anxiety as if you would’ ve just worked on it throughout the week. Don’t put things off for work just because you have the freedom to mess around at home. No, your boss can’t see what you’re doing during the day, but the lack of focus will definitely show in the results of your work.
Plus, why put something off until tomorrow that you can do today? You’ll be on time, experience less stress, and your work will be of the quality your company expects from you. Now is not the time to start slacking on your work quality and risk losing your job. With so many people wishing to go back to work, be grateful you’re still employed and have the opportunity to work from home.
There’s a mountain of evidence to support the role of frequent exercise in improving mental health. Whether you have workout equipment or not, ensuring you keep your body moving during your stay-at-home work period is crucial to maintaining your mental health and managing depression symptoms.
You don’t have to bench 300 pounds and do 1,000 sit-ups if you’re just getting started. In fact, trying to do too much exercise at first can just leave you feeling exhausted and demoralized. Start small, with just a few exercises per day. Go on a walk through your neighborhood. Jump rope. Do some push-ups. Keep your body moving and blood flowing to your brain.
Exercise also releases special chemicals in the brain called endorphins, which can improve your mood and energy levels. In fact, that feeling is closely related to what you’d feel from something like morphine. Think of it as a natural “high” so to speak.
This Too Will Pass
With depression, it’s easy to see such things like this pandemic as impending doom. The lens of depression brings gray to a colorful world, and you can begin to lose hope. Remember that we are strong as a species, a society, and a human community. This too will pass, and we’ll come out on the other side as we have before. COVID-19 may have claimed lives, but with modern medicine, proper restrictions, and cooperation from the average person, the virus will run its course.