According to a recent study, 67% of people reported higher levels of stress since the outbreak of COVID-19, and 42% reported a decline in their mental health. As a result, many have reported a decrease in productivity at work, saying they have difficulty concentrating, take longer to accomplish tasks, and so on. 

COVID-19 presents new and unique challenges, and for many, working from home has become the new norm. Whether you are a seasoned telecommuter, or working in a remote environment for the first time, it's important to find ways to take care of your mental health and well-being. 

Here are some practical tips to safeguard your mental health while working from home during COVID-19.

Find a regular schedule and stick to it. 

In order to balance work and life when they are increasingly in the same space, it's important to maintain regular hours. Setting a designated time-frame to work then maintaining a hard stop once those hours are up will help your brain separate when work begins and when work ends. 

Additionally, regularly organizing your tasks for the day and mentally preparing yourself for what to expect can make it easier to achieve your goals each day. This kind of daily routine and a consistent schedule both set you up to be productive during your actual working hours, making it easier to fully log off from work and unwind once the day ends. 

Get fresh air and stay active.

Stepping outside for fresh air is a perfect way to take a break from your screen and avoid feeling confined while working from home. New sensory inputs will invigorate your brain and boost productivity, too. Also consider finding a short workout routine you can do while you're outside. The exercise will increase endorphins and help you reduce and alleviate stress. 

Of course, while you're strolling outside and taking in some fresh air or exercising (maybe both), remember to maintain the recommended six-foot distance from others. 

Stay connected.

Physical distance doesn't eliminate personal connection. Now is the perfect time to reach out and catch up with friends, family and your support systems. There are many options for virtual calls; popular platforms include FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangout, or Zoom. Connecting with people you trust can remind you that others may feel the same way you do, so talk about your fears and concerns. 

Working from home during this time may not be what you planned, but it's important to remember that you are not alone. Reach out to someone you trust for support, and speak to your doctor or a mental health professional if you're struggling with depression or anxiety. 

If you are a member of First Choice Health EAP, you can check out our EAP website for more information on maintaining your mental health. The EAP can also support your efforts with coaching and personal counseling. Call us at (800) 777-4114 to get started or for immediate telephonic support, 24/7.  We offer virtual counseling 24/7, stress training, mental health assessments, webinars, health videos and more. 

Posted In:  Behavioral Health Health and Wellness

About Heather Ford

Heather Ford is the Director of First Choice Health Employee Assistance Program. She is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW) with a Masters of Clinical Social Work, and a breadth of experience including inpatient and outpatient mental health, substance abuse, domestic violence, and juvenile probation. Heather previously served as an active duty military social worker for almost 10 years including a deployment in Iraq.