Before COVID-19, working from home sounded like a luxury that only a few people got to enjoy. Today, most people have left their offices to work from home only to experience high-stress levels that bleed over from work life to home life and vice versa. 

Branded Surveys recently distributed a community poll to members and found that 49.54% of members’ jobs were affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. With this number in mind, It’s completely normal for people to feel overwhelmed or stressed right now. Learning how to manage stress while working from home is what will make a difference in finding balance in day-to-day life. 

Stick to a Schedule

One of the best ways to manage stress while working from home is by sticking with your regular schedule. According to another Branded community poll, only 45.47% of users are sticking with their regular schedule right now, while 36.66% said they were not. A total of 17.87% claimed they didn’t know what day it was.

If you’re used to working from 9 to 5, keep working these hours. Now that you no longer have a commute, try adding new things into your routine to fill the time like taking a walk before starting work or journaling first thing in the morning.

Prioritize Your Most Challenging Task First

Instead of procrastinating that challenging work task and letting the stress and anticipation boil inside you, tackle it first thing. As soon as you complete a task you’re dreading, you will feel an immediate sense of accomplishment. Completing a challenging task first will put you in a productive mindset and increase your satisfaction and energy for the rest of the day. A study completed by researchers at KC Diwas found that doctors who took on a higher load of challenging patients felt more accomplished, were more productive, and added more value to the hospital in the long run compared to doctors who chose easy patients all the time. 

Shift Your Focus

Understandably, you aren’t feeling as productive as usual right now. Instead of staring blankly at your computer screen or scrolling through social media because you can’t focus and getting stressed out from your lack of productivity, consider shifting your focus.

If doing work feels difficult at the moment, consider asking your boss if you can spend some time each day taking an online course to expand your knowledge in your field. We found that 58.64% of participants in the Branded community poll claimed they would be interested in taking an online course right now. If you dedicate some time to your online course each day, you will feel more productive because you’re working towards a goal.

Take Time for Yourself

It’s important to remember to take time for yourself throughout the day. If you’re swamped with meetings or deadlines, you shouldn’t just work day and night because you’re at home. It’s crucial to maintain boundaries between work and home life, even if your desk is not even ten feet from your living room couch. Work your regular scheduled hours and take appropriate breaks throughout the day. Working regular hours can prevent you from not knowing what day it is like the 17.87% of participants in a Branded poll who claimed to have lost track of time. 

Limit Screen Time

Staying on top of the latest news might feel incredibly important right now, but it’s not doing anything to help your stress levels. While it’s important to know the latest developments of the virus in your community, knowing this information before your next one-on-one meeting with your boss may have you feeling stressed out. According to a study, the duration of screen time is strongly associated with depression level. The more screen time you have, the more likely you are to suffer from depression. With that said, try to limit your screen time to after work hours, and even then, only consume media in moderation. Make sure that you don’t check your work emails after you clock out for the day. It’s important to unplug at the end of the day.

Find Outlets to Recharge

Being confined to the same four walls 24/7 might have your brain feeling drained. It’s important to find one or several outlets to help you recharge and release stress daily. One of the best forms of stress relief is exercise. One study claims that simply a 10-minute walk can improve sleep, reduce stress, and add other mental health benefits. Your daily stress relief can be as simple as taking a long walk before dinnertime, practicing yoga, or taking up a new hobby. You can also set up video chats with friends and family to stay socially connected.

While working from home does offer many benefits like enjoying more time with family and not spending hours in traffic, it can take a toll on mental health if stress isn’t managed. Once you determine how to manage your stress, you can achieve a more fulfilling work/life balance and a better, more positive outlook on life.