One of the biggest changes that the COVID 19 pandemic has brought about is the change in the way we earn our livelihood. The availability, speed, and reliability of the internet and the host of software tools that are now available make working from home (WFH) a viable option for both employees and employers. The benefits of WFH are many and everyone who has switched to this new way of living has experienced them, in varying degrees. However, along with the plethora of positives, there are also several negatives that, if not dealt with properly, can lead to depression and a subsequent loss of functional ability and productivity.
The Downside of WFH
While the benefits of WFH are easy to quantify, the negatives are often less apparent, but they still exert an influence on the mind and behavior. It is easy to feel isolated when sitting for long hours alone with a computer, even if there are other people in the home.
The physical proximity of co-workers that an office environment creates a loop of feedback, encouragement, and support that is not available when at home. Setting boundaries becomes a problem. Being able to take a break during the working from home during covid-19day to do personal or housework can be an advantage, but it also leads to a loss of the normal separation of professional and domestic life. This loss of boundaries makes it difficult to switch from one mode to the other and the overlapping of responsibilities leads to mental stress and depression.
When in an office environment, there will be periods of heavy and light workloads. When you have been working hard, being able to take it easy on a lowpressure day is something everyone does so there is no guilt attached to it. However, when alone at home, there is an internal self-generated pressure to be busy and having a low-pressure day, when alone, can result in feelings of guilt. This can lead to an increased need to prove yourself and the depression that comes with it.
Some people enjoy solitude and others do not. If you are in the latter category, being alone all day can lead to an excess of overcritical selfexamination and evaluation – finding faults and weaknesses in oneself that do not exist or are unimportant. Focusing on these negatives is depressing.
Dealing with WFH Depression
There are many things you can do to fight off WFH depression. These include: Stay in touch with friends. Even if you cannot physically meet them, online interaction is a great way to unwind and forget about work. Letting off steam by telling them about your WFH problems is a good way to distress.
Have a list of daily goals. Once you have met them, you need not feel guilty about relaxing. working from home during covid-19Create a daily schedule that clearly separates housework and office work. Keeping to the timings will help to keep the two worlds separate and prevent the overlap of pressures.
Eat a healthy diet that will give you the physical and mental energy you need. Take up a hobby to keep you occupied in your spare time. Keep regular hours by going to sleep and waking up at the same time every day. Read the newspapers and watch the news on TV to stay engaged with the outside world but do not let yourself dwell too much on the negative happening in the world.
WFH related depression is a medical condition, just as weight gain from staying at home is. Just as you feel no shame in asking for advice on controlling your weight, there is nothing wrong with asking for help from the best psychologist in dealing with depression. Do not try self-medication to deal with depression – it is very dangerous. If you feel you need medical assistance, ask your doctor for advice. If you are already on depression, stress or anxiety medication, do not increase the dosage without medical approval.