When countries started declaring nationwide lockdowns and the SARS-COV-2 virus started causing more damages than we had anticipated, the first thought that most of us had was that it would be incredibly easy and comfortable to work from home. Employees all over the world rejoiced even with a perennial and overhanging feeling of doom and breathed a sigh of relief. One would no longer have to commute to work or sit at one place and work till it was time to log out.
There was nothing that was not appealing about the entire utopian concept of working from home. Therefore, when the idea was floated by employers, everyone jumped at the opportunity and seized the day. Little did we know that working from home would pan out in a slightly different way than what we had assumed. It was not always going to fun and comfortable. In fact, it was going to get hectic and disconcerting, even.
From an idea that we approved the first time, it was broached to a routine that we started hating, the process of working from home has come a full circle. Our anxieties went off the charts, and we did not have the slightest idea of drawing healthy boundaries and managing our work. As most of us continue to work from home, the need to incorporate some healthy coping mechanisms with stress and anxiety has become the urgent need of the hour. Most employers have failed to understand the importance of mental health, especially at times as such, and failed to maintain a healthy work-life balance with their employees. Having said that, if you are someone dealing with anxiety and work stress every day while dispensing your duties from home, here are a few tips that can help you get your life back on track and deal with these exceptionally grueling times to the best of your abilities.
Turn Off the Phone Notifications for Your Office Chat Software as Soon as You Log Out:
Let us start by making changes to some habits that are well within our control. One of those habits is turning off the phone notifications for your office chat software as soon as you are done for the day. You are not entitled to respond to your employer beyond office hours, even if they contact you. Checking for notifications even after you wind up with your day’s task is not doing you any good.
The only thing it does is set off your anxiety and push you to the brink of a meltdown. It is human instinct to reply to emails and notifications and fix whatever it is that the notification is about. However, once you fix one problem and decide to let your hair down for the rest of the day, you shall see that you are being swamped by hundred other messages. And there are not enough resources at your disposal that can help you solve everything at once. This way, you shall only end up in a vicious loop and ruin your mental health. While some cutting-edge work and team collaboration software (about which you can find more info here) has made working from home incredibly easy, some have even started eating into our personal time.
Do not blame yourself for leaving WhatsApp messages on read or not replying to your employer as soon as they contact you after work. The time you have after work is yours alone, and it should not be spent worrying about work. Most of us have become conditioned to reply to every notification on the sound of the bell. This is nothing but a Pavlovian phenomenon, and you must recognize this so that you can break the habit of the same.
You Do Not Need Permissions to Log Out after Work Every Day:
The very first thing that you must understand is that every office has protocols which it is supposed to brief its employees about. Your office must have already mentioned when you are supposed to log in and log out. Thus, there is no need to wait around for permissions before you could log out for the day. As human beings who have grown up learning that external validation is all that matters, it is completely understandable that you want a few words of recognition from your employers before you can log out in peace.
But you must also understand that your employers will never appreciate your work every day or recognize the hard work that you put in. In fact, to be brutally honest, it does not even fall within the ambit of their responsibilities to assure you every day on how well you are doing. Therefore, you must stop waiting for things to happen and give yourself permission to log out as soon as you are done for the day. It is of utmost importance that you have boundaries at work. You are not supposed to work all day long. Working from home does not allow employers to inundate you with work only because you do not have to commute to the office.
Renowned psychologists say that setting concrete limits around your working hours can alleviate your anxiety and work stress and leave you with enough time to relax the rest of the day. In case you find your employers not being considerate enough for your time, put in a word to them and tell them how you would like to work. Have a clear and open line of communication with your employers so that you can negotiate and find a way to work around the work timings in a mutually beneficial manner.
Put Your Best Foot Forward at Work:
One of the best ways to manage your anxiety while working from home is to deal with the source of your anxiety in the first place. One of the things that makes people anxious even after they are done with their day’s work is whether they have dispensed off their duties effectively. Therefore, ensure that you are putting in your best at work so that you do not have to spend the rest of the day worrying about the quality of the same. If you are certain that you have worked to the best of your abilities, you might find yourself at ease after you log out. Being satisfied with the quality of your work can help you manage anxiety and keep work stress at bay. This is because you worry less about what has been done and concentrate on what lies ahead.
You can also take up some super-achievable tasks at work and finish them off with finesse. This shall act as a confidence booster and provide you with all the motivation required to stay at your productive best. Psychologists say that anxiety and stress is the result of your body wanting to take action and control situations. Therefore, if you are able to take control of your work, you shall be successful in eliminating the stressors and hence, manage your anxiety well.
Take Up a Non-Work Related Activity:
Your life is not just about work. It does not matter whether you work from home or office. Once you are done with the day’s work, you are supposed to punch out and enjoy the rest of the day doing things you like. It could include just napping, if that is what relaxes you. Once you are done with your day’s work, ensure that you are engaging in tasks that alleviate your anxiety and calms you down. Take up some fun activity like playing online games or watching a few episodes of your favorite show. You might also want to cook a sumptuous dinner or talk to your friends over a video call. Taking a long evening walk or lighting a few candles to soothe the senses are also known to bust stress and manage anxiety. There are several things that you can do to see to it that you have enough energy to get back to work the next day.
One of the best things that have been known to work for most people working from home is disconnecting from social media for a few hours. It is a beautiful thing to do away with e-trash for a while and return to nature. It is not just therapeutic but also helps you filter the toxicity in your life. You do not need to be updated about where your friends are partying or who is getting a promotion. This is just going to add to your anxiety, if anything. Disconnect from technology for a while and indulge in some non-work-related activity. This might just put your life back on track.
There are several ways in which you can alleviate your anxiety and stress while working from home. Always remember that this pandemic has affected everyone in some way or another. People are struggling hard to deal with their stress and manage their work. Therefore, do not be harsh on yourself. You are doing the best you can.