Looking after your mental health is incredibly important at any time in our lives, but it is even more important during our current situation. The Prime Minister has released advice that everyone must stay in their homes until Easter in an attempt to curb the spread of coronavirus. This means that the majority of those who are able to work from home will be doing so.
Working from home has many benefits including greater flexibility, fewer interruptions leading to greater productivity and improved employee retention. However, these usually apply when flexible working is combined with some office time.
Working from home indefinitely can put a strain on mental health as having limited interactions with others can become quite lonely, especially for those living alone. That’s why it is critical to look after our mental health as much as our physical during this time.
Here are three tips to help you look after your mental health while working from home:
Usually, when working from home, we may spend the majority of the day in solitude but then we can go out and interact with our friends and family on the evenings or weekends. With social distancing in place, there are more limited ways we can connect with others. Therefore, we have to find alternative ways for social interaction whilst in isolation.
The best way to do this is to have regular video catch ups with your team throughout the working day - keeping you connected to your colleagues and curbing any loneliness (or boredom) that may be felt. You can do the same with your family and friends once the working day is done.
In recent days, there have been lots of creative ideas on how to stay connected to colleagues, friends and family whilst in isolation. From pub quizzes to virtual house parties, people have been making sure to stay social whilst working from home.
Switch it off
Another key way to maintain your mental health whilst working from home is to make sure you log out and shut down at the end of the working day. Some people may be tempted to continue working as they are already at home, but this can lead to heightened stress and even burn out if you’re not giving yourself a break.
Make sure you work set hours that are agreed with your employer to enable you to create a balance between your work and your life.
Look after your physical health
Last, but by no means least, you need to look after your physical health as well. It’s a well-known fact that physical exercise releases endorphins, which in turn make us feel good. It’s important for our mental health that we continue to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst working from home.
It might be tempting to spend the majority of the day sitting on the sofa flipping between your work and Netflix, but this kind of behaviour can be a trigger for depression.
Make sure you take breaks throughout the day to stretch and move around as well as doing some form of exercise at least three times a week. Whether that is a morning yoga routine, a short run around the block or 10 minutes of skipping, getting your body moving and raising your heart rate will have a positive impact on your mental health.
The most important thing to remember whilst working from home is to be conscious of your own mental health. If you find that you are stressed, lack motivation or feel lonely during this time, there are plenty of resources available to you. Whether that is a supportive manager, an employee assistance programme offered by your employer or services provided by the NHS, there are plenty of support systems in place.
As the official job board of the CIPD, People Management Jobs is a trusted source of jobs and careers advice. If you would like help finding a job at this time, then please visit our Find a job page. We will be updating this blog with regular tips and updates, so stay tuned for further insight.
Start you job hunt