Support Your Mental Health Working from Home

Working from home was a bit of novelty when COVID-19 thrust the majority of Americans to become remote employees for the first time. You could don a pair of sweats, “commute” to the couch, and comfortably settle in for a day of crunching numbers and writing board reports. But as the week passed, many began to lament the lack of structure to the day, chatting with fellow commuters on the train platform, or catching up with colleagues on Monday mornings.

“So many individuals feel isolated, lonely, anxious, depressed, and disconnected professionally and socially from other people,” says Anne Lisciotto, LCSW, an outpatient therapist at Christian Health Care Counseling Center (CHCCC). “Some have difficulty staying motivated and focused. Others find it hard to ‘switch off’ from work since home has technically become the office.”

The good news is that you can boost your mental health and well-being during this challenging time. Here are some tips:

  • Allocate a specific location in your home to work. Resist the urge to sit in this space during off hours.
  • Clean and declutter your work space daily to maintain a calm environment.
  • Create and maintain a regular schedule, with designated start and finish times. Be sure to incorporate breaks and a meal. Adhere to boundaries between work time and home time.
  • Replace sweats with dedicated work clothes. Do your hair. Put on makeup and jewelry. You’ll look and feel more professional, even if it’s only for you.
  • Step outside at least once a day for fresh air and sunshine.
  • Give yourself credit for adapting to this new normal.

“Social distancing does not mean social isolation,” Ms. Lisciotto says. “Make self-care a priority. Be flexible in your thinking. Take mindful breaths, express gratitude, and connect with your loved ones.

“Try to focus on the benefits of working remotely, too. Reduced distractions, improved productivity, a greater sense of control over your workday, and even financial gains from lack of commuting costs are just some of the silver linings.”

Despite enlisting coping techniques, professional help may be beneficial if your feelings and symptoms are overwhelming. Virtual outpatient treatment is available through CHCCC for children, adults, seniors, and families. Individualized outpatient treatment plans are developed following an initial assessment.

For more information about Christian Health Care Counseling Center, contact Karen Hockstein at (201) 848-4463 or khockstein@chccnj.org.

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