man sits outside in nature, enjoying the fresh air

2020 has been a strange year, to say the least. A pandemic plagues the globe. Fires burn and ice melts at alarming rates. A barnburner of an election is taking place before our very eyes. Needless to say, it’s been a bit stressful.

Remote work is only adding fuel to the fire, too. If you’re working remotely, it’s essential that you pay attention to your mental health. Here’s why.

Mental Health When Working Remotely

Mental health has been a remote work concern for quite a while now. In 2019 Buffer reported that:

  • 22% of remote workers couldn’t unplug after work.
  • 19% of remote workers felt lonely.
  • 17% of remote workers struggled with collaboration, communication, or both.

Remote workers also wrestled with things like distractions, motivation, and taking vacations. Interestingly, one of the key factors in all of these concerns is that they relate to mental health. The act of attempting to unplug can be challenging. Feeling lonely is often connected to depression and anxiety. Motivation and distractions are, once again, mental struggles.

Many of these problems are connected to the home office. Remote work is famous for flexibility — it gives you the ability to work anywhere. Nevertheless, 84% of remote workers work from home. 

And remember, these statistics are from 2019 — before the pandemic.

Between quarantines and shelter-in-place orders, the number of people working from home offices has skyrocketed. There’s no doubt that the current situation is exacerbating the above mental health issues. 

The Power of Fresh Air and the Outdoors

With no end to the pandemic in sight, it’s important to seek out alternative remedies. One of the most eloquently simple of these is the act of getting up and going outside. Spending time in mother nature — especially breathing fresh air — has mental health-related benefits, for instance:

In addition, exercise and stress-reduction techniques will improve your mental acuity. Spending time outdoors is the perfect way to indulge in both of these activities.

The point is, going outside, and particularly breathing the fresh air, can be the perfect antidote to excessive time working from home.

Ways to Get Outside Regularly

The benefits of fresh air are fairly easy to pinpoint. However, actually getting it on a regular basis can be a challenge for remote workers. Here are a few ways to build fresh air into your daily schedule:

  • Take work breaks: Taking a walk during the workday can do wonders in revitalizing your health. It can also help you refocus and avoid working on a task for too long.
  • Plan regular exercise: Jogging, hiking, biking, and swimming are all great ways to regularly enjoy the outdoors. Exercise can also help restore insulin sensitivity and prevent cognitive decline.
  • Get an outdoor job: If you have the opportunity, try to get a job in the outdoors. Pivot your career into becoming a travel writer, photographer, wildland firefighter, or even a bush pilot. In addition to exposing you to more fresh air, careers like these also provide a heady dose of adventure and excitement.

Taking breaks throughout your workday is a good way to get some fresh air. Getting a dose of air after work hours is a good option as well. You can even bask in the fresh air all day long via your job. The important thing is that, one way or another, you do something to get outside.

Prioritizing Fresh Air

Fresh air is a powerful tool. It can improve mental awareness, serenity, and productivity. If you’re working from home, it’s essential that you take getting fresh air seriously. So find times to unplug, get outside, and take deep breaths on a regular basis. Your body, mind, and soul will thank you.