How to look after your mental health when working from home
30/03/2020 by MRL
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Mental health in the workplace has been a global conversation over the last few years. As 42 per cent of employees admit they have considered resigning because of workplace stress, organisations have begun to recognise that protecting mental health is not just the moral thing to do, it is good for business too. Several successful measures have been implemented by organisations who value their employees’ mental health in the same way that they regard physical health.
But, now that anyone who can work from home has been asked to do so in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, individuals may find themselves lacking the support they would usually receive from their place of work. So, how can you look after your mental health at this time?
Monitor your news intake
While it is important to stay up to date with the latest information, the news cycle is so heavily saturated with news from various different sources that it can be overwhelming. Give yourself control over the situation by turning off breaking news alerts and limiting the time you spend on social media. Try and make sure you aren’t just scrolling through Twitter; instead search out the information you need, read it purposefully and then move on.
Create a routine
We are all creatures of habit, so it is a good idea to wake up and start work at a similar time each day. You don’t need to spend time getting ready to sit in your own home, but do take the time to do the things which will help you feel normal – whether that’s having a shower, a shave or doing your make up. Add new things to your work from home routine that help to make up for the things you might miss in the office; take your full lunch break and cook up a storm or use it to socialise with friends and workmates.
Similarly, you should avoid doing any overtime. Be strict with yourself and stick to your finishing time, even if you haven’t been as productive as you’d hoped for the day – you’ll soon learn to keep your attention throughout the day, and this way your evenings are still for yourself. Make sure you can switch off.
Physical exercise has been proven to positively impact mood and stress levels, so if you’re the type to hit the gym regularly then make sure that find ways to keep this going at home. If you’re not so keen on exercise as part of your usual routine then don’t feel you need to dive in at the deep end, just try to do a few things each day to keep active. Get some fresh air once a day with a stroll around the block, try yoga on YouTube, play around with a VR headset, take the dog for an extended walk – or maybe you’re active enough keeping the kids entertained all day! Try and do something which gets your body moving, so that your mind can unwind.
Check in with friends – and yourself
It can be easy to feel isolated at times like this but try to remember that everyone is in the same boat. Make the most of video calling apps to emulate face to face interaction and make sure you stay in touch with co-workers too – most companies will have a formal way of doing this, but the informal interactions are just as important. Keep chatting and socialising with friends and family.
It is also important to check in with yourself each day and monitor for feelings of stress or anxiety. Everyone can have up and down days, but if you start to have more of the latter than the former then you should get help, whether from family, a friend or professional. We are in this together, so don’t feel you are alone.
All of us are liable to be affected by the current challenges we are facing due to the coronavirus outbreak. If you need to talk to someone, we urge you to contact mental health charity, Mind.