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5 ways to improve your mental wellbeing while working from home.

Updated: Jan 11, 2022

5 simple steps that you can use today to help you improve your mental wellbeing and mental health while working from home.

Take care of your mental health while working from home.

Feeling trapped, isolated, or demotivated is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to our mental wellness while working from home. I can’t even count the number of times I have felt as if I just couldn’t switch off from work or had troubles getting a decent night sleep. This cage that I once called my apartment has now become my office, my gym, my... (insert life activity here) and while at first my life seemed to resemble something from a movie where the main character was stuck in this never-ending loop of mundane activities where nothing was organised, and my efficiency was non existent. I crawled my way out and found the recipe to turn things around.

Here are the 5 strategies you can use to improve your mental health and mental wellbeing while working from home.

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1) Create a designated workspace

Office desk in home office

Now I don’t know about you but when I set out to find a house a few years ago, ‘enough space for an office’ was not on the list of criteria. So, I ended up settling for a studio apartment which was, wait for it… close to my office! Little did know just how close I would end up.

At first, my bed became my office desk, my kitchen counter had a printer plugged in where my microwave once stood, and my couch turned out to be a decent filing cabinet. I think you can get the picture- This was not healthy!

I decided to redistribute the space in my 400sq.ft Studio apartment by arranging a desk and converting a few pieces of furniture to serve my work life, but the important part was that I still had space for my life-life.

This helped tremendously because it drew an invisible line between work and life. When I was sitting at my desk I was working. When I was not at my desk I didn’t need to be thinking about work.

If you do have kids or family who could distract you form your work then a great idea is to designate one room in the house as your office. This is a great way to draw the line between, “I’m at work” and “I’m at home”.

This can be considered as a psychological boundary to help you to increase your efficiency.

2) Creating and sticking to a routine

a routine journal for organisation

So much can be said about the mental health benefits of a routine. A routine plays a vital role in helping us cope with change and managing stress.

I failed miserably at this in the beginning. I was constantly playing catch up with life and I just couldn’t seem to get ahead of my tasks which is what lead me to discover these simple tricks.

  • Waking up and getting dressed for work, even though I was staying at home, this was a great mental tool to feel like ‘work had started’.

  • Setting a Start time and a finish time for work duties was another very effective tool for knowing when to switch work mode on and off.

  • Giving myself a break/breaks to either go for a walk around my building, do some breath work or make some food. I found that after a short break I had more focus on immediate tasks and didn’t sit staring at a screen for minutes, getting nothing done anyway.

3) Setting boundaries for your work environment

nope, setting rules say no

Having people just walk into your office or call you from across the house at any point can be frustrating when you are trying to meet a deadline.

By setting a boundary like specific hours of the day, a certain room in the house or as simple as, “When I’m wearing my work clothes” you not only make it easier for yourself to switch between the two lives we are living at home, but you also make it clear for those who are sharing your space that you are ‘technically’ not there.

Other boundaries include personal boundaries, like a number of coffees in the day, a number of toilet breaks, no social media, or perhaps the most important- a technology detox once you walk out of that room.

These boundaries are up to you as a person, and they should be viewed as you taking back control of your life through conscious decision making.

4) Taking effective breaks

take a break, and rest from work

Although I touched on this already, I think it’s important that we highlight the word ‘effective’.

Taking a break and continuing to read emails and respond to calls, is not a break. Taking a break means getting away for a few minutes, breaks should be used to increase your performance and efficiency.

Take a walk, meditate, chat with family, or make a smoothie. Whatever helps you to recentre yourself so that you can get back in the driver’s seat and be effective.

This decision to switch off for 5-10 mins is a conscious decision and It will help you to feel in control of your day.

5) Get fresh air

get fresh air take a walk outside

I cannot stress this enough. Fresh air, sunshine, rain or snow is vital for us to stay connected with ourselves and more often than not, you will feel energized after being exposed to the elements. Go walk outside, play with a pet, or just stand on the balcony.

Get out of that room or that house and feel in control of your life and your decisions today.

6) Additional tools

Lastly, I wanted to share a bonus tool which worked for me, breath work. You would be really surprised to find out how many people don’t know how to breath. Okay, I’m not saying they don’t know how to breath- or they’d be dead.

But the moment you stop to focus on your breath you will notice that even as you’re reading this you are not breathing full deep breaths, this is because we get so consumed in our daily stress, we literally forget to breath.

Oxygen not only fuels our brain but fuels our muscles too. Stop for just a minute when you are on your walk and think about whether you are really filling your lungs or just half breathing.

7) A final note

If you are still reading this far, then I guess I’ve written something which you can either relate to or benefit from and I hope you will be back to read some more. These were my simple tips on how to improve your mental wellbeing while working from home. Let me know in the comments below if you managed to give any of them a try.

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