9 Ways To Banish Remote Work Stress … For Good!
Having a remote job can be a great pathway to flexible hours and the freedom to work virtually anywhere … even in your pyjamas! But just like any job, working remotely can cause you stress and put you off balance.
We all know that stress can play havoc with your health, cause tensions in your personal relationships, and ruin your career plans.
In our ‘always ON’ and increasingly demanding lives it can strike whenever we’re feeling unbalanced or overwhelmed. Anything can bring it on, but sadly, most of us suffer from stress that is work related.
The important thing is knowing how to manage the effects before they become chronic. It can mean making different choices (sometimes difficult choices), but the overall aim is to try to live stress-free so it doesn’t rob you of your happiness.
A remote job can give you the freedom and flexibility to work from anywhere, giving you more control over your career and work schedule. But many remote workers, particularly those who are freelancing with multiple clients and projects to manage, can feel their stress levels rising.
So here are some changes you can make to keep stress levels at bay in your remote career.
1. Make Time to Move
When you no longer have to commute to and from the office you can take advantage of the extra hour or two you’ve saved to do some exercise. Put your new-found free time to use with exercise and physical activity. You can hit the gym, pound the pavement or setup your own workout area at home – you don’t have to buy expensive gym equipment and it doesn’t have to be an intense workout every day to keep fit – even a brisk 30 minute walk can do wonders. There’s plenty of fitness apps available as well as free classes on YouTube. There’s really no excuse to make time to move.
2. Keep a Healthy Sleep Pattern
Adequate rest is crucial to reducing stress levels and achieving good health, but many of us struggle to get enough sleep. A remote job usually means working to a schedule that suits you, so you can prioritise sleep and take a nap when you need to. And when you go to bed at night, don’t take your worries with you. Have a restful, relaxed period at least an hour beforehand – read a book, listen to music or sit outside staring at the night sky. Whatever it is your brain and body will thank you for it and a good night’s sleep will ensure you’re alert and full of energy the next day.
3. Engage in Interests Outside of Work
You might have heard the saying, “Work to live, not live to work”. When you have more flexibility in your work schedule, you can make more time for family, hobbies and other interests outside of work. The secret is to achieve a conscious balance between the importance of your work and the importance of other aspects of your life. You could take up yoga, learn to sail, join an art class, start a regular activity with your kids, take up archery or lawn bowls… whatever it might be, just have something else you have an interest in outside of your work that you can do on a weekly basis. It can also be a wonderful opportunity to meet and network with people outside of your usual work sphere.
4. Say No!
Don’t risk becoming subservient to those around you by being the ‘people pleaser’ and always putting your own needs aside. How many times have you agreed to do something that you don’t really believe is right? We’ve all been there and it beats you up mentally. When you’re asked to do something you really don’t want to do, be understanding and say no kindly and diplomatically. Being able to say no can help you to avoid distractions and ensure you stay true to yourself. Always trust your gut instinct – nine times out of ten, it’s right!
5. Develop Healthy Eating & Drinking Habits
A healthy meal can sometimes take a backseat to deadlines, meetings, phone calls and that endless stream of emails – even when you work from home. But living a stress-free life also means making good healthy food and drink choices to keep your immunity strong. It’s so easy to get instant gratification consuming fast food, sugary drinks and alcohol, but it’s not going to help you in the long run. Take advantage of working remotely from home – always have something for breakfast and eat fresh fruit and nuts when you feel like a snack. Whatever you consume, avoid too much of any one thing and try to have as much variety in your diet as you can. Green smoothies can be a wonderful addition to your daily routine.
6. Spend Time In The Great Outdoors
Vitamin D deficiency is a real problem in western cultures – all because we’re spending too much time indoors behind computer screens. Whenever you get the opportunity, head outside for some natural light. Take your laptop with you if you can, work from your garden or even from a sunny spot on your balcony overlooking the trees. Spending time outside and away from your regular desk can help to clear your mind and sharpen your thinking.
7. Manage Your Work Time Better
You’ll be amazed at how much more awake and focused you’ll feel when you chunk down your day and incorporate regular breaks. Take 5 minutes roughly every 30 minutes, and a longer break every two hours to see your productivity soar! In addition, when you work remotely from home, your weekend can very easily become another couple of days to catch up on work stuff because your office is always within arm’s length. If this happens regularly, try to incorporate some downtime into other days of the week and set yourself some ground rules. Take a ‘digital detox’ if you can and only check your messages once or twice per day so you have the chance to properly unwind without interruptions.
8. Travel As Much As You Can
A change of scenery can really help take your mind off something that might be bothering you and give you a whole new perspective. As the saying goes, travel is the only thing you can buy actually makes you richer. Get out of your comfort zone and expose yourself to the new and unexpected. Life has so much more to offer when you travel. It doesn’t have to be an overseas trip, it might just be 3 hours down the road – follow your interests and curiosities – and do it often! It can be the most eye-opening experience of your life.
If you’re not keen on venturing off overseas by yourself, consider joining a work and travel program. This way you can have everything organised for you – you’ll stay in some amazing places around the world, meet and hang out with interesting, like-minded people, and still be able to work productively from your laptop. Check out our list of work and travel programs here.
9. Laugh more
Having a good laugh has all kinds of health benefits. Amazingly, studies have shown that laughter can lower blood pressure, reduce the cortisol (stress hormones) in your body, build up your immunity to fight bacteria and respiratory infections, and release endorphins responsible for making you feel happy. So the bottom line is, don’t take things too seriously, lighten up and have a good laugh. It will do you wonders!
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