Things That Matter

Working From Home Can Impact Your Mental Health, Here’s How To Stay Sane And Healthy

A recent survey shows that thirty-five percent of workers who telecommute said their mental health had deteriorated as a result of doing so amid the coronavirus lockdown. As someone who has gone from working in a social, fun-filled, compassionate office space, I can consider myself part of that 35%.

Although working from home (for those privileged enough to do so) is a necessity for our safety and that of the community – it definitely presents some unique challenges.

Yes, the benefits are many: avoiding transit problems and the stress of commuting; sidestepping office politics; adopting a flexible schedule that allows for chores and errands to be incorporated into the work day; more time with family and pets; and a break on keeping up a business wardrobe and other appearance-related expenses.

But there’s a dark side. It’s an arrangement that fosters isolation and disconnection, two conditions that feed the greedy depression monster.

Here are some excellent tips for taking care of your mental health during these unprecedented times.

Break up your workday

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Some common challenges when working from home during the pandemic is the lack of stimulation and connection to people you used to see regularly. This can become a bit confusing, so it’s great to try to break up the schedule.

One of the best tips for working from home that I’ve discovered is breaking up the work day with movement. This can be a quick burst of movement (like jumping jacks, or lifting kettle bells) or some lower impact movement like a walk. I’m also a huge fan of taking a mid-afternoon break (longer than your typical 30-minute lunch break) to go on a long walk or run errands.

Get a routine and stick to it

Routine is essential, and it’s even more important when structure is missing.

Sticking to a routine does not mean that you have to abide by the old standard 9-5 office hours, and only take downtime in the evening. It simply means that you have a system for waking up on time, getting ready, feeling confident and getting your work done in a timely manner. 

When you do this regularly enough, it will feel more natural over time, and you won’t have to think about it so much. For me, this has meant taking my dogs out on a walk to get a coffee in the morning and then coming home and getting to work – it’s like creating my own little commute.

Stay connected

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Remember to keep up with friends and family, even if that can only be done through a Zoom or FaceTime call. Text someone you care about, and when restrictions are lifted in your area, try to make plans as regularly as you feel comfortable.

Connection is key, and it can be challenging when you don’t leave your home for long stretches of time.

It’s also helpful to join platforms of people doing similar work as you and interacting with them throughout the day. Or you can join an online book club or participate in volunteer work – having this sort of obligation will go a long way in helping you show up when you don’t feel great.

Incorporate wellness activities into your day

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One of the biggest perks of working from home is that you get to do things you might not be able to if you’re in an office all day.

I’ve been doing 20 minute walks around my neighborhood while listening to music. This moves the energy in the body and allow us to to have a shift in consciousness, which is so important when you’ve been isolated in front of a computer screen.

Another way to experience new energy in the body is to pause from work, find a comfortable place to sit, and then do deep belly breaths. This involves taking one deep breath in, and then focus on the exhale. You’ll notice your shoulders will relax, and your body will feel lighter.

Learn how to detach

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It’s so important when working from home that you keep your work and personal lives and actual physical areas totally separate. For many, it may not be possible to create an actual separate office space but you can create workspaces outside of your most “lived in” spaces. That’s what matters most.

There is a risk that working hours will get longer if the boundaries between work and personal life become blurred. It is necessary to establish a rigid system in which work can be carried out in a planned manner, such as by setting working hours and the timing of contact with supervisors.

No matter what you do, remember that working from home is yet another “new normal” to get used to — and the sooner you adapt to what makes you most productive, healthy, and mentally well, the better.

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Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

Entertainment

Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

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It’s 2021 and the Met Gala is back this year – after being canceled in 2020 thanks to a pandemic – with superstar poet Amanda Gorman being eyed to host the fashion event of the year. Given the 23-year-old’s show-stopping performance at the inauguration, the theme fittingly will be a celebration of America and American designers.

The Met Gala will return in 2021 with a very special guest as host.

Vogue’s “Oscars of Fashion” famously takes place on the first Monday of May. However, this year it’s been pushed back to September 13, in hopes that life will have returned to something closer to normal by then.

Epic poet Amanda Gorman is reportedly in talks to co-host the event alongside Tom Ford, who is the academy’s president. The breakout star of President Biden’s inauguration, Gorman is on the cover of the magazine’s May issue and the subject of a relentlessly glowing profile inside.

The black-tie gala, which raises funds for Met’s Costume Institute, is normally fashion’s biggest night and sees guests from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and even Maluma.

The event was canceled in 2020 thanks to a global pandemic.

The world’s most glamorous party was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, which was (and still is) raging the planet at the time. There was a virtual event in place of the 2020 event, with celebs like Julia Roberts, Priyanka Chopra and Amanda Seyfried showing off their looks from home and stars like Mindy Kaling and Adam Rippon taking part in the #MetGalaChallenge, recreating looks from past years.

This year’s event will draw inspiration from all things USA.

The theme of this year’s Met Gala has not been announced, but Page Six says the night will be devoted to honoring America and American designers, following the 18-month-long COVID crisis in this country.

Recent past themes for the event have included “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (2019), “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (2018), and “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between (2017). And don’t forget 2016, when Zayn Malik wore robot-arms to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

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New Findings Show That QAnon Followers Are More Likely to Suffer From Mental Illness

Things That Matter

New Findings Show That QAnon Followers Are More Likely to Suffer From Mental Illness

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It’s no secret that QAnon followers subscribe to some outlandish ideas. The biggest one being that the government is run by a cabal of elite, satan-worshipping pedophiles. And while critics could chalk up these conspiracy theorists to a few gullible internet users, the reality is much more complicated than that.

According to new research, QAnon followers are more likely to suffer from mental illness than the rest of the population.

The data comes from a study conducted by Georgia State University by radicalization expert, Dr. Sophia Moskalenko. According to her findings, out of the QAnon followers arrested for crimes since 2018,  68% “reported they had received mental health diagnoses.” That’s in comparison to 19% of the rest of the population.

These diagnoses were manifold: post-traumatic stress disorder, bipolar disorder, paranoid schizophrenia, Munchausen by proxy syndrome, as well as depression, anxiety and addiction struggles. These numbers were self-reported by QAnon offenders via social media posts or through interviews.

Due to these numbers, Dr. Moskalenko concludes that “QAnon is less a problem of terrorism and extremism than it is one of poor mental health.”

According to Dr. Moskalenko’s research, 44% of the QAnon insurrectionists “experienced a serious psychological trauma that preceded their radicalization, such as physical or sexual abuse of themselves or their children.” These past traumas may explain why QAnon supporters are more likely to believe outlandish conspiracies of elite government pedophile rings.

As Dr. Moskalenko writes: “In my view, the solution to this aspect of the QAnon problem is to address the mental health needs of all Americans – including those whose problems manifest as QAnon beliefs. Many of them – and many others who are not QAnon followers – could clearly benefit from counseling and therapy.”

Since COVID-19 radically changed most people’s way of life, mental health problems skyrocketed in the United States.

According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, the number of people suffering from anxiety and depression quadrupled during quarantine. It doesn’t seem a coincidence, therefore, that the QAnon movement gained such momentum during a year when people were already suffering from extreme stress and isolation.

But just because QAnon followers are more likely to suffer from mental illness, that does not mean that every person who suffers from mental illness is a QAnon follower.

It’s unfortunate that power-hungry politicians have leveraged the beliefs of already-vulnerable people to their advantage.

In a time when so many people feel much more fragile than they did before, there are some bad actors out there who are using misguided conspiracy theorists to push their own agenda.

Politicians like Donald Trump, Rep. Lauren Boebert and Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene have used QAnon rhetoric to recruit voters. Instead, they should be getting their constituents the help they need instead of manipulating and taking advantage of them. These so-called leaders are preying upon people who are unwell and looking for help and guidance.

As one Twitter user wrote: “‘Q Anon’ has consumed those already plagued with mental illness. We need to address this because this is how ordinary American citizens become radicalized.”

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