Wellness Tips for Remote Working
As we begin our thirteenth week of lockdown in the UK, for many of us, the question remains of when we might be able to physically return to our normal workplace. Whilst some restrictions are beginning to be lifted, remote working is proving to be a longer-term solution than perhaps anticipated. Step One has assembled some tips about how to look after our mental health whilst working from home, to help us to adapt to the new working “normal”.
More than ever, it’s important to be looking after our mental health, and the simplest way to do this is by addressing our physical needs. A healthy body is the foundation for a healthy mind. Spending so much time at home might deceive us into thinking we’re on holiday and treating ourselves accordingly, letting slip concern for our basic needs. However, lockdown should not be an excuse to stop eating well, sleeping sufficiently, and exercising often. Making sure that we are getting these three basic needs will fill us with the energy and motivation we need to work effectively from home. How about setting aside a time each day where you will take a walk and get some fresh air? What about planning your meals for the week in advance so that you aren’t tempted to resort to unhealthy eating habits?
Coronavirus may have significantly disrupted our everyday lives, but we can still be taking measures to help ourselves be less adversely affected by them. Although working from home gives us a lot of flexibility, it might not be helpful to take advantage of this by restructuring our lives. We are creatures of habit, and changes to our routine can disrupt both our physical and mental health. Mimicking the routine we are used to can stabilise us in a time of great uncertainty, and give us a bit of “normality” to hold onto. This should also include starting and ending work at the same time as you are used to. Don’t let your ‘house as a workplace’ replace your ‘house as your home’. Lack of structure can blur the line between working and relaxing, which is why it is more important than ever to distance yourself from your work emails, your desk and your paperwork after the end of your working day.
Since the Coronavirus outbreak, our possibilities for connecting with others have been significantly reduced by social distancing rules. Fortunately, technology has filled the void and allowed us to stay connected, and it’s important for our mental health that we make full use of this, both in terms of creating a wellbeing support network for ourselves, and also allowing ourselves to socialise as we are used to. This means not always resorting to impersonal methods of communication such as emails or texts (however useful these may sometimes be!) but making sure we are getting face-to-face contact time too. This could be using Zoom or Teams with colleagues for professional concerns… But how about also video calling in to a virtual coffee break, in keeping with your normal work structure, and maintaining the good working relationships that might help you stay motivated for your job.
Finally, we need to remember to cut ourselves some slack. Keeping things in perspective is essential for staying well during these unusual and unprecedented times. When we don’t manage to work as effectively or productively as we might be used to, it’s important to view this from an impersonal viewpoint and not beat ourselves up for what we don’t achieve. We are in the middle of a global pandemic; it is quite okay to not be on top form. Our first priority should always be our wellbeing. For more information and tips about being kind to yourself, you can read our blog post about self-compassion.
For further tips on staying well whilst remote working, you can refer to the following resources:
The Leaper’s little guide to: Working well from home under self-quarantine for Coronavirus: https://www.leapers.co/resources/little-guides/coronavirus-working-from-home
MHFA: Supporting your mental health while working from home: https://cdn.mentalhealthatwork.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/20113010/Supporting-your-mental-health-while-working-from-home-3.pdf