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Remote Work Nightmare: How It Fuels Your Eating Disorder

Working from Home

“There’s nothing like the solitude of remote work to cultivate the perfect environment for an eating disorder.”

These are the words of Jason Adler, a Software Engineer at Repocket and a recovering anorexic. He adds a fresh perspective to a growing concern: how remote work is unwittingly exacerbating eating disorder symptoms.

The Rising Encounter

The advent of remote work has seen a meteoric rise in recent years. Aggravated by the global pandemic, working from home became the new normal.

Remote work is not slowing down, with most professionals expecting remote work to become the standard.

It’s therefore crucial to understand its potential implications on mental health, particularly eating disorders.

According to Cross River Therapy, eating disorders affect at least 9% of the global population, and remote job seems to be worsening this health issue for certain workers.

With remote work, the lines between work and personal life blur incredibly easily. A piece of toast replaces a balanced breakfast, seamless delivery becomes a form of stress relief, and mindless snacking stands in for coffee breaks.

These dietary fluctuations, exacerbated by long work hours and the absence of a structured routine, can potentially worsen existing eating disorders among certain professionals.

The Rule Of Isolation

One of the most daunting aspects of remote work comes with prolonged isolation. This isolation can lead to secretive eating habits, a common characteristic of eating disorders.

Jason Adler, having combatted his own struggles, warns, “The lack of oversight allows those with eating disorders to easily fall back into old habits. I used to skip meals or eat very little due to the absence of my colleagues.”

According to a study published in Springer Nature Journal, people with eating disorders may face an even greater challenge for recovery with increased feelings of isolation and loneliness.

The Impact Of Video Calls

Moreover, the increased use of video calls is making workers more body-conscious, often leading them to eat less or more than needed.

Seeing oneself on camera enhances self-scrutiny, creating constant pressure to appear a certain way. This added stress could precipitate harmful eating patterns.

Creating A Remote Work Health Strategy

It’s apparent that remote work can severely intensify eating disorders, but measures can be taken to manage this risk.

  • Establish a routine: Even in a home setting, it’s important to adhere to scheduled meal times. This helps to prevent skipping meals or overeating due to stress or lack of routine.
  • Mindful eating: Instead of mindlessly eating while working, try to step away from work and focus on the food. This can help avoid overindulgence and improve digestion.
  • Self-monitoring: It’s crucial to monitor your eating behaviour regularly. Having a record can help you better manage your eating habits.
  • Seek help: If you are struggling with an eating disorder, it’s important to seek professional help. Counsellors or therapists trained in eating disorders can give the necessary support. Continued access to care could also be protective against increased eating disorder behaviours, according to a study published in the Journal of Eating Disorders.

Adler himself has experienced the benefits of these strategies, stating, “Creating structure and taking regular breaks to concentrate on my meals helped me improve my eating behaviour during remote work.”

Looking Forward

The association between remote work and worsening eating disorders is an area of mental health that needs more attention.

As remote work continues to grow, it’s crucial that workers, employers and health professionals understand these potential risks, and proactively implement strategies to mitigate them.

To any professionals who might be fighting this often silent battle, Adler’s message is clear: “Remote work challenges are real, but they are not unbeatable. Seek help, create a plan, and take it one day at a time. I did it and so can you.”

The future of remote work is undoubtedly bright. But let’s illuminate it with holistic wellness, addressing not just our productivity, but our physical and mental health as well.