For many people, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought many changes to their lives, such as with safety precautions, physical and mental health, and where and how they work. For some, working from home was the norm before the pandemic arrived, but for others, it’s been a new change brought on by the pandemic.
Regardless of one's past work situation, there can be benefits but also challenges to working from home, such as maintaining a schedule independently without structure, handling distractions associated with the home, the isolation of working alone, and more.
Sometimes, these difficulties can contribute to what's known as "quarantine fatigue,” which can involve a feeling of exhaustion associated with the restrictions brought on by the pandemic. For individuals experiencing this, it may be helpful to consider a few tips to manage these feelings while working from home.
If you are experiencing challenges while working from home, you might try a few different strategies to try to create a more positive experience. Included below are a few ideas:
Get Ready For The Day
Preparing for the day as you normally would may provide a sense of normalcy help you maintain healthy habits, and give you greater control over your schedule. Even when working without seeing others, some may find it beneficial to get up, shower, and get dressed just as usual.
Taking time to care for your physical health, tend to personal hygiene, and otherwise prepare for the day ahead can help you avoid quarantine fatigue. Starting the day your usual way may also help you more easily transition to a work-centric frame of mind without the process of a commute.
Take Time For Lunch And Breaks
As with your morning routine, sticking as closely as possible to your lunchtime routine may boost feelings of control over your schedule. To better establish a working-from-home lunchtime routine, try not to eat at your desk in front of the computer. Scheduling time away from your desk while working from home may help increase focus throughout the day.
- Adhere To Your Normal Work Hours
Creating and maintaining a set schedule may help you manage some of the stress associated with working from home—and help you maintain healthy boundaries between your work and personal life. If possible, establish your routine around a healthy sleep schedule and give yourself time for lunch and short breaks.
- Work In A Designated Space With Limited Distractions
Like keeping a regular morning and workday routine, establishing a designated work area may help you focus. You may try to work regularly at your desk, a table, or anywhere else where you'll be as uninterrupted as possible for the duration of your workday.
- If Necessary, Set Boundaries With Others In Your Household
Many people are struggling with quarantine due to the blurring of boundaries between home and work. The shift to working from home may require cooperation between everyone in the house to minimize distractions and maximize focus.
This may be especially true if you have children engaged in virtual learning and/or other adults working from home in your household. Try to communicate with each other about scheduling your day so everyone can work together considerately with as little distraction as possible.
- Connect With Others
Physical distancing can make giving and receiving social support difficult. Even if doing so face to face is not possible, though, maintaining connections with friends and family can help with feelings of isolation and loneliness that may arise, especially during times of quarantine.
Even just regularly interacting with friends and family through social media can help you reduce quarantine fatigue while staying home.
Since the pandemic, the demand for mental health services online has increased; therefore, attitudes toward online therapy efficacy have been examined with greater rigor. This includes a closer look at the online therapy relationship, technical and emotional resources, and therapists’ training.
The coronavirus telehealth policy changes have expanded the ability to acquire care, removed geographic restrictions, and enabled health care providers to offer services beyond traditional centers or practice settings. However, it's important to note that some telehealth policy provisions may change once the public health emergency ends, so staying informed is crucial for both patients and providers.
JMIR mental health research has focused a great deal on perceived online therapy efficacy, as well as the clinical and training implications that the shift has uncovered. Several of their studies examine therapists perceived challenges regarding the online therapy format early and late in the pandemic, along with outcome and treatment processes.
In one study, therapists who had only previously practiced in person and were forced to transition during Covid 19 subsequently perceived online therapy to be more helpful in certain circumstances than they had originally anticipated.
In a study conducted to investigate therapists perceived challenges, one of the factors that determined therapists acceptance of online therapy was their training.
Those who were trained in counseling psychology in an online format were more likely to use it more frequently, though even those who were not specially trained for online therapy conceded that they would use it under certain conditions without issue. Some therapists reported multiple relational circumstances that they felt would be better addressed in person, but all agreed that there is no one-size-fits-all solution.
Post-pandemic, many people continue to seek online therapy solutions. Psychotherapy research therefore continues to put out branches in that direction, increasing materials and methods, participants and studies to examine how to expand this practice.
A recent survey by the American Psychological Association found that “as the impact of the pandemic on mental health continues,” psychologists are reporting an increase in demand for treatment of anxiety and depression.
For this reason, not only has practicing telehealth care become more commonplace, but more focus has been given to online therapy technology and theoretical and clinical writings involving online therapy’s efficacy compared to in person visit therapy has increased.
During the coronavirus pandemic, online therapy made many people aware of the benefits of being able to receive mental health support virtually.
With services such as BetterHelp, a patient can speak with a licensed therapist online, rather than needing to meet with someone physically. Even with most spaces dropping restrictions, there are many that may still prefer to receive online therapy vs. in-person therapy.
There is significant research showing the effectiveness of online therapy for a variety of concerns, including anxiety and depression. For instance, one such study on cognitive-behavioral therapy administered online found that it leads to significant reductions in symptoms of anxiety and depression.
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