Many of us are into week four or five of working from home. The novelty has worn off and thoughts are turning to the preservation of mental health.
People can be feeling lonely, disconnected from their friends and family, struggling to stay motivated or unable to switch off from work. A number of people we have spoken to have mentioned struggling to sleep and generally feeling panicked.
To help preserve your well-being there are a few things you could do to try and help yourself and those around you:
Set up your day
Create some strong routines for yourself (and your team). Create regular start and finish times and ensure you have regular breaks (with some fresh air).
It is important to create boundaries between home and work (now they are intertwined). A few people have mentioned they are creating cues, such as changing into more casual clothes at the end of the working day.
Studies show that working from home can impact your quality of sleep. Those who struggle to switch off from work, can be especially effected. Try to avoid setting up your work space in your bedroom. Associating it with work will keep you awake and the brain switched on when it needs to rest.
Stay in touch with your team
We need to be proactive when staying in touch with your colleagues. Maintaining your positive relationships will help reduce anxiety, feelings of isolation and being productive. At Konnexus we connect on Microsoft Teams twice daily (9am and 4pm). We chat about what we’ve been focusing on and whatever is on our minds (family, weather, pets, news and kids).
Try and put your phone down when you’ve finished work. Technology is making it so much easier to stay in touch across the globe. But the negative side is that it makes it hard to disconnect and focus on things outside work. Put the technology to one side at a fixed time and focus on your family or do fun things for yourself.
Think of the positive side
Whilst it is difficult to see all the silver linings, there are a few benefits to working from home. No commute, less stress, increased productivity (for some) and you even get to escape the most challenging people in the office!
For further reading, here are some tips for looking after your mental health during this time from Beyond Blue:
Media coverage: find a healthy balance and limit news and social media if you and your family find it too distressing.
Sources of information: access credible information from government and health authorities (i.e. Victorian Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Australian Government and World Health Organisation (WHO)).
Maintain perspective: remember that experts around the world are working hard to help. Also, while Coronavirus can affect anyone, those with the disease haven’t done anything wrong so don’t make assumptions.
Stay calm and be practical: follow advice from credible sources (see above), and resist the urge to panic, as this makes it harder for authorities to manage the outbreak effectively.
Stay connected and/or seek support: keep in touch with your family, friends, colleagues or professional support services by phone, video call, social media or email.
Stick to a routine: aim to get plenty of sleep, maintain physical activity, eat healthy foods and allocate specific work hours and breaks. Stay curious about your new experience and how you can use it develop healthy habits.