Mental health: Working from home
Amidst the new climate that is working from home, there comes the pros (and the cons) of waking up and commuting to the couch each day. Yet even from within our creature comforts there can still be the overwhelming sense of urgency and anxieties that comes with deadlines, meetings and online presentations. The Sunday night blues might not be as daunting as it once was but it still has its charms. The reality of Monday morning still hits when the coffee has been poured and your fingers wait over the keyboard ready to go. But what if you’re not in the zone? We dress for work and it somehow makes us more productive, so trying to finish our tasks in a dressing gown or hold a conference in fluffy socks and slippers can feel underwhelming. Is it worth wasting an hour getting suited and booted for the dining room table, the quiet back office or even the living room sofa? As the weeks progress we will begin to see a strain our mental health. This is why it is important to take time once in a while and make sure you’re keeping your head clear.
A positive take from this is that our daily grind is disrupted and as irritating as it can be there is a small sense of excitement, that small rush of not sitting in traffic or working under fluorescent lights for 8 hours. Being in your own home can be a welcome break that actually has benefits to the brain. It is very important to maintain good mental health during this time. It is also just as important to reach out to others to see how they are coping. Offering support with benefit both parties. Don’t use these conversations as small therapy sessions but instead touch upon your doubts and highlight the positives that are happening to keep morale up and clear the mind. So here are some basics to keep you in check during this turbulent period.
· Keep things running smoothly with a routine. Get up, get dressed (or at least out of the pjs), take your normal breaks that you would at the office. Remember to tidy your workplace and keep it free of clutter. If the space around you is clear then you don’t feel overcome with negative connections to your home.
· Another important point is to establish work vs play. From housemates and children there needs to be set areas and times for loud music/tv and socialising. It is likely that if you have children in the house they will want to be around you while you work. If you slowly allow them to put the foot in the door then before you know it they spend most of their day in your office. Set the boundary early on that work time means work.
· Keep in contact with your team. Regular video calls and phone calls will keep you updated. Even a 15 minute video chat for a social coffee break can keep you sane while cooped up inside.
· When it hits home time make sure to put the laptop away and wind down. Outside of these work hours do all the things that bring you joy at home; Watch a comedy and call friends. If you’re living with others play board games with them (like the old days!)
· It is important to stay active too. With access to YouTube and other video platforms (Instagram for example) there are thousands of different exercises to try. With things like high intensity workouts and yoga sessions you will find something that doesn’t require any equipment, and if they do a couple of tins of beans will do. If being cooped up at home isn’t satisfying your cravings then use that daily walk and get creative with the routes around you.
· This last point can be a different one but a great one to try… meditation. Putting aside moments for yourself whether its active meditation or crossed legs and flutes can greatly benefit your mental health.