Are you now working remotely due to the pandemic? If so, you’ll want to keep reading. As mentioned in the April newsletter, moving at short notice from a trusted, secure office environment to working remotely can create sudden security risks. This sudden shift to working remotely also raises concerns about maintaining mental health while working from home. Adjusting to new policies, procedures, and technology simultaneously is challenging. Not to mention coping with feelings of isolation as we find ourselves under ‘safer at home’ orders.
In view of this, the May newsletter will focus on mental health while working from home. First, we’ll discuss what is meant by mental health and how staying connected professionally and personally promotes well-being. Additionally, we’ll provide online resources for when you need to talk out your anxieties. And, we’ll discuss a professional conference that promotes mental well-being.
Mental Health — What Does That Mean Exactly?
From the Heads Together initiative of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to casual conversation, mental health is a phrase we hear often. But, what does it mean exactly? According to MentalHealth.gov, mental health includes psychological, social, and emotional well-being. It also involves how we handle stress, relate to others, and make choices. Positive mental health and wellness enables us to handle stresses in life and work productively. When it comes to mental health feeling connected to others is a key component to our well-being. How we can feel connected while working remotely? Let’s take a look.
Stay Connected — A Key Component
Being and staying connected while working remotely includes more than having fast and reliable Wi-Fi — although that’s necessary. It’s about maintaining personal and professional connections. Granted, this is more challenging when you don’t have in person contact. But, it’s possible. You just need to use available technology and be willing to take the initiative. VirtualVocations.com has excellent tips to help you stay connected while working remotely. I’ll divide it into two sections: professional and personal.
- Use online collaboration tools to create a sense of community among your remote team. As a result, you’ll be able to chat periodically with your coworkers just like you would in the office via Slack, Microsoft Teams, and Google Hangout.
- Find a telecommuting buddy to chat with regularly. Happiness expert, Dan Buettner, notes work “best friends” improve productivity and happiness. I look forward to chatting with my work best friend, Amanda. We share laughs, and sometimes tears. She is more than a work best friend; she is a best friend. My work and life are more enjoyable and meaningful because of her.
- If you’re a manager hold weekly or monthly meetings to check in with your team.
- Schedule time for personal conversations with your family and close friends. Seeing a face really helps combat feelings of isolation. Tools such as FaceTime, Sykpe, and Zoom are useful for this. However, make sure you take security measures to keep your video calls secure.
- Plan weekly family nights. Video calls make it possible to feel connected even if your family is sheltering in place separately. And, apps such as houseparty allow you to video chat while playing games together online
- Spend time in nature. For instance, just a few minutes absorbing nature can make you feel more grounded and connected to the world.
How to Know When You Need Help and Where to Find It
There is no shame in acknowledging you need help to maintain or to regain your mental well-being. Mental health is just as integral to your well-being as is healthy liver, heart and kidney function. So, it’s important to know when it’s time for help. These are a few signs that experts say indicate it’s time to reach out:
- Not being able to perform daily tasks like work or school.
- Feeling numb or like nothing matters.
- Persistent feelings of helplessness or hopelessness.
- Yelling or fighting with family or friends.
Where can you go for help if you identify with these behaviors? Experts agree that it’s important to talk it out. So, try talking to a trusted friend or family member. If you can’t talk to someone you know, or if it hasn’t helped, teletherapy is an option. Licensed therapists provide online help via chat rooms, video conferencing, phone, or text message. Here are a few of the top picks for teletherapy selected by VeryWellMind.
- Talkspace provides unlimited messaging and video conferencing with licensed therapists.
- Amwell offers telehealth solutions and access mental health professionals any time of day or night.
- 7 Cups of Tea is an online emotional support service. You can live chat with a free listener or chat with a licensed therapist.
- Betterhelp offers live chat sessions with licensed therapists.
Additionally, the website https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk provides valuable resources on mental health. Reach out and get the support and help you need. Many health insurance plans include teletherapy. Check your description of plan benefits. If you’re still not sure, ask your human resources representative or contact your insurance company directly.
Social-Engineer.org Promotes Mental Health
Connecting with others is vital for mental health. At Social-Engineer.org we recognize this. It’s part of what social engineering is about. Most hear about the malicious use of social engineering. However, we define social engineering as “any act that influences a person to take an action that may or may not be in their best interest”. We define it using broad and general terms because we feel that social engineering is not always negative. It also includes how we communicate with our parents, therapists, children, spouses, and others. On our website you’ll find newsletters and podcasts discussing emotional intelligence, how social engineering skills improve your relationships, as well as rapport building that leads to connections. Here’s a sampling of what you’ll find.
Human Hacking Conference —Workshop on Mental Health
In February 2020 we hosted the brand-new Human Hacking Conference. The conference trainers were well known experts in fields such as interpersonal relationships, nonverbal communication, and other areas. For instance, one of our workshops was run by Amanda Berlin, CEO and owner of Mental Health Hackers. This workshop is designed to make mental health first aid as common as CPR and included group exercises and content from the Mental Health First Aid program. Truly, much needed skills in these dark times.
If you missed the conference in February, you can listen to a recap with it’s amazing host and trainers in this podcast. As well as this blog, which breaks down the workshops and speeches.One of VirutalVocations.com tips for staying connected is to attend a conference or training seminar. Why not plan to attend the Human Hacking Conference for 2021. Think of it as tool for maintaining your mental well-being.
Mental Health — Not Just for May
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. With the sudden changes to our lives because of the coronavirus, it’s a good time to gather resources to help yourself, friends, and family, maintain mental well-being while working remotely, as well as in all areas of life. Please, keep this newsletter as a go-to reference. It was written with you in mind.
Stay safe, healthy, and connected.
Written by: Social-Engineer