Staying healthy in a world of remote working, cybersecurity, and IT conundrums

Personal health is as important as security solutions

White and Blue Health Pill and Tablet Letter Cutout on Yellow Surface

I spent a lot of time researching the latest IT trends and cybersecurity issues, given the nature of my work. If you bother to read any of the blogs and articles I publish on Bytagig, you’re intimately familiar with “Douglas James goes on another alarmist rant about the woes of cyber dangers.” In my defense, there is a lot to worry about.

But positivity, mental health, and optimism are just as important as the software components. Remember, human error plays the biggest role in breaches. Phishing, scams which have existed since the inception of the web, prevail as the “go to” malicious payload method.

That’s why I’m puling back and focusing on you, the reader. Universally and otherwise. Be it you’re a fresh remote worker, IT veteran, enterprise lead, or person navigating this frightening cyberscape. Mental health, I’ve found, is so critical to success. Not just in life, but in our work. Remote working amplified the need for personal care, too. Cut off from usual social habits, a lot of people were faced with the daunting leviathan known as isolation. Isolation can lead to a sense of depression, leading to fatigue, more depression, and a collapse of health.

Adding to that is tech work tends to be sedentary. Remote work? More so. So this time, let’s take a genuine look at ways to maintain some healthy habits, maintain some sanity, and not let the overload of information get the better of us.

Easier said than done, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

Get up and move

Are you sitting while reading this? Do me a favor and stand up. Stretch for a bit, a minute or so. Move your body around, drink some water, and look at anything that isn’t an electronic screen. But don’t just do it now, make it routine. It’s real easy to get lost in the void of electronic screens, and after a while they hurt.

Excessive screen time (something you can’t often help) leads to things like fatigue (that icky sense of endless tiredness), eye strain, and headaches.

Don’t let complexity scare you

If anyone in the IT world is presenting reports about the Armageddon of cybersecurity, well, don’t wait for digital rapture just yet. Tension and concern is high, yes, for good reason. Infrastructure and cyber attacks grow. They’re common instead of unusual.

But treating the problem, in your head, as a whirlwind of issues you can’t possibly comprehend sets yourself up for defeat. Honestly, most cyber threats are avoidable with common sense and skepticism. It’s after a breach they’ve turned into a nightmare scenario.

You’re more than capable of batting away even the most dangerous ransomware gang. The trick is to not view a problem, threat, or issue as gargantuan. Doing so, I feel, is good for modern confidence in a remote environment.

You’re not alone

IT and cybersecurity problems have a way of driving home feelings of isolation. In remote environments, more so.

Ever been hit with malware or some kind of hack attempt? Someone got your login, maybe. A virus found its way onto your PC or laptop. Whatever it was, it probably felt awful. Malware gets personal and steals away a very important and personal device from us.

If you’re dealing with that in a professional setting, it can feel awful. Frightening, numbing even. But the thing is, whatever is happening, it’s happened before. Even ransomware, the nastiest variant of attacks, have been experienced by others. The key thing to remember, though, is you’re not alone. You have a support network with your own business. Outside of that? Thousands of people have gone through similar attack attempts. That doesn’t mean the solution will always be there and perfect, but no attack is unique to you.

Mind the caffeine and sugary drinks

Full disclosure, I love caffeine. It definitely helps me focus, with the right amount. Not too much or too little. But too much over a long period of time causes issues of anxiety, sleeplessness, and a host of other issues.

If you rely on caffeine and sugary drinks to help you power through the day in a remote environment,  you’re setting yourself up for some long-term fatigue and other problems. It’s easy to get lost in this loop, because working at a desk – even stationary – is surprisingly tiresome.

But remember all that sugar and caffeine isn’t used in the same way when seated. In the same token, sodas and energy boosters don’t hydrate you. They even create a reliance, which just makes you more tired in the long run.

Get good sleep

I know, I know. Good rest is. . . hard to attain these days. Stress, work, bills, life. Tossing down a few sleep pills just to knock out is not an ideal situation. Easier said than done though, right? It’s why I went on a tangent about avoiding excessive caffeine and sugary drinks, both of which can keep you up.

The other challenge is the exposure to electric screens. Screens emit blue light which tells our brain it’s time to stay up. Therefore, when you’re done with them, be done with them. Not getting enough sleep builds up over time, and before you know it, you’re a fatigued mess.

Separate work and home

Well this sounds redundant, doesn’t it? Remote working typically takes place in a home environment, right? But the key here is, if possible, to separate space for work from your living area. Mentally this helps turn your brain away from “busy” mode and important for getting into a relaxed state. Like when you come home from work, you leave the job behind you (usually).

Getting a better idea? Remote work isn’t only a professional effort, it’s a personal one. Cyberscurity and IT, too, have a way of overloading us with stress. But the true fight starts in ourselves, and if you’re out of order, confronting cyber attacks is that much harder.

I hope these basic tips help.

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