I didn’t talk to anyone today… Mental health and working from home

Today is World Mental Health Day and an opportunity for us all to be honest, open and caring about mental health issues. There is plenty of great mental health advice out there for both employers and employees but what about those of us who work from home? Tips like ‘Get to know your colleagues outside office hours’ and ‘Look for opportunities to work in a team’ are great but can be tricky to try when your office is your home and your team is you.

Working from home can be lonely

I have been a freelance writer now for three years and I will openly admit that, in those initial months, my home office was often a lonely place to be. As my writing business has grown, I have been able to improve my work life balance, and now I wouldn’t have things any other way. It has taken time and a bit of trial and error to get to this point, and everybody has different needs but here are a few tips to help you safeguard your mental health when you are working from home.

  1. Build in regular time with other people (through hobbies or work)
  2. Seek out projects that involve elements of communication
  3. Go outdoors at the start and end of each day (try walking ‘home’ from work)
  4. Take regular exercise (your flexible hours give you lots of options here)
  5. Ration your time interacting with social media
  6. Eat nutritiously (far easier when you work from home)
  7. Do some good (volunteer or work to make a difference)
  8. Celebrate your flexible hours by having fun in the middle of a week day
  9. On busy days, take five minutes out for YouTube-led desk yoga
  10. Understand your ‘mood year’ and make happy plans for those down months

Keep an eye on your mental health

With increased flexibility, the ability to schedule your own days and improved options for travel, there is plenty to celebrate about working both for yourself and from home but it is still really important to keep an eye on your mental health. When I started my freelance writing business I had a job priority checklist that looked like this:

  • Is it going to directly earn money?
  • Is it going to be good for my health?
  • Is it going to help build my business?

Make mental health your priority

These days I have swapped the first and second around and make my physical and mental health a priority. My income hasn’t suffered, in fact it has improved, and so have my happiness levels. Look after yourself… you are definitely your very best asset.

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