Canton Medical Clinic

WFH Causing Stress in your Life!

Working from home (WFH) can certainly have its challenges and can contribute to stress in some individuals. For many people, the boundaries between work and personal life can become blurred, leading to feelings of being constantly “on” and difficulty disconnecting from work. In addition, the lack of social interaction and face-to-face interaction with coworkers can lead to feelings of isolation and loneliness.

Since the onset of the Covid-19 Pandemic, the Work from Home Model has gained rapid traction and can now be a preferred choice of many. This is also considered a norm now for some organizations.

Although working from home has several merits and was ideal due to social distancing during the pandemic, the lifestyle it provides causes stress in a person’s life. Maintaining a work-life balance becomes difficult. Employers also expect remote workers to be more vigilant and demand high production, which can contribute to stress.

If you are struggling to cope with the stress caused by WFH, these strategies can help you in creating a healthier work environment and define boundaries so that working from home could make a healthy lifestyle for you.

Developing a routine 

This should be your first priority. If you are working from home and want to be successful, you need to develop a complete routine around your work and life.

You arrived on time when you worked in an office and hopefully left on time. During the 8-10 hours you spent at work, there was little time left for you to focus on besides your tasks at work. Time management is different when you are working from home. You will have family members, life-related tasks, pets asking for attention, and a myriad of other distractions ready to throw you in a tailspin. Your work will suffer if you are not strict with your time management and this will cause you to be stressed. 

Pay close attention to the start and end times for your work-related tasks and ignore all other distractions. Taking a break when working from home requires you to move your eyes away from your screen, and before you know it you have lost 30 minutes of your precious time when you could have been productive. 

Draw boundaries

Separate your work from your life as the boundaries get blurred when you work from home and cause major stress. Organizations advise employees not to bring their work home, but now they are left with no choice as homes have become workspaces. 

Find a secluded spot at home to work from—set up clear guidelines for yourself, keeping in mind what causes you to lose focus. Avoid working from your bedroom as it can be tempting to take a quick nap after lunch. Make sure you set aside time for breaks, lunch, snacks, and workouts/walks. 

Be overly communicative 

Interact with your colleagues and manager on a regular basis. You need to feel like you are still an intrinsic part of a larger group. You will naturally feel secluded working alone at home but you can overcome that feeling by maintaining communication with your colleagues. Arrange information conference calls where you can just hang out and discuss non-work-related topics with your team.

Find time to call up your old contacts after work just to shoot the breeze. This will also help you in relieving work-related anxiety. 

Give priority to your health 

Nothing busts stress better than a great workout. There is no substitute for good health so do not ignore it. Knowing that working from home has limited your physical activities, you need to fine-tune your workout routine to make up for that.

Sitting in front of your laptop in itself is very stressful. Get up every 15-20 minutes and walk around a little bit. Stretch your muscles to get the blood flowing. Develop healthy eating habits like snacking on fresh vegetables during the day. You will not only beat stress but will add many layers of protection between yourself and diseases caused by chronic stress. 

Have FUN while WFH

You may be stressed because you are working from home, but don’t forget the stress you faced when you drove to work in rush hour traffic and struggled to find a perfect parking spot. You have now beaten the system and what you have gained in return is time. Use this most precious commodity wisely. You can now go directly from work to your favorite hobby within seconds. Read that book you have been waiting to read for months, learn that new skill, or a new language, and develop healthy habits. 

Congratulations! You are now in control of your life. You can disconnect from work and be with your loved ones within seconds. Enjoy this freedom.

Nida Latif, MD

Dr. Latif is a co-founder of Canton Medical Clinic. She is a graduate of The Aga Khan University Medical College and has been practicing medicine since 2004. Dr. Latif completed her Family Practice residency from a Michigan State University campus and is board certified in Family Medicine. She has always been passionate about prevention and “lifestyle” medicine. For this reason, she pursued and board-certified in Obesity Medicine in 2018. She also performs wet cupping therapy (Hijama) on women and children.