Maintaining Good Mental Health While Working Remotely

03/20/2020 9:10 AM | Kelli Moore (Administrator)

by Michelle Hunter

Working at home can cause stress and anxiety, even under normal conditions. This new world of remote working due to COVID-19, however, is a different ballgame—and one with its own unique set of mental health challenges.

With the unfolding health crisis, many of us likely have more worries on our plates than usual. As members of the nonprofit community, we are deeply concerned about the pandemic’s impact on the populations we serve and our organizations’ ability to function and survive. We also may be feeling anxious about our own health and financial security, or about working remotely while trying to care for children and loved ones.

In times like these, it’s more important than ever to take steps to protect our mental well-being. You’ve likely heard the airplane metaphor about putting on your own oxygen mask before helping others with theirs. The same message applies here: you’ll be in a much better position to make a positive difference for those around you if your fundamental needs are met.

Here are a few tips for taking care of your mental health while working remotely during this unusual time.

  • Stay connected. To combat feelings of isolation, check in regularly with colleagues, friends and family through calling, texting, e-mailing or video chatting.
  • Schedule down time. Try to set clear boundaries between work and leisure time. Dedicate at least an hour a day to activities that help you unwind, such as reading, exercising, taking a walk, making a meal, or watching a TV show.
  • Look for the bright spots. We did not ask for this crisis, but since it’s here, let’s discover what we can learn from it. Every day there are new, profound examples of our colleagues and clients fighting with all their might to keep our work and sector afloat. We should acknowledge the many acts of good we see and glean as many insights as we can—both for our mental hygiene and so the nonprofit sector can emerge from this crisis stronger and more resilient than ever. 

There is much we are still learning about how to cope with this new and still-evolving reality. While we don’t have all the answers, one thing is certain: if each of us is to deliver on our mission and purpose, we must make our mental well-being a top priority.

___________

Michelle Hunter is a freelance writer and consultant who connects storytelling to strategy. She helps nonprofits find and tell their stories in ways that reach their audiences and support their mission, vision and goals.

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