Working from home: Five ways to maintain mental health and wellbeing

Working from home can have many benefits for mental health and wellbeing.

It’s been linked to increased job satisfaction and lower stress levels; as well as improved focus, greater productivity and work performance. [1]

Here are our top tips for managing your mental health while working from home.

1. Claim some space

The environment you provide for yourself affects your mindset. Create a specific place in your home where you work. If possible, avoid the bedroom. Creating an association between your bed and work can disrupt your sleep cycle.

Set up your computer properly, use a comfy chair and include some personal items that help you to feel curious and content.

2. Embrace routine and boundaries

Carry on with your usual schedule or create a new one. Either way, it’s important to incorporate structure within your day. Planning your time can reduce boredom, spikes in anxiety or depression and decision fatigue, the overwhelm and exhaustion that can come from having too many options.

Having a routine will also tell you when it’s time to clock out. Bookend your day with a ‘commute’ (go for a walk, meditate) to separate home life from the workday. Or try a digital detox in the evenings.

3. Write a to-do list

This will keep you accountable, on track and focused on the things you need to accomplish. Do the hard tasks early on when you have the most energy and motivation, that way your day can only get easier.

Learning how to work from home will take some trial and error, and you don’t have to expect more from yourself than you would during a normal workday.

4. Take time out

When you’re having difficulty focusing, remove yourself from the situation and reset. It’s okay to feel distracted. Acknowledge it and then allow yourself to step away for a few minutes to recalibrate.

Try to stand up and move every hour and get outside at least once a day. The simple act of walking outside can help clear a foggy mind. Bring the outdoors in - open a door or window to create airflow. You can also add a plant or two to keep the air fresh.

5. It’s the little things

Don’t forget those everyday actions that help maintain positive mental health like exercising, eating well, getting a good night’s sleep, doing activities you enjoy, staying connected with social supports, and managing stress through problem-solving, relaxation, mediation and thinking in helpful ways.

[1] Black Dog Institute. (2020) Managing your mental health at home. Randwick (NSW), Black Dog Institute.

Page last updated: Monday, 19 July 2021