The reasons you struggle, according to a psychologist

Working from home has become an important part of the lives of many people over the past couple of years. And while those of us who have been fortunate enough to continue doing our jobs from the comfort of our own homes are incredibly privileged to do so, there are some significant issues that tend to crop up with this kind of work. Aside from the fact that people have gone through one of the most stressful times in modern history, the main issues with many WFH setups are that they are not properly designed for our physical comfort, and we are not. let’s not take into account our free space while working.

According to a recent IKEA study, “2 in 3 Australians are unhappy with their WFH setup and 68% (two-thirds) have trouble shutting down at the end of the day when working from home.”

For this reason, IKEA enlisted the advice of a leading psychologist and founder of The Indigo project, Mary Hoang. She shared her top tips for improving your WFH setup in a way that benefits your mental health, as well as some information on the worst habits we tend to have when working from home.

Here’s what you need to know.

Our biggest mistake is that we don’t prioritize our comfort

During our phone conversation, Hoang explained to me that she thinks the most common mistakes we make when it comes to the WFH are related to our lack of consideration for our own comfort.

“The most important thing is that we neglect to think about our comfort, forget to take the time to even arrange our workplaces so that they support our body, our mental health, our creativity and our physical health”, she declared.

“Now our bodies play such a big role in how we feel and most of us don’t use the right ergonomics. We don’t have chairs, we don’t have laptop stands, or monitors – they’re not at the right height… ”

In short, we are not taking the right steps to provide enough support for our back, eyes and whole body and “it all plays into our mood and productivity,” Hoang pointed out.

“I guess overall… I think we forget about ourselves,” she said,

It can feel like you’re not setting up your home office properly or taking enough breaks from your screen, and it’s a dangerous spiral to fall into.

“We let work take over our whole life at home, and I think it’s really dangerous for our relationships within the home and our relationships with our health… with ourselves, because it only does ” increase stress levels. “

There are things you can do to change your WFH experience

Here, Hoang has shared 6 tips on how to create a more positive experience for yourself while working from home.

Adopt a morning routine: “Give to yourself before you give to others. Move your body with yoga, go outside or meditate, and make the non-negotiable choice.

Correct your lighting: “Good lighting can help improve focus, creativity and productivity.”

Lighting may be overlooked as an insignificant factor in your work environment, but it is hugely influential, Hoang explained.

“If it’s possible, we try to bring in the outside, the inside. People can sit by a window or have a door ajar, so that they have natural light – this is probably the most optimal. But it is not possible for everyone, and sometimes the natural light can also be quite intense and hot and harsh, so that means that sometimes we need filtered light, so we might need curtains or blinds … And if that’s just not possible at all, it’s having task lighting or some type of mood lighting so you don’t feel like you’re working in a 7/11.

Do not neglect the aesthetics: “When our home offices are furnished for our comfort and look good, we feel more satisfied, less stressed and less likely to suffer from burnout and fatigue. “

Create limits: “Take the time and energy to set up a home office in a spare room or a corner of your house strictly reserved for work in order to create a border between the personal and the professional. “

On this point, Hoang developed a little sharing saying that “I think it would be 50% of people who do not have a dedicated workspace, such as a guest room or an office to work”.

“So if we’re working from a kitchen table, living room or bedroom, I think it’s really important that we have good storage so if you can put all our work items away , and we don’t automatically think of work because you see your laptop on the kitchen table or piles of paper in the living room.

In short, do your best to keep your work life and things in one space so that you can introduce a sense of separation between them and your personal world.

Clock deactivated: “Don’t let work infiltrate your life, reduce screen time and strictly define working hours.”

Hoang explained to me that “one of the things we can do is have very clearly defined working hours so that we don’t take emails when you open your eyes in the morning … dinner or when you watch. a show.

Disconnect self-esteem from your level of creativity or productivity: “We are all allowed to not make huge career strides when we have so much emotional ‘stuff’ to deal with in the aftermath of the pandemic.”

Overall, you want to pay attention to your senses

When it comes to designing a work environment at home, the most important thing, Hoang pointed out, is to pay attention to your senses as this “can lead to more comfort in our body and to having a better mind. clear for work “.

Pay attention to the details here and you will find that the end result may surprise you.

“We talked about things like having a visually appealing workspace,” Hoang said.

“It can even get smelly, like having candles or fresh flowers. Then you have the lighting and what the body feels if you are sitting in a good chair. But sound too is a huge trigger for our emotions, and if we listen to the right kind of music that is really relaxing, maybe there isn’t too much vocals; it’s not too embarrassing. Then what it can do is that it can actually slow down the heart rate to a slightly calmer rate than listening to top 40 music. ”

Try to be intentional about everything that impacts your WFH space and you will hopefully find that not only are you physically more comfortable, but your free space around work can improve as well. somewhat.

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