Learn how to improve your mental wellness and stay sharp in this guide.
The COVID-19 pandemic has seen much of the workforce suddenly shifted to remote working. For those unused to working from home, it can disrupt your mental wellness.
Removed from the camaraderie of an office, you may feel isolated or lonely. You might feel stressed by the overnight adoption of new technology or ways of working.
These types of stress or anxiety can influence productivity and can make working from home a challenging experience.
Read on to learn about mental health activities you can do while working from home.
1. Have a Plan for the Day
With all the increased challenges with working from home (WFH), it's easy to let work schedules slip and work demands build up, You and/or the family may to get up a little later than you intended. That means you end up working later, with your day job eating into your leisure time as you try and juggle all the demands of work, with your family life and children's learning needs.
So managing everyone's time, including your own, is vital. When it comes to setting out your plan for the day, don't try to mimic your day at the office; it's important to acknowledge that the situation has changed. Instead, create a daily plan for the entire family that includes work and school schedules, and make it easily visible to everyone. You might want to include having all your meals together at set times so that everyone knows what their day entails.
If possible, work in a dedicated room so that you can 'leave' at the end of the day. This helps you to draw a line between work and home.
2. MEDITATING FOR MENTAL WELLNESS
Scientific studies show that mediation and mindfulness may help ease anxiety or depression. It's also a great way to clear your mind to help you focus.
Think of a short meditation session as being like an afternoon nap for your mind. Instead of having a ten-minute coffee break, you can meditate instead.
There are different types of meditation depending on what you're looking for. Some are easier than others depending on your preferences.
Mindful meditation is a popular choice because it only asks you to focus on your breathing. Whenever your mind starts to wander, gently bring it back to the breath.
You can also do this kind of meditation while doing other things. Try this kind of meditation while you're washing up your lunch dishes or going for a short walk.
Exercise is also an important part of a mental wellness regime.
Exercise releases endorphins in the body that act as a natural mood elevator. Aerobic exercise also helps reduce hormones like cortisol, caused by stress.
Put simply, exercise can assist with reducing mental stress.
Working from home doesn't stop you from working out. You'll find hundreds of workouts you can do from home with little or no equipment on YouTube.
Set a timer to get up from your desk at regular intervals. Walk on the spot for a few minutes until you start to feel warm.
4. SET YOURSELF GOALS
What about the actual process of working? A good way to boost your mental health and make you feel productive is to feel like you've achieved something.
Set yourself at least three goals for your day. Make one of them a 'must-have', or something you can't abandon until it's done. Prioritise the work for that goal.
Next, set a 'desirable'. This is a goal which will advance the work on a project but the deadline isn't immediate.
Finally, choose a 'nice to have'. This can be a smaller goal around something you may have been putting off. Perhaps you want to tackle your inbox.
Working towards these every day will help you to feel more in control of your work.
5. KEEP IN TOUCH WITH COLLEAGUES
You may be in physical self-isolation but don't cut yourself off from your co-workers. Try to schedule chats with colleagues to replicate the atmosphere of an office.
If you schedule them during your lunch hour, make sure you don't talk about work. Discuss current affairs, your favourite Netflix shows, or whatever you normally talk about.
Consider scheduling special 'ideas' sessions to bounce ideas around and get feedback on your projects. This is also perfect for those freelancers who don't have colleagues but still work from home.
This social contact is a key way to maintain a mental balance. There are many tech solutions to help you stay in touch.
Webex, Microsoft Teams and Zoom are all good choices for video chats or conference calls. WhatsApp groups can help for text-based chat. Or try messaging platforms like Teams or Slack to exchange ideas.
6. DRINK PLENTY OF WATER
This may seem a strange choice for an article about mental health tips. Yet dehydration can pose real problems for our mental clarity and focus.
Without enough to drink, we find it harder to think. This makes us more prone to stress and bad decision making.
The more mistakes we make, the more stressed we become. It's a vicious cycle that continues unless we do something to break it.
Making sure you drink enough water is a simple way to stay clear-headed. How much is 'enough'?
Common advice follows the so-called 8x8 rule. That equates to eight 8 oz glasses of water per day. It's roughly 2 litres of water per day.
Top up your glass throughout the day. Drink water instead of coffee but if you can't abandon hot drinks, tea is a better choice.
Green tea still contains caffeine but has the added benefit of antioxidants.
TRY THESE MENTAL HEALTH SOLUTIONS
The COVID-19 pandemic won't last forever and you'll be back in the office eventually. Until then, be mindful of taking steps to ensure your mental health and wellbeing.
It's up to you to manage your mental wellness so that you can stay productive, happy and healthy.