The once-prevalent drive to possess financial security has been tempered by a growing need to reduce stress and create a healthier work-life balance. According to the American Stress Institute, daily office grinds and unpleasant environments are driving forces behind the following statistics.
- Approximately 75 percent of employees believe that workers have more on-the-job stress than a generation ago.
- Upwards of 40 percent of workers reported their job was very or extremely stressful.
- About 25 percent view their jobs as the number one stressor in their lives.
Shifting away from annoying commutes and seemingly hostile offices to work-from-home positions has reduced or eliminated some of the emotional hardships. But transitioning to life as a remote worker presents a new set of challenges. Getting to a low-stress place where you feel more mindfully present may require a few tweaks. These are ways newly-minted remote workers are adapting, overcoming, and feeling more comfortable.
1: Setting Boundaries Around Work From Home
It’s not uncommon for employees to grow reliant on workplace structure. For instance, you may go through your morning routine, punch in at 9 am, take scheduled breaks, and leave at 5 pm. Daily schedules are established, so staff members don’t have to think about it. They fall into a routine and focus on tasks.
Remote workers sometimes lose structure. People start to perform routine household tasks such as throwing a load of laundry in the washer or doing the dishes. After a while, remote employees have integrated salaried work with household chores, and life becomes one big to-do list. The solution for many remote workers is to sit down and write out a structured work schedule. Include a start time, breaks, and end of the day. Focusing on one item at a time supports healthy mindfulness.
2: Overcoming Feelings of Isolation
Human beings are social creatures by nature and too much time alone as a remote worker is not necessarily healthy. Regularly scheduled video conferences can help take the edge off feeling alone. Online meetings allow professionals to interact with colleagues and reinforce the idea you are part of a team. It may also prove comforting to have a weekly coffee hour with your former officemates before the regular workday begins.
People who go remote also lose the spontaneous after-work get-togethers. That’s why it’s essential to seek out evening and weekend social activities as well. Consider joining a walking group, taking outdoor yoga classes, or pursuing a niche activity that helps build a sense of fellowship. It’s impossible to be mindfully present if you’re feeling blue.
3: Practice Mindful Meditation In Everyday Life
There are two basic ways to improve your mindfulness. The first involves setting aside quiet time to practice it as a discipline each day, usually before you get busy. These are simple steps you can follow.
- Place your body in a comfortable sitting position.
- Breathe steadily and focus on each breath.
- Sit quietly and experience the moment.
- Be kind to yourself by not self-criticizing when thoughts crop up.
- Let judgments pass by.
As you practice traditional mindful meditation over time, the second element usually emerges. You find yourself focused on the task at hand, whether it’s completing a work-related project or preparing a salad. Mindfulness is something of a mental health lifestyle, and remote workers are uniquely positioned to reduce stress and improve happiness.