October 1, 2022

Healthke

All about your health

Why Self-Compassion Is Important When Working From Home

9 min read

Introduction

Working from home is the new normal for many of us, but have we learned to mitigate the challenges that come with this different work setup yet? 

Whether you’ve experienced remote work or not, you’ll probably have heard that this new approach to work comes with new difficulties. Adjusting to remote working can be tough, so we must be kinder to ourselves and each other as we tackle working from different locations. From added anxieties to feelings of isolation, many of us have struggled to adapt to remote working life. 

Recent studies have shown us that 79.05% of us have felt more stressed since the pandemic and work from home mandates started, proving that we need to change our view of working from home. Instead of struggling through, there are ways we can use self-compassion to make life easier. 

Keep on reading to find out why self-compassion is so important when working from home!

The Negative Impacts Of Remote Work

Unfortunately, there is a range of negative impacts that many of us have experienced from remote work. In March 2020 many of us faced an uncertain future as we left the office and dialed into the office from our homes. Working alone was a new journey for many of us, making the transition from a busy office to an empty house even more difficult. 

Though we all experienced this transition differently there was a range of common complaints that came with remote work.

Feeling Alone

One of the most standard problems of working from home was feelings of loneliness and isolation. With a lack of social interaction, working from home separates us from co-workers and friends. You may expect this to help you focus better, but in reality, the lack of interaction can leave us feeling unsettled and depressed. Not only that, but those of us without roommates home became a very isolating place. No amount of video calls can replace human connection!

Increased Workloads

Another element of working from home is an increased workload. While we didn’t all experience this, some workers saw their inboxes grow even larger when they switched to remote work. Sadly, some companies expected their workers to stay online for longer hours when working from home as they knew there was no commute involved. This was particularly disheartening when workers weren’t compensated for their extra efforts.

No Boundaries Between Personal And Work Life

The lack of boundaries in place when working from home is another common issue. Lots of employees found that they were expected to answer emails at all hours of the day, including weekends too. This left us with little time to relax or to do the things we enjoyed. It’s no surprise that we were feeling more stressed out than usual when our time had been turned into extra work hours! 

Benefits Of Working From Home

Though we can count a range of negative impacts from working from home, there are also some benefits too. Many remote workers love the freedom that comes with their job and once they experienced life outside of an office they didn’t want to go back. 

Here are some of the perks of working from home and remote work situations!

Flexible Schedules

Many remote workers experience a more flexible schedule when working from home. When you aren’t being supervised in an office, you have much more freedom to get projects and tasks done on your own time and in your own order too. This is a benefit to the working from home lifestyle that can become addictive! Once you experience true freedom with work you’ll never want to go back to working under someone else again!

More Time On Our Hands

If you don’t end up with an increased workload, working from home gives you much more time day-to-day. Since there’s no commuting when you work at home, there are extra hours at the start and end of your workday, letting you spend more time with family and friends, or doing the things you love. Many remote workers use this extra time to get fit, prepare healthy meals, or just relax before starting the day. 

A Better Daily Routine

Alongside more time and a flexible schedule, working from home allows you to curate a routine that suits your needs. Rather than rushing around to get to an office, you can live at a more peaceful pace at home. This may not be for everyone, but for those who want a stress-free routine, this is ideal. It’s also great if you want to take a more mindful approach to daily life, allowing you to slow down and put your mental health first.

How We Can Look After Our Mental Health

With the negative and positive impacts of mental health in mind, you must use compassionate strategies to look after yourself when working from home. Burnout, anxiety, and depression are more common amongst remote workers, so self-care and other solutions are needed to protect your mental health and general wellbeing too. 

If you’re starting to work from home and need some tips on how to be more self-compassionate, try some of these in your daily routines. 

Setting Workplace Boundaries

It’s not uncommon for remote workers to feel pressured to work longer hours or on their days off. When you work from home the line between person and work life can become blurred as you’re clocking in from your safe space. To make sure you don’t experience burnout or unnecessary stress, there are a few steps you can take to keep your work and personal life separate.

Try to ignore any work emails after the workday has finished. Unless the emails are urgent or important, leave them in your inbox until the start of the next working day. This will show others they shouldn’t contact you at random hours and it will also keep your mind off of work issues in your own time. 

Another way to set boundaries is by only taking on work that you know you have time for. With the rise of hustle culture and extreme work ethics, you may feel guilty for not using all of your spare time to earn money. While a few extra hours of work doesn’t hurt you, spending every waking hour on projects will leave you fatigued, anxious, and possibly depressed too.

Looking After Our Physical Health

When it comes to self-compassion, you need to look after both your physical and mental health too. If you’re physically healthy, it’ll benefit your mental state and mood. This means you should try to add some active time into your schedule at least three times a week.

You don’t need to join an expensive gym class, even a short 30-minute walk will do. However, if you get your body moving you’ll feel a lot better in the long run. Movement is proven to decrease stress and boost your mood, so be kind to yourself and take half an hour off of work to get some activity in. 

Popular activities for work from home days include:

  • A brisk lunch break walk
  • Yoga before the workday
  • A sunset run in the evening
  • An online dance class via Zoom
  • Short workout videos on YouTube
  • A gym session (if possible!)

Trying Out Self-Care

Another way to add some self-compassion into your daily life is to embrace some self-care. This hot topic is discussed a lot, and if you haven’t tried it yet we’ll be surprised! Self-care refers to any acts that relax you and keep you grounded. They should take your mind off of work or the stresses of daily life and soothe you.

Modern life is stressful and working from home can be difficult, it’s important to have a range of “go-to” self-care activities to keep yourself calm and thriving. Self-care looks different for all of us too. For example, to some people self-care involves eating well and basic hygiene, whereas for others self-care is luxurious skincare routines and indulging in treats. Work out what makes you feel best and dedicate time for this every week.

Getting Enough Sleep

Sleep is essential to function every day, however, it can easily get forgotten when you’re overwhelmed by work. You can show compassion to yourself by getting enough rest every night with a stable sleep routine. Make sure you’re going to bed at a regular time and not staying up until the early hours of the morning. This will boost your mood and you’ll feel physically better too. 

If you struggle with getting to sleep, you should try to stay away from your phone and laptop for an hour before bed. The blue light from technology can keep you awake longer and answering any work emails will cause you to feel stressed out too. Instead, try reading or listening to podcasts before you sleep to help you gently nod off.

Eating Well

Similarly to getting exercise in, you should also make sure you’re getting enough nutrients too. Eating well is a way to be compassionate to yourself as the right fuel will make you more focused and your body will feel better too. 

We know it’s easier to reach for junk food or chips when working from home, this is quick and easy, but it also isn’t the best for your health. If you struggle to eat well, create a weekly meal planner so you know what you’re eating before you cook. If you don’t have time to cook every day, you can try batch cooking a healthy meal on the weekend and then eating this in the week to save time. 

If you want to break your unhealthy snacking habit when working from home, try some of these alternatives: 

  • Dried fruit and nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Apple and peanut butter slices
  • Wholegrain chips
  • Blueberries and raspberries

Another essential tip to keep your body thriving is to stay hydrated! Approximately eight cups of water are needed per day, so start keeping track of your hydration too. These tips are simple, but they’re important for your overall well-being. 

Regular Social Interaction

It’s no secret that working from home can lead to workers feeling isolated and lonely. It’s important that you beat these feelings by being proactive and reaching out to loved ones. Whether you organize a family video call or meet some good friends for coffee, make sure you get weekly social interaction. 

At the end of the day, humans need personal interactions to thrive, so don’t avoid them! It can be tough to be proactive, but it’s worth it when you’re laughing with a close friend. Luckily, modern technology allows us to video call or message each other from anywhere now – so make the most of this!

Leave The House Often

Some remote workers reported that they felt trapped in the house during the lockdowns and initial work from the home period. If you can, make an effort to leave the house a few times a week. This can be tough sometimes as we often get wrapped up in work, but it’ll make a big difference to your mindset if you do.

A short walk in nature or a trip to the store will take your mind off of stressful work projects and it’ll give you some much-needed fresh air. It also gives you some activity, so you can pair your exercise with leaving the house too. Try to get out of the house as often as possible and you’ll feel much better about working from home in no time. 

Conclusion: Have More Self-Compassion

When you’re working from home, it’s easy to feel anxious and depressed, but if we have self-compassion we can beat these feelings. Whether you start taking more care of yourself or indulge in activities you enjoy, being kind to yourself is important when remote working. Hopefully, these tips have given you some inspiration for your own work-from-home routine!

Have you experienced working from home? What were your ways of being self-compassionate? Let us know in the comments!