For most people, when you take the leap and decide to start working from home, it can sound like an actual dream come true. But what many people often don’t realize is that working from home is surprisingly hard on your mental health. Even though studies show that more and more people are working remotely these days than ever before, there are still plenty of ways that telecommuting can hinder your overall mental health and well-being. The following advice explains ways to offset the damage and find the work-life balance that, well, actually works for your life.

One thing that tends to happen with telecommuters is that their entire abode becomes their office space. If you’ve ever left those important budget papers…somewhere, you know how easily this can happen and what a nightmare it can quickly become. It’s recommended to set up an at-home office for yourself and committing to using it during working hours. If that’s not a reality for you right now, you should, at the very least, set a designated workspace for yourself. If that’s still not feasible, you should make time each day or week to work from a nearby coffee shop or co-working space you like.

That leads to the next important point: It can be seriously easy to neglect basic necessities like getting up early, getting dressed, and even showering on a regular basis. After all, what difference does it really make if you work from the comfort of your bed in your chicest chip-stained sweatpants and hole-iest college tee? Even if your remote work happens outside of conventional work hours, you should absolutely find a routine that works for you and stick with it. If you know your brain works best in the morning, get up early and get right out of bed. Set a morning ritual that is good for you (some combination of meditation or regular exercise is great), and make sure to eat a balanced, satisfying morning meal.

Yes, it may seem counter-productive to get a full morning going when you could take that time to dive right into work, but you can’t let basic needs slide just because you’re not physically going into an office. Throughout the day, you should check in with yourself and take regular breaks as needed — preferably you’ll go outside to get a bit of fresh air, but even just taking a walk around your building or stepping away to run a quick errand will do.

Another thing that can negatively impact your mental health is the sheer inactivity involved with working from home. Suddenly, you’re not walking around an office to attend meetings or even chat with your coworkers. It can be so easy to literally sit on your ass all day. Solution: Get out of the chair as often as you can.

Finally, you’ve got to maintain your social ties. You’ll no longer be having regular face-to-face interactions with coworkers, so it’s especially important to connect with people in new ways. Set aside time to chat with a friend (in person is ideal, but on the phone works, too!), and maybe try to attend networking events in your field to keep meeting new people. Your career doesn’t stop moving forward just because you’re working at home.

Working from home can get lonely very quickly, so you’ll want to interact with people as much as you can. Now go forth and happily live that remote life!

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