In the modern world, we are constantly connected to our devices and we often forget how important it is to take time for ourselves. While social media depicts the digital nomad life quite glamorously, the reality seems to be quite different. Remote work has a lot of advantages, but at the same time, steps need to be taken to ensure that we aren’t creating a mental health crisis.

The best way for remote workers to improve their work-life is to practice mindfulness to stay focused and calm. So, we take a look at what exactly is mindfulness and how to practice mindfulness while working remotely.

Source: Scale

What is mindfulness and what are the benefits of it? 

Mindfulness is the practice of living in the present moment and being aware of your thoughts and feelings without distraction or judgment. It is not only a way to reduce stress, but also a skill that can be used to improve your work and relationships. Mindfulness can be achieved through exercises, meditation, taking breaks throughout the day, maintaining a well defined work-life balance and eating healthy.

Mindfulness is an easy way to relieve stress and find clarity in difficult situations. It can also help develop patience, creativity, improve mood, increase self-awareness, boost levels of energy and stimulate a sense of empathy for others – all of which are essential for a successful remote worker.

How to prioritise mental health for your remote team?

With today’s fast-paced lifestyle, it’s no surprise that people are stressed out, anxious, and distracted all the time. And if you’re in a remote team, it’s even harder – because you’re likely lacking that crucial interpersonal support. Without this support, it can be hard to know what steps to take if you feel that you are not coping well, or if you are suffering from depression. 

Also in a recent survey, nearly 80% of respondents said they would consider quitting their current position for a job that focused more on employee mental health. A healthy workforce is a productive workforce and a productive workforce is vital for any company’s success. To set your team up for success, here are a few steps remote companies can take to ensure that mental health is prioritized.

Acknowledge the challenge: Remote work presents real mental health challenges, and actions should be taken to address them openly.

Create an open environment: Remote environments make it so easy to assume everything is going well since you rarely see or meet your coworkers. It is necessary to create a conducive environment for open discussions surrounding this.

Support your co-workers: It’s crucial to support co-workers who are having problems with depression, anxiety, or stress

Inculcate it in your company’s culture: Company culture needs to reflect specific steps that support mental wellbeing 

6 ways to practice mindfulness while working remotely

  1. Establishing a daily routine 

With the ever-connected working environment and the rise of the always-on culture, it is very important to set a daily routine. Getting into these routines can help you stay organized and motivated at work. More importantly, it also helps to maintain a work-life balance. 

Without the discipline to stick to a schedule, you can end up working long hours without even realizing it. This is not sustainable in the long-term and will lead to burnout at work.

  1. Following self-care 

Self-care is the act of taking care of yourself to improve your health and wellbeing. Exercise and meditation are some of the best forms of self-care. It helps to keep you relaxed and refreshed so that you can be productive at work. 

In a 2021 survey, nearly 67% of remote workers said that remote working affects their mental health. So, during your workday breaks, you can take up mini exercises and meditation that are simple and easy to do. 

  1. Defining work boundaries

When you work remotely, it is necessary to establish routines and schedules that distinguish between work and personal life. It is very common for work to intrude into your personal life, especially if you don’t have a proper work schedule. Because of this, it is important for remote workers to master the skill of disconnecting from work. The smallest of things, such as checking your mail, can disrupt your work-life balance. So, after your work hours, set a strict time schedule and switch off all work-related notifications until the next working day. This may prevent you from feeling like you are at work.

  1. Maintaining a healthy diet

A healthy diet is key to living a longer and healthier life. When you are working remotely, it is vital to eat nutritious foods that keep you both focused and energized. Apart from that, it’s important not to skip meals during the day, and to have them at the proper time every day. 

Especially during lunch, remote workers tend to skip lunch or postpone it until later to accommodate their work schedule. This practice of having irregular meal timings can lead to low energy levels and decrease productivity.

  1. Unplugging and taking breaks

Remote workers know how physically and mentally draining it can be to spend all day in front of a computer screen. So, the best way to reduce this is by taking frequent small breaks throughout the workday to recharge your batteries. 

As breaks tend to go longer than planned or to be skipped altogether, it’s a great idea to use a timer to set limits. Doing quick exercises and meditation during the break can help you relax and keeps you motivated throughout the day. If you’re feeling lazy, you can simply get up and walk around the place as well as take deep breaths.

  1. Eliminating distractions

Distractions seem like they are almost impossible to avoid when working remotely. When there is no one to watch over, it is very easy to get on a downward spiral. Distractions are the leading cause of loss of productivity, so it is crucial to eliminate them. 

During work hours, block all distractions and use apps that don’t allow you to access social media websites. During focus hours, set your phone to silent mode and turn off any notifications that are not related to work. Set a specific time for checking emails and Slack notifications and check them in batches rather than replying to each message immediately.

This article is written and contributed by Shahul Rashik, who is a community lead at Remote Clan and Remote Tools. He’s passionate and writes actively about remote working, startups and technology.