From work life to home life, you deal with stress from a multitude of sources on a daily basis. Even more so now, amid the pandemic, stress is everywhere. And when your home life and work life collide, there’s no avoiding certain stressors. But there are ways to manage and cope with this stress.
Working from home can be difficult, especially if you have children or roommates. But by staying consistent with sleeping, eating, and other activities, you have a better chance of successfully managing your stress. When daily routines are disrupted, our neurological systems shift, and the resulting imbalances can lead to depression, anxiety, lethargy, and poor cognitive performance.
When you’re not physically in the office, it’s more difficult to leave it behind each night. Working from home promotes working longer hours and staying clocked-in just to complete that “one extra thing.” Be strict with yourself about when it’s time for you to clock-out. If you would normally leave the office around 5pm each day, try to be done with working from home by 5pm as well.
One of the fastest ways to bring your stress levels down is by stepping away from the task on which you’re working. Taking a break doesn’t need to be long and drawn out. It can be as quick as playing a game on your phone, meditating for a few minutes, or taking a walk around the block. In fact, movement combined with a break is the perfect antidote to stress. Incorporating as little as five minutes of exercise can be enough to reduce feelings of frustration. In addition, not only will taking a break and moving help reduce stress, it also helps prevent stiffness, headaches, and eye strain by ensuring you step away from your screen for a little bit of time each day.
In this time of social distancing, it can be difficult to change your surroundings. While working from home, you can easily become stuck in a routine of working in one space. As work piles up and stress levels increase, being in the same setting can add to the feeling of being overwhelmed. If it’s nice outside, grab a chair and work outside or take your next call while on a walk. If going outside isn’t a viable option, try moving around your home. Switching your scenery up from your office to your kitchen or living room is a great way to clear your head and help reduce stress.
Sticking with a routine is helpful when trying to remain motivated and productive. By controlling the amount of time you aren’t being productive, you can help yourself stay motivated. It’s fine to relax and unwind, but set boundaries for downtime. Getting in the habit of being sedentary will slow your mind, body, and energy. However, if you stick with your routine and have consistent activity, it is easier to maintain an overall sense of motivation.
AFSPA offers various programs that can help manage your stress, which include talking to a health coach over the phone or participating in educational webinars. We also offer programs that help address unique emotional and behavioral health needs. Learn more about the variety of mental wellness programs offered to members of the Foreign Service Benefit Plan here.