Now that you have so much extra time on your hand, you’re probably midway through a “productivity contest”. Work, newfound hobbies and gratuitous social media posts to “update” your phantom followers…well, these things can actually add more stress to your life.
While it’s good to get more things done to keep your mind from spiraling, it’s important to not go overboard. Learning new things is great and you may be motivated to complete more work tasks in the comfort of your home, but moderation is key.
But why do we have the tendency to occupy ourselves with so many things? Dr Lim Boon Leng, Psychiatrist at Dr BL Lim Centre For Psychological Wellness, says: “We are used to routines forming some form of boundaries for us. For example, when we go off work and leave the office, it’s a ritual where we can switch off from our work mode. Once these boundaries disappear (because of the WFH arrangements) some people can’t calibrate this change.”
Comparing yourself to others on social media is also not the best idea. On top of the self-inflicted pressure of completing more work-related tasks, you’ll also be influenced by the need to do other things out of work (such as baking, sewing or drawing) more than you used to.
The signs of overworking yourself from home can range from becoming increasingly irritable and growing distant from family members, to constantly thinking of completing more tasks and the inability to fall asleep, says Dr Lim. In fact, this can lead to work burnout, which will be harder to identify.
Dr Lim suggests these tips to take care of your mental health during the Circuit Breaker:
1. Set up a proper routine and timetable on your working hours.
2. Wear more formally during work hours and change to an informal outfit (or have other means to differentiate between being at work and not at work). Such symbolic acts can help one switch off from work.
3. Eat proper meals, exercise regularly and sleep proper hours as these help us rejuvenate and combat stress.
4. Change your mindset: Resting is not being lazy and being away from work but a means to recharge and to work more effectively. Rest is also part of work and only with adequate rest can we sustain and grind on.