6 Tips to Avoid Going Stir Crazy Working From Home
“The simple truth is that technology is still a poor substitute for human interaction.” — Robert G. Thompson
Some refer to it as cabin fever. Others call it going stir-crazy. Whatever the term, it’s becoming more prevalent as more people work from home. While there are many benefits to remote work, there is a real concern over the isolation and mental drain. In this article, we are going to give you the top tips to avoid going stir crazy while working from home.
Tell-tale Signs (aka Potential Stir Crazy Symptoms)
First, you might be saying you enjoy working from home. There’s no way you’re going stir crazy. It might not manifest itself exactly how you think. Here are some of the signs that you might be experiencing some cabin fever:
- Restlessness – finding it difficult to sit and concentrate for long periods
- Sadness or depression
- Decreased motivation
- Changes in weight or appetite
- Losing your patience and snapping at people
- Feeling lethargic – wanting to sleep all day, trouble getting up in the morning, a general lack of energy
- Feeling isolated / alone
- Increased stress
- Lack of focus / easily distracted
- Not wanting to start new projects
You are not alone if you are feeling any of these things. A recent study by the CDC found that 63% of 18 to 24-year-olds were feeling symptoms of anxiety or depression. In another report by Mental Health America, 70% reported feeling lonely or isolated. Over the last year, the terms “stir crazy” and “cabin fever” have been searched exponentially more often online. Don’t be afraid to acknowledge that you are having these feelings. Reach out to a friend or family member. Consult a professional therapist. Either way don’t let it go unchecked.
6 Tips to Help Prevent Going Stir Crazy
Keep work and home separated as much as possible.
I know, that’s hard when you’re literally working from home. If at all possible, avoid setting up your home office in your living room or your bedroom. Your living room is your safe space, your decompression zone. Your bedroom can be associated with many things, but one should not be work. It’s hard enough not thinking about work when you’re off, you don’t need the visual reminder always present. It can work the other way as well. While working, you don’t need the constant temptation to crawl back into bed or lay on the couch and flip on the TV.
Do something right away.
For me, it’s clearing out at least 10 emails from my inbox first thing in the morning. No, deleting 3 Spam emails doesn’t count. They should be emails that actually require some kind of action. That’s just my first morning goal. Whatever it is, get in the habit of accomplishing one task right away in the morning. That sets you up for the rest of the work day.
Treat work like work.
There have been many jokes and memes about working in your pajamas from home. It’s best to have a normal work routine. At least, as normal a work routine as you can from home. Get up, shower, get dressed for work.
Whether it’s every hour or two or whether it’s after completing a task, take regular breaks. Get up and walk around like you would have at the office. Get outside and soak up some sunshine.
Have something to look forward to.
No, not just shutting off the computer at 5pm. It can be date night with your significant other. It can be a holiday or event coming up weeks down the road. Perhaps an adventure for the weekend. Even the new season of Cobra Kai being released can be something to look forward to. Anything that you can both look forward to and also makes you smile to think of.
We mentioned earlier some of the warning signs that the isolation is starting to have a negative effect. Check in on yourself regularly. You can self-regulate, you can ask friends or loved ones, or even a co-worker. “Hey, have I been short with you lately?” “You’ve been a little snippy lately. You okay?” That’s all it takes to check yourself.
We are all living and working through unprecedented times that will surely go down in the history books. We are also carving out working conditions and opportunities for the future. What’s important is that we make sure to take care of ourselves while we do it. There are many advantages to working from home. It can also be isolating and you might not even realize it. Remember, if you’re feeling any of those symptoms, you are not alone. And it takes strength to acknowledge it and do something about it. Hopefully these 6 tips to avoid going stir crazy while working from home will help.