Recent studies regarding work from home employees, freelancers, and entrepreneurs bring up some pretty interesting points.
Some recent studies looking at “work from home” habits revealed several things of note. They say that people who work from home or who are highly mobile in their jobs tend to have more stress, feel more isolated, and even have a higher chance for insomnia.
Meanwhile, there are opposing studies saying that people working away from the office are only as stressful as the job is demanding. These studies propose that work at home jobs actually have a calming effect on people. This, however, doesn’t speak about the feeling of isolation or the development of insomnia.
Regardless of who is right, we need ways to prevent stress, isolation, and insomnia when it comes to any work from home careers. Having proper prevention plans will help to reduce any oncoming effects.
So, what can we possibly do?
How to Prevent Stress
Stress affects the mind and body in many ways. Stress can make you feel irritable, anxious, or it can even cause depression. Stress can cause headaches and insomnia. Chronic stress affects your ability to work, think, and socialize.
Trying to prevent stress is better than trying to relieve stress once you are affected by it. This will reduce the amount of stress that can impact your performance and behavior.
Some ways to prevent stress include:
- This is definitely going to grind some gears, but you have to reduce your intake of alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine. Heavy use of these drugs have negative effects on the body as well as alter your perception and behavior. They increase irritability and anxiety which drop productivity noticeably.
- Take frequent breaks. There are many strategies when it comes to taking breaks, believe it or not. Here are some general guidelines – Work for about 90 minutes at a time and then step away from the screen and do some light exercises. If possible, make it a social break with some light conversation. If exercise and social engagement are out of the question at the time, do some meditative breathing exercises. The aim is to get a little boost to your cognitive functions when you get back from your break.
- Don’t be afraid to take a vacation. Schedule time away with the family and, if possible, set up your projects to work autonomously while you are gone. Relax and re-energize. Make it so that you come back to work with renewed vigor.
- Reward yourself for the small victories! Did you meet one of your goals for the day? Treat yourself to a healthy snack. Use positive reinforcement on yourself because it works. Did you complete one of your project tasks? Indulge yourself with a minor pleasure.
- Eat healthy, exercise regularly, and get restful sleep. These are more obvious habits to abide by as their effects are well known. They all energize the body and mind, improving overall productivity.
- Learn to laugh more. Take some time to watch funny videos or read some good jokes. Increasing your level of joy makes it easier to get your mind in the game. Be careful not to overdo it, though. You can easily fall off track watching cat videos on the internet. Remember, the goal is less stress, more productivity.
Use these tips to your best advantage and I know you can prevent a large amount of stress from ever taking root.
How to Prevent Feeling Isolated
Working from home can easily lead to isolation. Feeling isolated can increase your risk of depression, cause you to withdraw from social activities, and generally bring down your overall mood.
Luckily, it’s easy to learn how to stop feeling lonely. It’s really all about increasing your social engagement. Here’s how:
- Have lunch away from home. Training yourself to eat away from home pushes you into social situations, whether it’s eating at a healthy restaurant or piecing together your meal at the local grocery store. You may end up spending a little bit more per week if you dine out, but if you’re just going to the grocer you should be saving a little money.
- Get a work buddy. This is an important tip. Having work buddies highly increases your social engagement. You can share ideas at the local library, collaborate in a small cafe, or brainstorm together at a nearby park. You don’t have to work with the same person every day. In fact, it is recommended to work with several different people so your thought pool is constantly changing and growing.
- If you can’t work with others in person, try out video or voice conferences. Find a group of like-minded individuals and bounce ideas around. Grow your network of friends and colleagues through forums and on Skype. Share thoughts often and listen in return. Group discussions are almost always beneficial for growing your online presence.
- Take part at local Meetups. Meetups are different groups of people that make plans to meet in person and socialize. There are meetups for all kinds of interests. Finding a business Meetup is actually quite easy in decently sized cities. You can plan to go to scheduled Meetups or try to schedule your own.
With any luck, these tips will be enough to keep you out of your head and not withdrawing from the public eye.
How to Prevent Insomnia
Insomnia is one of the hardest things to avoid. There are a lot of distractions in the world today that can keep us awake at night. When you have insomnia, you HAVE insomnia. It is tough to get rid of. You don’t have to make a habit of suffering from insomnia, though.
There are a few things you can do to try and avoid developing insomnia while working from home. They include:
- Keep your home office away from your bedroom. You want to train yourself to contain your work in one section of your home away from your bedroom. The less you work in or near your bedroom, the less likely you are to bring your work to bed and have it keep you up at night.
- Train yourself to shut out work after hours. Working from home tends to have the disadvantage that you are always in work mode. Schedule your time for work. When the work day is over, try meditating and practicing mindfulness to keep your mind preoccupied with things other than work.
- Try to wake up at the same time every day. Another part is to try and sleep at the same time every night, as well. Getting on a regular sleep schedule trains your mind to “shut down” around bedtime. As you can imagine, this causes the brain to produce the “sleep chemical” at a reliable time every night so you pass out when you want to.
- Like earlier, try to eliminate any alcohol, nicotine, and caffeine intake. Stimulants like nicotine and caffeine can affect you for hours, keeping you awake and alert, for the most part. You know this makes it difficult to sleep and can cause you to wake up often in the night. Alcohol is the same way when it comes to restful sleep. It may have a sedative effect at first, but the drug can cause you to lose restful sleep.
- Make a habit of exercising regularly. Depending on how exercising affects your mind and body, exercising before bed can either have a stimulant effect or a sedative effect. For me, exercising makes me tired so I tend to exercise shortly before bedtime. It works out for me because I pass out more easily and get restful sleep. Regardless of when you do it, exercising regularly can improve your sleep quality and increase how long you sleep.
- Do not eat or drink shortly before going to bed. Eating or drinking can trigger your digestive system into kicking in, keeping you awake. Eating or drinking before bed can also cause heartburn to occur and we both know that trying to sleep with heartburn is damn near impossible and is generally just a bad idea.
- If insomnia becomes a problem for you, talk to your doctor about potential sleep aids. Taking an appropriate dosage of melatonin pills can push the mind towards wanting to sleep and will keep you asleep during the night. If you take too much melatonin, though, you may sleep past your alarm and further into the day than you wish, so use as directed.
- When it’s time to sleep, shut down all of your electronics. This includes Facebook on your smartphone, your television, your radio, pretty much anything that can keep you distracted and awake. Having electronics on during sleep can affect your sleep quality and cause you to wake up frequently in the night.
Keep these tips in mind. Use them early and stick to them because they work. This will greatly improve your sleep quality and keep you asleep longer. Getting regular, restful sleep will also help in reducing and preventing stress.
If you want to learn a different way to beat insomnia, give Outsmart Insomnia Protocol a try. This program discusses newer scientific studies regarding the cause of insomnia and how to cure insomnia. The aim of Outsmart Insomnia Protocol is to help you get to sleep in 15 minutes or less. There’s some interesting stuff in there so it’s worth a read if you get the chance.
That’s All for Now
Do you have problems with stress, isolation, or insomnia? How are these problems affecting your business productivity, social life, or home life? Do you have other questions or comments? Let me know in the comment box below.
I love reading all of your responses and getting the chance to reply. You can always find something interesting in the comments section. Keep those comments coming!
Thanks for reading! See you next time.