COVID-19 and the New Normal: How to Disconnect from Work and Keep up with your Mental Health

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The COVID-19 pandemic set a new precedent for our society. We had to change how we interact, move, and work. Many people around the world spend months in lockdown, and some countries are still with isolating measures. Even though governments in the US relaxed the measures, the events left a sour aftertaste in our mental health. 


And that is without thinking about how you must be feeling if you lost a loved one to the virus. You may be experiencing some of the following emotions:


  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Stress
  • Frustration
  • Anger
  • Loneliness
  • Isolation
  • Insomnia and sleep problems

All these are symptoms of poor mental health, and despite what many people believe, they don’t go away just by ignoring them. You should face these feelings and take action to feel better. For example, if you are a full stack developer, you may be feeling a lot of pressure for your job. On top of the pandemic situation, you may crack under so much stress. Here is what you can do to disconnect from work and keep up with your mental health.

Set Boundaries

With the pandemic, many companies only had the option of continuing their operations online. And even though things are getting back to normal, some choose to keep the remote working style. Sometimes, especially if we are new to working remotely, we forget to set boundaries between our life and our work. 

We may also be misguided by the idea that we should put more effort because we are working from home. We don’t want to risk lowering our performance and losing our job, especially with the economic crisis. But, overworking will only lead to that thing you want to avoid. You will feel burnout really soon and won’t be able to be productive at all. 

For all these reasons and more, you should set clear boundaries between your work hours and the rest of your life. It also includes not taking calls during lunch or after you stopped working for the day. And, if you can’t avoid working until late because you have to deliver something urgently, then the next day, finish working a few hours earlier. 

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Include Breaks

Being eight hours straight looking at a computer may be your new regular. When you were working at a physical office, you probably had many breaks during the day. You didn’t realize it, but getting up to talk to someone or going to meetings counted as breaks. Even something as simple as going out for lunch. 

Now, you work from home, and you probably forget to take breaks unless someone that lives with you interrupts you or you go to the bathroom. And it is even worse if you are the type to eat in front of the computer because you don’t want to lose momentum.

Taking breaks every 40 minutes to an hour is needed to give your brain some rest and your body. Believe it or not, the human body isn’t made to spend eight hours straight sitting. Spending many hours sitting can have adverse effects like slow blood flow to the brain and weight gain.

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A Routine with Exercise

Creating a routine is another way to learn how to disconnect. When going to the office, you probably had a morning routine that helped you wake up and be ready for the day. And if, for example, you live in the Houston metropolitan area but had to commute every day to get to the office, you were used to having one hour to wake up before getting to work.

Try to find a new routine now that you are working from home. It can be maybe a ten-minute meditation or hearing a podcast during the time you would have to spend commuting to work before. Also, it will help to include exercising into your daily routine. Working out has many benefits for your health, and it will help you manage feelings like stress, depression, and anxiety.

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Leave the Screens

Most professions nowadays require us to spend hours in front of a computer. Now, it is even more true with many companies working remotely. You spend hours looking at a screen, and when you finally get off work, you probably spend more hours looking at your phone or TV. For example, if you are a front end developer, you probably spend eight to ten hours every day working on a project. 


So, you have to put boundaries to screens too and set a time limit every day when you will take a break. Constantly looking at screens can have negative effects on your sight, and on top of that, it is proven that blue lights from screens throw off your body’s biological clock affecting your sleep. For example, you can set a rule of no screens after eight o’clock each night and try to entertain yourself with a good book. 

e number of conditions are fulfilled or can be announcements that sound promising (we’ve entered a new market), but there is barely anything there. Investors should be wary of companies frequently pumping out non-material press releases.

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Psychedelics and Meditation

The benefits of meditation to the stressed mind are well-established, but did you know that psychedelics can also be used to treat some of today’s most common mental conditions?

In fact, psychedelics—such as methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA), psilocybin, and LSD—are being touted as game-changers when it comes to mental health. We are living a renaissance of psychedelic research which has shed light on the benefits of these substances that have been taboo for so long.

Frederick Barrett, a behavioral neuroscientist at Johns Hopkins University, is now studying psilocybin—the active ingredient found in “magic” mushrooms. His studies have shown that psilocybin is effective against both anxiety and depression.

Combined with disciplined meditation practice, psychedelics can help reduce feelings of anxiety and ameliorate depression. “Psilocybin administered properly and under supervision can see a change in emotional well-being. Meditation is also an established method,” said Barrett. 

Read: Can Microdosing Magic Mushrooms Help My Anxiety? An Evidence-Based Review

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Connect with Nature Once a Day

Finally, another thing that will help you keep up your mental health is to connect with nature once a day. This can be any activity done outside of your home, even if it is sitting in your backyard for half an hour or going for a walk in the woods. Suppose you don’t have those options, you can go to a nearby park as the last resource. 

We sometimes forget that although we are humans, we are also animals. And nature, trees, winds, and the sun directly affect our bodies and moods. Take a few minutes every day to step outside and breathe, and you will soon see the difference.

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In Summary

You can take steps to manage how the pandemic has made you feel during this year. Also, keeping yourself sane while changing the way you work and spending a lot of time at home is possible. You can remember to set boundaries between your work and life, have regular breaks during the day, and leave the screens after certain hours.

You can also keep a routine that includes daily exercise and workouts and connecting with nature once a day. You can follow some of these tips or all of them. As long as you take steps to improve your mental health, you will see results.

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Artur Meyster

Artur Meyster

Artur Meyster is the CTO of Career Karma (YC W19), an online marketplace that matches career switchers with coding bootcamps. He is also the host of the Breaking Into Startups podcast, which features people with non-traditional backgrounds who broke into tech.