Staying sane while working at home

Except for weekly in-person meetings, most of our staff already work remotely. So, we're old hands at the new Covid19 work-at-home lifestyle. Most of us did transit through an adjustment period, where we learned how to nurture our noggins and bodies. Here are our essentials. 

Keep a schedule. If you're working with a team, make sure it's clear when you'll have online update meetings, get project updates, and work with other team members one-on-one. But then there's the time in-between. You also need to separate work from the rest of your life. That part of your schedule should include your spouse or partner, children, dogs, and exercise time.

Exercise. We can't underscore how important this is to your mental health. If you don't currently have a workout routine, make one up. Use large cans of tomatoes as weights, shake it when you're mopping the floor, and make time for daily strolls.

The nature effect. When we're stressed, our pituitary gland produces extra-large servings of the hormone Cortisol, which amps up our blood pressure and heart rate and can be a downer for our mental health. The good news is that being in nature reduces Cortisol levels. You can go whole hog and build a Zen rock garden, visit a park, or green-up your work- and living space with plants. We like hard-to-kill succulents like aloe vera and cacti, and standbys like philodendron and bamboo.  

Fight the Big D. It's easy to get depressed in tough times. There's sad news, uncertainty, and work-life that's topsy-turvy. These are the symptoms the Mayo Clinic says you should stay alert for in yourself and co-workers:

  • Angry outbursts, irritability, or frustration (even over small matters)
  • Loss of interest or happiness in activities such as sex or hobbies
  • Sleep disturbances, including insomnia and sleeping too much
  • Tiredness and lack of energy, so even small tasks take extra effort
  • Increased cravings for food
  • Anxiety, agitation, and restlessness
  • Trouble thinking, concentrating, making decisions, and remembering things
  • Unexplained physical problems, such as back pain or headaches

A lot of this is situational and may evaporate after we get through the troubles together. But mental health can't wait. Talk openly about your feelings with someone you trust or a therapist. If you need help, please ask for it. The National Suicide Hotline is available 24/7 at 1-800-273-8255 How are you fighting the work-at-home blahs? Tag @bioticahealth on Twitter