The Challenges of Working Remotely for Addiction Recovery and Mental Health

With the current pandemic we are facing, you may believe that working at home will come with no challenges—you do not have to get all dressed up, worry about traffic getting to work, and can work from your bed if you want to. Unfortunately, you may also feel like you are able to do things at home you would not get away with in the office, like drinking alcohol or doing more work than you can normally handle. It is important to stay away from alcohol and learn to pace yourself while you are working at home in order to stay healthy during this pandemic.

Alcohol.org Study on Remote Working and Drinking

A new study on alcohol.org says that one in three Americans are drinking while working at home during this time. The American Addiction Centers asked 3,000 people in the country if they were drinking while working at home during this pandemic. 32% said they were more likely to drink while working at home compared to if they were working anywhere else. 36% of men and women said they were drinking while working on the clock.

Many in the workforce are in recovery and this time of social distancing and self-imposed isolation can trigger a relapse. There are also many people who think they can get away with drinking alcohol while working at home because there are no supervisors around to see.

Getting in Trouble for Drinking Remotely

You might be thinking that you can get away with increasing your alcoholic doses if you are working at home with no one to see. You may not be able to commit a DUI if you have to stay at home, but that does not mean your employers will not be able to tell if you are drinking on the job.

Companies are switching to video chat networks like Zoom, Google Hangouts, or GoToMeeting. If you appear intoxicated in the video camera, miss a meeting, or have appeared disorganized, your boss can still give you the same punishment as you would receive if you were drinking in the office.

What to Do About Your Drinking While at Home

You should never feel like you have to drink alcohol while on the job. Get rid of any cases of alcohol that you have lying around the house if you notice you have no control over it. There are also many recovery groups and meetings that you can access online like Alcoholics Anonymous, 12-Step programs, or recovery groups you can find on Facebook. You should feel lucky to be able to work at home while there are many people who have lost their jobs—either temporarily or permanently—because of this pandemic. Do not wait for your drinking to get worse for you to realize that you need help.

Work at Home Burnout

With many businesses experiencing changes and pressure, this may mean you have to take on more work than before. When you are dealing with the stress of this pandemic and not able to leave home, you may be dealing with burnout. Exhaustion tends to take over and we feel like we cannot cope under these conditions.

The Signs of Work at Home Burnout

In order to limit your anxiety and your tendency to overwork, it is important to recognize the signs of work at home burnout. This can mean feeling like your mind is overloaded with endless thoughts going through your head. Your job is all you are thinking about. Because you never switch off, you are not giving your body any time to relax, which will make you feel drained. You may also be checking your emails compulsively instead of giving yourself the downtime you deserve.

Speak to Your Boss

The best person that you can speak to if you are experiencing burnout is your boss. Let them know if you feel like you are experiencing unrealistic deadlines or have too much work to do. Make a list of all of the issues you are experiencing and schedule a time to call your boss. Your boss has a good chance of understanding where you are coming from as this is a difficult adjustment for everyone. If it turns out your boss is not being understanding or reasonable, speak to Human Resources about it.

Schedule Downtime

During these stressful times, life should not be solely about work. If you live with your family, perhaps they could use some attention—or you may want to use this opportunity to take up those hobbies you did not have time for previously. Catch up with your friends on the phone and learn stress management techniques like yoga or deep breathing. Set a goal to not allow yourself to be interrupted with email or call notifications between certain hours.

Look for Support

If you feel like your mental health is seriously affected by your work, take advantage of the mental health resources your company offers. A lot of businesses have employee assistance programs which offer direct, confidential contact with mental health experts who deal with issues related to family, work, addiction, and mental illness. Find out what resources your company offers and do not be ashamed to use them. Especially since we are living in uncertain times, always reach out for help if you are suffering from alcohol addiction or work burnout, so you can improve your mental and physical health.

If you need help addressing alcohol addiction, stress from work at home burnout, or any other issues that have been exacerbated by the pandemic, do not hesitate to reach out to us today at (866) 729-8577. Located in Huntington Beach, California, Silver Lining Recovery is an outpatient care center with a relaxing environment. We offer customized care through a variety of therapies such as EMDR, CBT, DBT, meditation treatment, faith-based treatment, and academic and career counseling.