Working from home and looking after your mental health
Working from home for long periods of time can initially feel exciting but it is well known that this excitement can wear off quickly.
It is important to consider how working from home could have an impact on your mental health and wellbeing where anxiety and low moods could result if working from home is not managed well.
It is important to develop a plan and reflect on how best working from home is going to work for you. Here are a few tips for you to consider doing to help get the best from yourself while working at home and reduce any negative impacts to your mental health during this time:
Are you set up and ready to work from home?
- Make sure you are prepared for working from home.
- Test your broadband speed - most people will be relying on broadband to continue carrying out their work
Test your broadband speed here to check your service capability:
Use an ethernet cable where possible for a more consistent service as WIFI can fluctuate.
- Ensure you have the correct accessories needed to work from home e.g. headsets that are compatible with your home device
- Ensure you have a private space where you can focus on your work and not be disturbed
Develop a balanced routine:
- Take the time to consider and develop a balanced and realistic routine. Do not wait until 1 week in and then decide as this will be harder to develop and implement.
- It is important to be realistic and adaptable with yourself. It will be difficult to maintain the same standards to what you normally do when you have more access to things outside of the home, but it is important to try as much as possible to continue to keep the activities you normally engage in with modifications happening (for example, adapting your exercise routine using you - tube videos as opposed to not doing anything at all during this time).
- Wake up and go to bed at set and reasonable hours-it may feel too easy to stay up late when not having to leave the house the next day for work but a poor sleep routine may lead to negative impacts on your concentration, work performance and your mental health.
- Maintain a disciplined schedule and approach - consider boundaries with work vs personal life. Usually going to our workplace creates this boundary for us, you now must actively create it.
- Keep to your daily standard work hours routine including taking a lunch break and normal drinks breaks as you would in the office.
- Make sure after working hours you are including creative, fun and connecting activities in your day.
Look after self-care and keep active:
- Maintain getting regular exercise daily - be creative and consider using you-tube exercise videos to work out at home.
- Keep to a reasonable and set sleep pattern - have set wake up and bedtimes - it is very important that you maintain a healthy sleep pattern as this plays a large role in maintaining good mental health.
- Maintain a healthy diet - It is not uncommon that when our routine changes so can our appetite and if you are less active than you usually are, appetite can change too. Eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels - be careful not to rely on snacking too much on sugary food as this can cause a crash in our mood.
Connect, connect, connect:
- Make sure you schedule to have daily team catch up calls with colleagues and attend any other catch up calls with your line manager as necessary - this will help keep you connected and remain part of a team.
- In addition, buddy up with a colleague and keep in regular contact and just chat about how you are getting on and how you are feeling to minimise the feeling of social isolation - attempt to change this buddy weekly so you are engaging with many people.
- Use your phone/video to communicate, don’t just use emails/social media - talk to and see people as this will give a greater connection.
- Be aware, there is a greater need to communicate with colleagues when working from home - humans need connection!
- Where it is possible, create a discrete workspace where you go to work and come away from afterwards. Keep it clean & tidy and avoid distractions.
- Set your stop time - maintain your personal time schedule when working at home – i.e. separate your work and personal time (it is easy to let work drift well into your personal time, try to limit this by being strict with your switch off time)
- Physically switch from home to work mode by being dressed for work time
- Explain to any others who share your living space with that you are working between certain hours to avoid them distracting you - this could make you more stressed if you don’t set up and manage this boundary well
If you notice your mental health deteriorating while working from home:
When working from home it takes time to adjust and it may be expected that people will find this more difficult that imagined. Your mental health and wellbeing are of utmost importance during this time. If your mental health begins to deteriorate, feeling lower in mood or anxious remember there is a lot of support out there and it is important to reach out and communicate
- Ensure you are raising any concerns or issues with your line manager as you normal would
- You may want to talk to someone confidentially. If your company has an EAP service, it would be recommended to use this service which will have a completely free and confidential telephone service there to support you.
How can we help support you during COVID-19:
If you are struggling with your mental health and are starting to feel anxious or down due to the financial hardship and worries you are currently having or may have arising. Below is a list of services we have that will be able to support you:
- Remote therapy - we can offer one-to-one therapy delivered through Skype, FaceTime or via telephone.
- Online CBT programme - iCBT - Access an online portal which will allow you to work through your problems whenever suits you.
Please do not hesitate to contact us on 0203 795 8718 if you want to discuss any of these options in more detail.