A healthy work-life balance has always been a key predictor of productive, engaged employees who stick around.
Along with almost everything else in our lives the past year, the pandemic has powerfully disrupted the normal work-life balance.
As so much work continues to be done from home, the lines between our working selves and our personal selves have blurred; the natural separation between home life and office life has disappeared as each now occupies the same space.
A symptom of today’s new working environment is a dramatic increase in screen time. Even before the events of March, many of us may have already been trying to uphold new year resolutions of spending less time staring at our screens and more time being meaningfully connected to the world around us.
But now, with remote work likely here to stay at least through the winter, it’s nearly impossible to find time off-screen, and concerns about employee mental health, burnout, and other health issues associated with heavy screen time are on the rise.
Below, we’ll share some helpful tips for you to use and share company-wide on how to fight back against screen overload and support your mental health.
Write By Hand
There have always been psychological benefits to completing tasks by pen and paper versus keyboard and screen, but today, these benefits are doubly valuable.
A study from Frontiers in Psychology shows that regions associated with learning in the brain were much more active when participants completed a task by hand instead of on a keyboard. In addition, writing by hand can also promote “deep encoding” in ways that typing can’t.
Writing by hand also requires you to slow down, be more thoughtful and present, and can even boost creativity, according to neuroscientists.
For those of us stuck working at home these past eight months or so, “mental fogginess” is something we’ve likely experienced at one point or another. Off-loading suitable tasks from the computer to the notepad can help stimulate and energize the brain in ways that the pandemic has forced us to neglect.
Set Aside Non-Negotiable Time to Be Offline
Typically, much of our free time has been dedicated to screen-related activities. With screen time on the rise, though, setting aside a window in your day where you are screen-free is more important than ever before.
Find a suitable time in the day to dedicate to screenless activity. Exercise, reading (or even audiobooks!), meditation, yoga, whatever activity you chose can be entirely up to you. But diligently scheduling this time in your day is crucial to making it a habit.
You could also find an “accountability buddy” at work to get yourself disciplined at the start and also help someone else.
In recent years, so much of our social interactions have become facilitated through our screens, whether it’s social media, texting, or emailing.
While there’s nothing inherently problematic with this, today’s overexposure to screens should have us considering the old school way a little bit more: phone calls.
Without the usual social gatherings and even office chatter, we’re collectively missing out on myriad beneficial social interactions. Whenever you can, try to replace the reflex to text a friend, check up on a family member, or get an update from a coworker with a phone call.
Even a small step like this can help stimulate and recreate the social connections that are fundamental to a healthy lifestyle.
While remote work may be the norm for the time being, with a few simple, effective habits, you can progress through these challenging months while supporting your mental health and discover new helpful behaviors you can rely on even after the pandemic has finally relented.
Preston & Company
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At Preston & Company, our greatest asset is our people. With extensive backgrounds in financial disciplines, our staff has the experience necessary to attract and discern the highest quality candidates at any level.
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