Mindfulness has quite literally risen to the forefront of our minds over the past few years. In fact, according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the number of people who practice meditation has tripled since 2012.
Meditation is runner-up only to yoga in terms of popular mind and body practices and is more common than seeing a chiropractor. Popular downloads on the app store even include meditation applications like Headspace and Calm, the latter of which boasts 9.6 million downloads in the first half of 2021 alone.
The COVID-19 pandemic has signaled a widespread transition to remote work, allowing employees the flexibility and safety necessary to carry on working during a global pandemic. Despite the many benefits of remote work, it hasn’t come without its challenges, among which mental health struggles reign supreme. Fortunately, by incorporating mindfulness into your daily work routine, you can help mitigate the worst of your mental health struggles while boosting your overall well-being. Here’s how.
The Stress of Working From Home
Working from home can be stressful, not least of all during a global pandemic. Coronavirus itself is a stressor, with workers worried about both their own safety and the health of their loved ones. Additionally, many families have had to adapt to remote schooling and closed childcare facilities, which resulted in parents doing double-time — attempting to juggle working from home while simultaneously caring for their children.
Limited workspaces and technological troubles are just a few of the logistical problems work-from-home presents when implemented in such a sudden fashion. Financial hardships have befallen many during the pandemic as well, adding yet another difficult dynamic to the work-from-home experience.
In the transition to remote work, maintaining your mental health is necessary, but many don’t know where to start. Practicing self-care and eliminating negative self-talk from your daily routine is a great place to begin. When you’re at home all day long, you’re keeping yourself company, and what better way to do so than by picking up a new skincare routine, lifting weights, or meditating daily?
Keeping a healthy work-life balance and staying social are also key components of a healthy work-from-home setup. Besides starting or ending the day with mindfulness meditation for better focus, other techniques that add to your arsenal of ways to cope with the stress of working from home include:
- Create a daily routine, even a simple one.
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- Ensure you eat a well-balanced diet and exercise regularly.
- Set aside a dedicated workspace.
Mental Health Benefits of Mindfulness
Mindfulness is helpful in a variety of environments, and mindfulness in the classroom may include guided meditations, breathing exercises, and journaling. Teachers who employ these mindfulness techniques find they lead to better student focus and cognitive performance, enhanced social skills, and reduced severity and frequency of mental health problems.
As a remote worker, you can incorporate these same exercises into your routine to reap the benefits of mindfulness in a remote work environment. However, the benefits of mindfulness pervade all aspects of your life, meaning you won’t just experience positive changes in your professional life, although increased focus and fulfillment in work are likely.
In addition to the promise of enhanced well-being, mindfulness is known for its healing qualities. It helps insomniacs get more sleep, reduces the likelihood of depression relapse, and can even lead to a decrease in Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) symptoms in the majority of people. If the mental health benefits of mindfulness aren’t enough to encourage you to give it a try, groundbreaking research has also shown it to significantly delay the onset of diseases like Alzheimer’s and reduce the chances of hospitalization for coronary heart disease by 87%.
Incorporating Mindfulness Into Your Daily Routine
While it’s still important to maintain your physical body, mindfulness can go a long way toward helping you through these challenging times. Some of the best mindfulness exercises to help you manage COVID-19 stress-free include practicing mindful acceptance and grounding exercises, along with developing new hobbies or cultivating existing ones.
While working from home, you have the flexibility to experiment with different techniques to find those that work best for you. No two people are alike, but with a little research, you’re sure to find a series of mindfulness practices that help you feel centered and focused in life and at work. Setting aside just a few minutes each day to connect with yourself and your goals, or allowing yourself to just be present in the moment, is essential to becoming a healthy, happy version of yourself.
Managing stress has never been easy, and while you’re cooped up inside working, a pandemic rages outside, both of which have the potential to derail your mental health. With the help of mindfulness techniques, however, you can boost your mood each day while enjoying the benefits of increased productivity and enhanced mental health.