Who would have thought that we’d live the day when working from home would become the new norm and not the exception? The dawn of COVID-19 has definitely put a strain on the way we operate in the professional world, as most people have been forced to work from home full-time nowadays.
While there are many benefits when it comes to working remotely, such as being able to relax in your pyjamas and not worry about traffic, remote teams in every field of activity are facing increased complexities and more pressure than before.
Working from home may sound ideal in principle, but with time, it can have dire effects on your mental health and more and more people report being too depressed to work. If you’re part of a team you find yourself nowadays missing most of the interactions that helped you deliver the results in your profession. If you’re entrepreneur, like others, you were probably forced to re-evaluate your entire business or face extinction, as the rules of the game changed almost overnight. It’s no wonder that many of us find it hard to cope with the pressure of work delivered under the new circumstances and the incidence of depression has increased dramatically.
Diagnosed or not, depression can affect your work and some days may event prevent you from being focused, productive or on top of your game.
Too depressed to work? –
What to do…
According to the American Psychiatric Association, depression is defined as a condition that negatively affects how you think and feel. Fortunately, depression is something that can be treated clinically and by practicing a few methods which we will look into, particularly for those of you who are working from home and need help dealing with depression.
Before we do that, let’s look at the symptoms of depression:
- Feelings of sadness and hopelessness
- Feelings of guilt and anxiety
- Loss of appetite or overeating
- Insomnia or excessive sleeping
- Difficulty concentrating
- Finding it hard to do things you used to enjoy
However, for those of you who have been working remotely and have been experiencing the above symptoms or already suffer from depression, it is important to find ways to effectively manage and take care of your mental health. Based on the symptoms of depression it’s safe to say that it can affect your work performance and even your interactions with co-workers, family members clients and other major stakeholders.
Therefore, taking the appropriate steps to helping yourself get better is what you’ll need to do to improve your mental health.
Here are 5 things you should do if you are experiencing symptoms of depression while working remotely.
1. Get Help
Seeking professional help is important for your recovery from a depressive episode. Your physician may refer you to a psychologist or counselor for you to speak to in the form of therapy.
During quarantine, many counselors have seen patients via virtual consultations (Zoom meetings). Your doctor or psychiatrist may also prescribe you with medication to help you sleep if you are experiencing insomnia or to help with your overall mood.
2. Practicing the two M’s: Mindfulness and Meditation
Meditation is the practice of training your awareness and attention by setting your focus on one task. Meditation has been scientifically proven to be beneficial for treating mental illnesses and even improving your overall mindset and approach towards life.
Mindfulness is a form of meditation and is quite similar to it too! Mindfulness is the art of focusing solely on one task and acknowledging when distracting thoughts cross your mind without judging yourself and the thoughts, then bringing your focus back to the task at hand. Mindfulness has been proven to be effective in treating mental disorders such as anxiety and depression and can help to manage self-critical and negative thoughts.
There are many forms of meditation and therefore it is important to find stress reducing techniques that work for you. It is also important to note that meditating at first will not be easy but trying to do things that could improve your mental health is what counts.
3. Journaling will help when you feel too depressed to work
Believe it or not but writing can be therapeutic! Especially if you’re working from home and sitting with your laptop or computer. While working or taking calls, grab your journal and pen and start writing whatever it is that you’re feeling. Journaling will not only help to improve your writing skills, but also help to self-reflect, boost your memory, and help to manage and keep track of your thoughts, especially the negative ones.
Keeping a mood journal might also be beneficial in tracking how your moods have been changing or whether there has been an improvement over a period of time.
Exercise can be extremely beneficial to improving your overall mood and alleviating anxiety and symptoms of depression. Since some gyms might still be closed since the CoVID-19 outbreak, finding ways to exercise at home might be a bit challenging, but not impossible!
There are various online exercise regimes that you could follow from home, such as practicing yoga, taebo or even downloading apps to help you get started with a routine. Or use Working Den’s free collection of home workouts to help you maintain your stamina and flexibility.
Exercise has proven to not only have physical benefits on the body but is beneficial in helping to release feel-good hormones such as endorphins which can boost your mood. If your sleep pattern is a bit crazy right now, then exercise can also help with sleeping better at night and alleviating insomnia.
5. Spending time with your family and friends.
This may be easier said than done as depression seems to hate company! It’s important to surround yourself with people or loved ones who genuinely care about you and your well-being, even if you don’t feel like facing the world, play with your pet during lunch breaks or take your dog for a walk before work. You’d be amazed at how much spending time with your loved ones can help you and your well-being.
Consider changing what’s not working
Sometimes we find ourselves in stressful jobs and working from home and constantly being at home can definitely affect your mood, it is important to recognize whether it’s your job that’s been affecting your mood and a different role could work better for you . COVID-19 has forced a lot of rules and regulations upon us and a whole new lifestyle and way of doing things.
If you are planning to leave your job, it is important to have a back-up plan, so that you can still have some sort of income coming in, as not having money to pay the bills can add even more pressure. It is essential to look after yourself while working remotely. In the midst of getting lost in the madness happening around us, it is important to put your well-being first.