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How To Deal With Stress of Working From Home

Wong Shu Lee  

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  November 19, 2020

With the Covid-19 lockdowns, the working culture around the globe has changed. Work from home is the new norm, more and more companies have implemented working from home policies to ensure the safeness of their workers. 

 

Video calls have replaced meetings and WhatsApp office groups have become the main communication channel among colleagues. Although working from home save your time and money on transportation, there are no clear office timings for those who work from home. Workers are expected to stretch their working hours as they are saving the commutation time. Moreover, market uncertainties have led to low job security, many people are constantly in fear of losing their jobs. 

 

Work stress is unavoidable in most jobs. However, in the pre-pandemic era, there is a switch for people to turn off their working mode once they step out of the office. After 6pm (or later for night shifter or those who stay over time), we can pull ourselves out of the stressful environment temporary, and do things that we like. Some would visit gyms, some would meet friends at some cosy restaurants, some would even go for a nice and relaxing massage. Unfortunately, all these activities are unavailable now due to the Covid-19 pandemic. 

 

Moreover, some people thrive when they are in an environment with others. They love to work interactively — discussing or approaching work issues with colleagues or having others around as a sounding board. For them, working from home works against their nature as they have to function in isolation. Over time, this could lead to anxiety and stress. 

 

Another source of stress is the lack of boundaries between work and home. Working mothers, in particular, feel completely overwhelmed in the present situation. Since schools and nurseries are closed, working mums have to take care of their children, prepare meals and focus on work altogether at the same time. The never-ending demands from bosses and family members throughout the day lead to tremendous stress. 

 

So, What Can We Do? 

 

Although there are many downsides of WFH, this is the best solution for businesses to sustain during the pandemic. At least we don’t have to lose our job or to risk our life. Besides, experts have suggested many ways to deal with the stresses of WFH. 

 

Keep a regular schedule

 

Create and maintain a routine and schedule. Set up a designated space for you and each family member to work and learn. This can help you to set clearer boundaries between work, family and your me-time. Here is a sample: 

  • 7:00 a.m. - Wake up, stretch, take care of kids/animals
  • 7:30 a.m. - Breakfast and family time (technology free!)
  • 8:30 a.m. - Work and check on updates with small breaks every 30 minutes or so
  • 12:00 p.m. - Lunch break, get fresh air, stretch & exercise
  • 1:00 p.m. - Work with breaks every 30 minutes, check in with co-workers
  • 5:00 p.m. - Dinner and screen break! Call a friend, family, or loved one
  • 7:00 p.m. - Self care time

 

Exercise and stay active

 

Although gyms and taman are closed during this time, you can still get up and move around your home. Walking, stretching, planks or jumping jacks, just do whatever works best for you to reduce or alleviate stress and increase endorphins. You can also follow free live streams or fitness apps for guided workouts. Staying active is vital for your physical and mental health, especially when you spend most of your time in a confined place during lockdowns. 

 

Get fresh air

 

If circumstances allow, go outside for a brisk walk and fresh air. But if your area is Covid-19 red zone, just get yourself some fresh air from your balcony. 

 

Limit media consumption

 

Avoid continuous exposure to news, media, and social media that may trigger or elevate anxiety, stress, or panic. Most of the times, horrifying news and rumours circulated on social media are not truths. Stay informed by following few, authoritative resources, but limit media consumption. 

 

Get creative to stay connected

 

Share tips with co-workers and friends on what's working well for you and encourage them to do the same. Come up with new ideas like planning a Google Hangout to exercise together or have lunch together. This is useful for those who can’t withstand isolation. 

 

Just remember, if you are overwhelmed with stresses, get support from friends and family members that you trust. Don’t neglect your mental health as it is as important as your physical health to keep you functioning properly as a human being. We wish you all the best! 

 

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