Working remotely is the honeypot, serving up the freedom to work from anywhere and balance your life as you please. But, as with anything else, if you don’t manage your mental health, the neglect will compound and the consequences will come crashing down.
Thankfully, remote work mental health isn’t complicated to maintain. A few small daily and weekly habits will work wonders for your productivity, focus, and contentment.
Add these six remote work mental heath to-dos to your list for next week and you will be thanking yourself.
6 Ways To Invest In Your Remote Work Mental Health This Week
1. Invest time in screen-free forms of relaxation
This may sound like a cinch, but be honest with yourself: how often do you actually unplug? We all know that a day of working on our laptops bleeding right into a night of Netflix doesn’t do anything for our mental health, yet this is a pattern I reckon you’ve lapsed into before.
In the climate of working online, socializing online, grocery shopping online, and so on, it’s easy to neglect the lingering aspects of physical life that are still within reach.
Consider any of these forms of entertainment as alternatives to digital relaxation:
– Reading books, magazines or comics
– Breaking out a puzzle
– Adult coloring books
– Explore cooking the cuisine from a new part of the world
– Knitting, cross stitching or embroidery
2. Commit to water intake goals
Drinking water may sound like a physical health goal, but consider this: even mild dehydration can impair your memory, brain performance, critical thinking and mood.
Those are serious side effects, but thankfully, the solution is thankfully very simple. Set a daily water goal and pay attention to your intake to reduce your odds of accidental dehydration:
1. Determine your water goal. There are a number of factors that influence how much water you should drink, but a rough estimate is about 3 liters a day
2. Pick your water receptacle. Whether it’s a Nalgene from your hiking bag, a mason jar or any old cup, crunch the numbers on how many times you should be refilling your water per day
3. Make it a point to meet your checkpoint throughout the day. A 1-liter water bottle will make this simple: drink and refill the entire bottle every morning, afternoon and evening
Make way for some razor-sharp focus mental clarity and glowing skin (another hydration benefit!).
3. Remember your purpose
What drives you to work remotely? Is it the location freedom, the ability to design any lifestyle you want or the ability to travel while you work?
There are sincere gains of the remote lifestyle, but like all choices in life, there are consequences as well.
These consequences will never feel more threatening than under the weight of another missed event back home, the juggling act of maintaining relationships digitally and the pressure of advancing your career.
You will be more emotionally resilient to the natural ebbs and flows of remote work if you remember why you chose the road less traveled.
Install anchors throughout your life that remind you of your goals and why you chose the remote lifestyle. This can be a post-it note above your laptop screen, the background on your phone or a word that you focus on at the start of every workday.
This is important for remote employees but absolutely vital for people with their own online businesses. Temptations to give up with be abundant, but we all entrepreneurs know that the goal is worth it. Center your work around it.
A good anchor is emotional and causes a physical reaction when you look at it. It’s okay if it’s cheesy – it’s only for you. I’ve printed several anchors out and keep them in my planner. My to-do list is always in perspective this way.
4. Take a part of your routine outside
Identify parts of your work routine that can be mobile. Maybe that’s a recurring call-in meeting or a weekly brainstorming session: whatever the task may be, find a part of your routine to take outside.
The added movement will be beneficial for your body, but the emotional benefits may be even greater.
Physical exercise, such as walking, has been found to improve sleep, increase energy level, enhance overall emotional well-being and reduce feelings of stress.
5. Build socializing into the structure of your week
Remote work shouldn’t translate into isolation. Yet, if you don’t make it a point to work in socializing, it may accidentally warp into that over time. Your remote work mental health will benefit from structured socializing.
Consider finding a coworking space near you and becoming a part of that community. Working around others, even if you are each working independently, can have a massive effect on your mood, energy and focus.
Beyond the physical community within your reach, schedule routine calls or virtual coffee dates with friends. This will give you something to look forward to on your agenda.
6. Establish something in the evening to look forward to
Institutionalize a reason to put your laptop away at the end of every work day. Ideally, a reason that motivates you to complete your work and brings some joy into your life.
This could be a DIY happy hour, cooking, a sunset walk: trying to catch every sunset is a noble goal, and surely worth putting your work away for.
When you’re working remotely and living the digital nomad lifestyle, this comes naturally: my laptop could’ve never beat out this sunset in Ometepe, Nicaragua. We have to generate some of that excitement when we’re working from home.
Remote Work Mental Health Final Thoughts
Even though working remotely is the dream work arrangement, the daily realities of the lifestyle will still wear on you all the same as any job.
What has helped you survive and thrive working online? Do you have any remote work mental health tips to add to this list?
Wherever you’re working from today, take care of yourself and remember to enjoy the journey.