Our world is changing rapidly due to the Covid-19 social distancing measures. If you aren’t employed a sector that necessitates your presence at a business facility, you have probably gone into work from home mode. While the measure is essential for protecting everyone’s health, it can impact one’s mental wellbeing.

Working from home and social isolation can contribute to loneliness, stress and even depression. Here’s what to expect when you start working from home and some of the best strategies for countering the negative emotional consequences.

Working from Home: Its Effect on Your Mental Health

Mental health professionals observe that work from home arrangements that aren’t voluntary can have a negative effect on mental health. There’s a simple reason why – we are social creatures and many of our daily contacts with others occur at the office.

Mandated remote work is mainly linked to feelings of isolation and loneliness. In addition, many people have no idea how to separate their personal from their professional life when working from home. As a result, the risk of burnout increases exponentially. Burnout has been recognised as a mental health problem of its own but it also increases the risk of other issues like clinical depression.

Remote work is a common trend in many fields – for example – web development and consulting. In these situations, however, professionals consciously choose the remote work model. They have time to adapt, develop new habits and coping mechanisms.

When a person is ordered to work from home for a period of time that’s still unspecified, they haven’t had the time to get used to the idea and make a transition.

Covid-19 social distancing comes with another problem and that’s comprehensive isolation from others. Even people who work from home go out to meet others and experience positive social interactions. These are eliminated in the current situation, contributing to an even more profound sense of isolation and loneliness.

Ways to Address the Emotional Consequences of Working from Home

If you’ve been affected by mandated remote work as a result of the coronavirus situation, you’ll need to come up with various strategies for making the most of the current situation. While you will have to adjust to something completely new and out of your comfort zone, there are still positives linked to staying home and being your own boss.

For a start, maintain regular work hours.

The fact that your workplace is in your flat doesn’t mean you have to work from 9am to 10pm. Determine what your working hours are going to be. Once your “work day” ends, close the laptop and spend some quality time with your family or with your favourite hobby.

The next issue to address is the social isolation.

Schedule regular video conference calls with your co-workers to touch base and to maintain that feeling of a professional connection. Technology today makes it possible for you to remain in touch with others, even if you’re not physically present at the same location.

A quick morning call is a great way to start the day, to hear someone’s voice and to remind yourself that you’re not alone in this situation.

To maintain your mental health when working from home and engaging in active social distancing, you will also need to take good care of your physical health. This means eating well, sleeping well and doing something fun each day.

Prepare healthy meals – this is easy when you’re not leaving home as often as you used to in the past. You can either do some online grocery shopping for the week or you can order food in to make sure your nutritional needs are being met.

Exercise is another vital essential and you can easily do an indoor routine. A bit of yoga, some dancing, a quick cardio session or some aerobics give you an amazing way to deal with stress and to experience that feel-good sensation resulting from a sweaty workout.

Just do some research – there are dozens of exercise live streams and home video subscriptions you can try out. There’s also no need for gym equipment although if you have some at your home, you should definitely make the most of it.

Adapting to the New Work Mode

Take some time to adapt to the new work mode because nobody knows just how long social distancing is going to last.

Find the best work strategy for the day – get rid of distractions, stay in touch with your co-workers and take frequent breaks (go out on the balcony or in front of your building) to maintain your focus.

This is also a great time for doing the things you’ve always postponed due to the absence of time. Starting an online course to further your professional qualifications is a definite good idea at this time. You can also take up a favourite hobby that you have long forgotten about or you can clean up/renovate your home.

If the feeling of being lonely and isolated gets too overwhelming and you feel depressed a lot of the time, get in touch with someone who can offer assistance.

Feeling bad most of the time, having obsessive pessimistic thoughts about the future and professional burnout should never be underestimated as these can have profound, long-lasting consequences.

Mental health clinics like Adelphi Psych Medicine Clinic are ready to offer assistance in this challenging moment. The Adelphi Singapore psychiatrist and psychologists have extensive experience in the realm of depression treatment. Get in touch with us if you’re way too overwhelmed or saddened by the current situation. While such feelings are normal at a time when your life is changing so profoundly, they shouldn’t be taking over. You can still find happiness in a challenging moment if you take good care of yourself and you’re open to the possibilities.