Fort Wellness Counseling

Does Working from Home Affect Your Mental Health?

Working from home can play a huge role on your mental health. There’s no denying that the past few years have been different to say the least. From navigating a global pandemic, to altering our everyday routines. We have all been rethinking the way we did things.

For many of us, this means working from home. During the Pandemic, nearly 70 percent of full-time workers were working from home. Post-pandemic, 92 percent of workers expect to work from home at least once per week.

Will this trend become permanent? Well, a lot of researchers seem to think so. Data scientists at Ladders project that 25 percent of all professional jobs in North America will be remote by the end of 2022. Remote work will continue to expand through 2023.

That said, if you or a loved one are currently working from home, you might be asking yourself: At what cost? Does working from home affect your mental health? And if so, how?

If these questions sound familiar, rest assured that I have answers. As a Licensed Professional Counselor, I will explain exactly how working from home affects your mental health in this blog post.

Mental Health and Working from Home Stress

A study revealed that as many as 3 out of 4 American workers reported feelings of stress during the pandemic. Not only that, but further research revealed that remote workers tend to feel more stress than their in-office counterparts.

While every job has its moments, working from home comes with its own set of stressors. Some people don’t have access to the tools required to complete daily tasks. Others struggle to balance work and home life, especially when they share the same geography. Additionally, remote workers often pressure themselves to work 24/7, which elevates feelings of work-induced anxiety. Working from home 24/7 is less than ideal for a healthy work/life balance.

While stressing for short amounts of time is normal, long-term stress (aka chronic stress) can have negative effects on your physical and emotional health. Some indicators that your stress levels are high include:

  • Prolonged feelings of nervousness
  • Prolonged feelings of sadness or depression
  • Tiredness and exhaustion
  • Feeling angry or irritable
  • Having low motivation
  • Struggling to pay attention
  • Sleeping problems
  • Experiencing burnout

If you believe you are experiencing abnormally high amounts of stress, talking with a therapist can help. Not only will I give you the tools to manage and reduce the stress you are experiencing, but my office is a safe space to explore any issues that may be hiding under the surface.

How Working from Home Affects Mental Health

Humans are incredibly social beings, and not all individuals are used to spending long bouts of time without fellow human interaction. When you work from home, you miss out on chit-chatting with your coworkers around the community coffee pot and venting to your desk-mate about a particularly frustrating assignment. Unfortunately, those face-to-face connections cannot be entirely replaced by Slack messages and Zoom meetings. Therefore, many remote workers find themselves feeling lonely and/or isolated.

Depression from Working from Home

Research tells us that social support plays a key role in maintaining our well-being, and depression (as well as other mental illnesses) can be exacerbated by a lack thereof. Aside from the isolating environment that working from home requires, remote workers cannot connect in the same way that on-site coworkers can.

Furthermore, working from home can cause you to feel stuck. When you don’t go into the office, you might feel as though your achievements aren’t recognized. This can cause depressive feelings to set in, as you might feel like you’re underappreciated, underachieving, or simply not as valuable as your in-office counterparts.

Mental Health Benefits of Working from Home

Of course, working from home isn’t all bad. While there are negative consequences to be wary of, remote work can also positively affect your mental health:

  • You don’t commute. Every commuter knows that regularly spending long periods in the car can increase one’s stress levels. Working from home reduces the need to commute, therefore boosting your ability to sleep, socialize, and relax.
  • You’re more productive. Research reveals that working from home is linked to higher productivity.
  • You have more time. If you schedule yourself efficiently, working from home can give you more time to spend with family and friends, on hobbies, exercise, or catching up on sleep.
  • You save money. Remote work eliminates the need for commuter costs, which ultimately saves you money. Additionally, if you are struggling financially (which also has ample effects on mental health), working from home allows you the flexibility to move somewhere more affordable. You can also eat from home which saves money. Not to mention that will be better than fast food.

Mental Health Tips for Working from Home

Are you working from home? Here are some tips for making the most out of it: 

  • Work in tune with your body’s internal clock. Our bodies follow a biological clock known as our circadian rhythm. What this means is that during different points of the day, your alertness, digestion, and body temperature will naturally change. To make the most of working from home, notice how you feel at different times of the day and work when you feel most productive. Do your hardest task when you are at your finest.
  • Stick to a work schedule. If you struggle with the vast flexibility working from home allows, sticking to consistent work hours can help foster a sense of control and accomplish goals.
  • Have a pre-work routine. Prior to working from home, did you always take a shower in the mornings before you went to work? Did you allow enough time for yourself to drink some coffee in the morning? Try to develop a pre-work routine so that you can allow yourself to get into the mindset slowly instead of jumping in. Whatever you do, do not just roll out of bed, and hit the power button your computer. 
  • Separate your workspace. To boost productivity working from home, give your workspace its own location (away from your television, spouse, kitchen, or bed). Distractions waste our mental energy, so it’s important to find a workspace that is free from clutter. Program your mind to be in work mode when you are in this designated area.
  • Have periods of productivity and take a small break. You can only work for so long.  It’s important to give yourself breaks throughout the day to keep your mind fresh.  Try to work hard for 50 minutes and then take a 10-minute break. 
  • Plan your day out. Plan your schedule out.  What are you going to be doing for the day? The more specific you are, the better.   
  • Workout in the morning before work.Working out and exercising prior to work can do wonders for your mental health.  It’s no secret that some of the most successful and productive people out there start the day with an early morning workout. Disney’s CEO, Bob Iger, starts his day at 4:15am and refuses to get on technology until after that.  It is a great way to have a proactive day instead of a reactive day.

Best Counselor in Fort Worth, Texas

Does working from home affect your mental health? The simple answer is yes. If you or a loved one are experiencing chronic stress, depression, or anxiety resulting from your current work-from-home situation, Fort Wellness Counseling can help.

We utilize patient-centered care and individualized treatment that puts your best interests first. With over a decade of experience serving the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I am confident in my ability to make impactful, long-term changes for your mental health.

Ready to get started? Contact our team to schedule an appointment today.