How to Support your Mental Health Whilst Working Remotely
Very few of us are used to working remotely for prolonger periods of time and with a change to our daily routine and uncertain and challenging times ahead it is more important than ever to take small steps each day to look after our mental health.
Here are our top 10 tips for supporting your mental health whilst working from home:
Be Planned and Flexible - planning is key to keeping structure to your day and managing your time and the differing pressures that you now may be facing. Be flexible with your time, you may now have to home school your children so plan when you will do this and when you are able to work so you are at your best for both of these. Have honest discussions with your line managers about how you may need to work flexibly to manage your home life with your work.
Get into a routine - with potentially weeks ahead of working remotely, keeping a routine is critical. Eat at the same time each day, prepare yourself for work as you usually would, ensure you take breaks and stick to regular working hours where you can which will help bring a sense of normality to your day.
Stay connected - staying connected with people is crucial to supporting our wellbeing. Take time every day to check in with friends, family and work colleagues. Recognise when those close to you may be struggling and support wherever you can. Helping and supporting others can be great for our own wellbeing and giving us a sense of purpose.
Maintain a work life balance - it will be even more difficult to maintain a work life balance if working from home with areas within our home becoming our new office. Try wherever possible set up just one area as a workspace, do not spread out work out all over your home and keep at least one area which is work free. At the end your working day turn off your computer and tidy up your workspace to minimise the tendency to re-pick up work later and blur those work and home life boundaries.
Be realistic - everyone will feel differently about working remotely and it may take some people longer than others to adapt to new ways of working. Be realistic with what you can achieve on a daily basis, keep your workloads manageable and regularly check in with your manager so you know what is expected of you on an ongoing basis.
Get active - the benefits of physical activity are well known and now more than ever it is so important to keep active to reduce our stress levels and support our mental and physical wellbeing. Going out for a walk or a run where this is possible and safe is a great way to stay active and get some fresh air, but there are also so many stay at home workouts that can be done and these are also a great way to do something together as a family. Simply type home workouts into You Tube or Pinterest and all sorts of options will come up from HIT sessions to yoga classes for all fitness levels
Take some deep breaths - take time throughout the day to breathe, take 3 deep breaths (breathing in for 3 seconds and breathing out for 3 seconds), connecting the body and breath can bring us back to the here and now where we can feel calm, grounded and safe. Do this as often as you can during the day.
Self Care - take some time for yourself every day to do something that you enjoy, that makes you happy or that gives your mind, body and soul some attention. Some ideas for self care can be reading a book, doing some arts and craft, learning something new having a bath, write down things you are grateful for and practising meditation or mindfulness.
Eat well, stay hydrated and get enough sleep - this goes without saying, having a healthy diet boosts our immune system, supports our mental health and makes us feel more energetic. Staying hydrated also supports our immune system, flushes out unwanted toxins and aids the lymphatic system. Getting enough sleep is also critical to enhancing our productivity and giving our body time to recover daily with the additional stress everyone is currently experiencing.
Unplug - being connected 24/7 can be over whelming and can certainly cause anxiety and uncertainly at this currently point of time with constant messaging and news relating to the situation the country and world is facing. Unplug yourself even for a small amount of time every day and don’t use any electronic items for at least 30 minutes before you go to sleep.
Gemma Carter-Morris, Director of Wellbeing, Next Steps Consulting