I’m the first to admit that I’m not a natural home worker. A day or two here and there is fine for me, but prolonged periods of time like the ones we’re being asked to observe at the moment is a struggle for both myself and many others. And whilst lots has been written about how to be productive working from home, I thought I’d share my experience of what helps me maintain a healthy mind and body.
Get out into nature
As with any other animals, humans tend to thrive in large open spaces, so being boxed into the same four walls every day can start to take its toll.
After a week of working from home, I recently I went for a hike in the peak district and instantly felt like a weight had been lifted from my shoulders. And whilst recent government restrictions mean that this may not be possible moving forward, I’m still going to look at getting out where I can. Whether it being a walk through the local park, having breakfast in the garden or simply opening the window and having a good stare at the birds outside.
Use your face to touch base
The more someone is on their own, the more it changes their personality. Working from home for prolonged periods can lead to feelings of isolation. Making sure you maintain interactions with friends, as well as colleagues during the day, is really important.
Before you pick up the phone, consider giving them a video call instead. Renowned psychologist at the University of Oxford, Robin Dustman, suggests that face to face interactions are better for your wellbeing as you talk longer, laugh more and feel better after, compared to just a phone call or text message. And whilst face to face might not be possible now, amazingly these results extend into interactions done over video calls!
Try to keep active and eat healthy
There is a wealth of studies that demonstrate a clear link between maintaining an active lifestyle and mental health. With gym’s closed and access to outdoor spaces restricted, many are turning to fitness apps and YouTube for their classes.
Joe Wicks recently launched his 9am homework out live streams and the Yoga with Adriene YouTube channel recently tripled it’s daily views to 1.5million! With such a range of activities and workouts, there’s plenty of things to try, all from the relaxing environment of your own home.
The other key to physical wellbeing is diet. Maintaining a healthy diet with a good mix of fruit, veg and grains should keep you full and topped up with the vitamins and minerals that help you stay fit and healthy. I appreciate this can be easier said than done. In writing this, I’ve demolished a pack of chocolate biscuits.
Make plans for the evening
When working from home, I often find the line between work and home becomes blurred, meaning I often spend time working extra hours without taking much downtime.
One way to get around this is to have things planned in for the evening. And whilst options are limited for what you can do at present (wave goodbye to that gym) it doesn’t mean you have to simply park yourself in front of Netflix. Arrange a video call with your friend, set out to cook a specific meal or just box off some time to catch up with your favourite book. By making these plans, you’ll force yourself to down tools at a set time, avoiding working into the wee hours.
Recreate your commute
No need to literally stand for 30 minutes holding your shower rail, but using the time. No one likes their commute, but it does serve a purpose beyond simply getting you to and from the office. It acts as a mental transition between work and home life.
Making time for a quick walk around the block before and after work, meditating or a short blast of exercise will all help you make that switch so you can be more present in your evenings.
Remember you’re not in this on your own
At a time like this, it’s natural to feel anxious and worried, and if you already suffer from a mental health condition, you may find this further amplifies things. Just remember that no one is an island and we are all in this together. The mental health charity Mind are on hand to help deal with some of the anxieties you may be experiencing and have lot’s of resources and tips to pull from.
Turn off, tune out, drop in
It sounds simple, but turning off devices you don’t need and getting away from news sources benefits you in many ways. It stops you from getting distracted but also supplies a welcome break from some of the doom and gloom happening around us.
I’m not suggesting that you turn off completely. But glueing yourself to a news website is only going to lead to your anxiety. Set some time aside once a day to get the latest updates, so you don’t feel overwhelmed by information.
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