HUNTSVILLE, Ala. — Whether you are physically going into work or working from home, the COVID-19 pandemic has probably changed the way you do your job. For those who are teleworking -- the stress can really start to pile up.
But, how do you cope?? We met with a counselor who gives us some tips.
Working from home can leave you struggling to be productive in the same place you eat, sleep and care for your family. If the stress hasn’t caught up to you already-- you could soon feel it. And you’re not alone.
We met with Monretta Vega, a counselor from Huntsville Psychotherapy and Counseling Services. She tells us, “Some people are really still struggling with coping with the changes and the uncertainty that’s all around us.”
According to Small Business Trends, 66 percent of employees now work from home. Businesses and workers are having to adapt to some serious changes.
“When we talk about life transitions, it can impact us differently. And we’re all trying to work in different areas while trying to cope during this time.”
The same survey finds that 21% of respondents say they experience loneliness during the work day. And Monretta Vega says those feelings don’t come alone. She tells our reporter, “Anxiety looks different in all of us. (For some)... Anxiety can motivate us and push us forward..... But then, for some of us, anxiety can cause us fear and it can paralyze us a little bit, and keep us stagnant in where we are.”
The National Center for Health Statistics and Census Bureau's Household Pulse Survey reports an increase of depression and anxiety in working adults during the pandemic.
In June of 2019, 6.6 percent of adults reported experiencing symptoms of depressive disorder. This year, 30 percent say they have symptoms.
Last year, 8.2 percent said they experienced anxiety. This year, the numbers have shot up to 36 percent.
With about a third of Americans dealing with these conditions, stress is running high. And new reports say working from home can even put stress on marriages. Vega has some tips. She says, “You still want to have those individual activities. So yes we may work in the same location-- let’s say we both share the office to work from home. But then, take a moment to go outside by yourself.”
Vega says most of us know home as a relaxing environment, which could bring its own set of challenges. Monretta Vega tells our reporter, "It can cause a lack of motivation and productivity. I mean, my bed is right there. So some people are waiting until the last minute to get out of bed, which will cause low motivation for your job.”
But, there are ways to decompress. She reminds you to remember to eat right and be active so you’re able to put your best foot forward at the start of each work day.
Vega adds, “Take care of yourself! Let’s go outside, maybe get some fresh air. Even think of an exercise routine you can work on at home in your own safe space.”
Some other tips to increase productivity and feel your best while working from home from Monretta Vega:
- Consider virtual therapy services! Virtual counseling is becoming increasingly popular during the pandemic.
- Go on a walk.
- Be sure to maintain a balanced diet, and avoid consuming all of your unhealthy "quarantine snacks" at once.
- Try not to cope with any negative feelings by overindulging in food, alcohol or any other substances.
- Stay hydrated.
- Communicate with family, friends, or support groups to talk about how you feel and lean on others for support during this time.
- Try individual hobbies, like writing in a journal, painting, cooking, etc.