Looking After Yourself: A Psychologist’s Tips For Remote Workers

This unprecedented situation will stress you in more ways than you can imagine. Work habits change and you are automatically expected to keep up. You may be alone, far from your family, or have children and a partner around you under the same roof, but each individual is expected to coexist harmoniously. What significantly helps is making sure you are able to take care of your own resources and setting aside time for yourself. Here are a few tips that will help you with your ability to cope. When you can persevere, you will have more energy to fight against the virus and take better care of those around you. You’ll surely cope better with your work, too.
by: Niina Mäenpää
photo: Dominika Montonen-Koivisto
featured: Niina Mäenpää

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1. Don’t forget to recover

Recovery and taking care of your own resources are extremely important, particularly when stress piles up. Take care of the basics – sleep, nutrition and exercise. These tips may seem obvious, but I can assure you that they play a significant role in the everyday lives of those struggling with stress overload.

Sleep is our most important source of strength and resistance. Set aside enough time for sleep. Don’t forget meals either – cooking is a good way to pace out work and recover, because you’re not hunched over your computer. If you do not enjoy cooking, support restaurateurs and order food home. Do not forget to exercise, either.

Remember to take breaks. Stay away from YouTube or Facebook, though. Research shows that surfing does not serve as a restorative break. And, don’t overload yourself with information on COVID-19. Set the computer aside and go do something else. Read a book or do some Yoga. We too run out of power and need an occasional but necessary recharge.

“You are not expected to be a superhero.”

2. Timetables provide clarity and control

With remote working, when the work is at home and the home is at work, it can be difficult to grasp the entirety of things anymore. The field of vision often narrows when we are stressed. All this can easily jeopardise our sense of being in control.

What is important is that you seek to keep a daily rhythm and routine. With remote working, work often stretches into the evening and soon you notice that you no longer have anything regular in your everyday life. You may be trying to cope with your job and the role of a parent at the same time. Thus, it’s important to create clarity for your work through goals and scheduling.

As we become immersed in our work, we tend to forget the passage of time and our “other” roles in life. You are not expected to be a superhero. It’s easier to prioritise work when you have bird’s eye view of your scheduling and goals. If setting priorities sounds challenging, ask your manager for help. They are there for you.

“It is normal to vocalize feelings that arise from this situation.”

3. You’re not alone

Hold on to your social contacts. I promise you that you’re not the only one struggling with the challenges that come with this unprecedented situation. Perhaps you feel lonely. Or you can’t seem to find a solution to your problem. You feel that you’re breaking down when you try to do work and have to keep an eye on the children, too. Remember that all your colleagues and supervisors are there just as they were before. Remember your colleagues and actively be in touch with them.

Studies show that having conversations reduce stress. It is normal to vocalize feelings that arise from this situation. However, do not just talk about the virus. Discussions should also be about positive things. This may sound naive, but it works.

Niina Mäenpää is a worklife psychologist, professional trainer and certified coach, with diverse experience in organizational and leadership development and recruitment consultancy. She has also worked as an occupational health psychologist.

This article was first published in Silicon Luxembourg magazine (special Covid edition “Hope”). Download now.

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