Working From Home – Your Mental Health

Working From home - Your Mental Health Title Image

This is a new era in the workplace. We live in a time where we are being told to work from home but to also take care of our mental health. With everything going on this is a hotbed of potential issues and people can feel the strain.

While we are not mental health experts, it is something we care deeply about. Having referenced proper authoritative sources we have compiled a list of helpful tips to help you keep good mental health during these unprecedented times.

For more information regarding how to keep your mental health in check during this time please use the following resources:

Routine

We’ve said about how important creating a routine is for your workday, but it also has a great impact on your mental health.

By structuring and creating a good morning routine you can help alleviate a lot of the issues associated with working from home.

Without the patterns of getting up, going to work, and returning home – it can be hard to establish good boundaries between work and home, especially if you’re in the same space for a prolonged period of time. That’s why it’s encouraged to keep your workplace separate from your bedroom if possible so that you have to move about and that you are not just stuck to the same room 24/7.

Having a good routine keeps your mind focused on that particular segment of the day. Build yourself a structure for your day – ideally, stick to what you did before, the same time waking up, getting dressed, having breakfast, the commute (use the time to read, listen to a podcast, learn something new, do some exercise), and then your working day. This will not only get your mind ready for the working day but also give you a chance to prepare for anything that may crop up during it.

Equally, at the end of your day, shut your computer off, stop checking emails, and ‘finish working’ at the normal time. This helps recreate that psychological distance between your place of work and home that is needed to keep stress and anxiety at bay.

Don’t forget that you don’t go through the whole workday without a break, Build in time for lunch breaks, cups of tea, even slacking off. There can be a sense of ‘having to show you’re working’ or a pressure to work even harder than you would in an office because you are working from home, but if you’ve agreed what work is to be done, rather than just being present, having time to relax and do other things is critical.

Remember this is just another normal workday, just in a different place. Check Facebook, plan a holiday, chat with Susie in accounts, do all the thing you’d do at work. The balance being – don’t let it dominate your day over the work you have to do.

Eat Well, Sleep Well, Exercise Well

These may seem like the basics, but they are still essential. Doing this in tandem with having a set routine will help you stay happy and healthy.

Your physical health and mental health are intertwined, and whilst there may be heightened anxiety coming from the news currently, it’s even more important to make sure you’re getting good sleep and eating well.

We all know about the ideas of diet and exercise and the physical benefits they provide, but what’s often overlooked is rest. Poor sleep is linked to physical problems such as a weakened immune system and mental health problems such as anxiety and depression. Ever tried working hard when you’ve had little to no sleep the night before? That groggy feeling and struggle can have a detrimental effect not only your mental health but also to your performance at work.

Making sure you are sleeping and resting well is not only restorative for your physical being but also for you mental, so make the necessary adjustments to ensure you are getting some good quality shut-eye.

Exercise is even more critical when you are working from home, as you’ll be more sedentary than usual. Working from home is filled with distractions and potential times for you to sit down. Think of it like this, the office worker gets up, sits in a car, then sits at a desk for 8 hours, then sits in a car again to then sit at a dinner table and then sit on a sofa. Working from home means you’re not even getting those little reprieves of walking to buy lunch or travelling to and from during your commute.

We’ve talked about the physical issues that can happen from sitting down too long and how to stretch to counteract sitting. But you should keep an active exercise routine outside of just stretching to make sure your physical and mental wellbeing is at a good level. There’s no shortage of videos online for little exercise routines you can do from home to suit your taste.

Currently, there are several fitness programs and YouTubers running free live streams of workouts so that you can exercise along and keep fit during your time at home.

We’re not saying you need to suddenly start a whole new fitness routine but staying active and healthy has been proven time and again to help play a positive part in maintaining good mental health.

Where You Can Speak Face To Face

It’s really easy to lean heavily on digital tools when you’re remote. You use tools such as email, texts, WhatsApp, Messenger and more but these all lack the social importance of face to face and non-verbal communication.

That’s why it’s encouraged to use video calling software such as Skype, Facetime, Teams or Zoom so that you can maintain that important social interaction that comes from talking to someone face to face.

We, humans, are social creatures by nature so we need human interaction to enable that sense of community. Working from home can feel like a very isolating experience so having that social interaction is going to do us the world of good and keeping it as close to our normal workdays is even better.

Also, don’t make it just about work either. During your workday, you’re not just talking about business all the time. So take the time to have a chat, a catch-up, some water-cooler conversation and then you can return to work feeling that little bit more mentally refreshed.

Check-In With Yourself

Mental health is a deeply personal and sensitive thing, so take time to ask “how are you?” to yourself to your colleagues – and listen for the answer.

If it’s “fine”, ask again and listen to the answer. Give people an opportunity to share if they’re struggling, and talk it through. No one person is an island, so if you need to talk to someone please do talk. And likewise, if someone you know needs to talk please listen. As the old phrase goes “a problem shared is a problem halved”. Just by being there and listening to someone else problems can really help them, the same can be said for you opening up and talking.

Lead by example and share how you’re feeling, so when someone asks you, be honest. If you’re struggling, say so.

Often, just the simple act of saying it out loud helps and helps others know they can be honest if they’re struggling too.

If you are really feeling low or struggling with feelings of isolation, there are people who can help. If that’s the case please call 111 or Samaritans on 116 123.

Your Employer Is Here To Help

Many employers offer Employee Assistance Programmes and wider benefits. Use these wherever you need – many have dedicated apps and websites and they aren’t just about counselling.

If you have ongoing health or mental health conditions, even if they aren’t disclosed, your employer has a duty to make reasonable adjustments. In this case, this could include home working, additional support from managers, or equipment. So if in doubt enquire about this.

Working From Home Can Be Great

Working from home is like marmite. Either you love it or you hate it. However, if you do work from home you should still be able to keep yourself in a good frame of mind. Your mental health is important and especially with all the stresses of current circumstances.

For more information regarding how to keep your mental health in check during this time please use the following resources:

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