04 Sep, 2020
Staying Mentally Safe While Working from Home
This informal CPD article on Staying Mentally Safe While Working from Home was provided by Talk Out, an organisation whose aim is to disrupt the way mental health is viewed and encourage businesses to take the mental health of their employees seriously.
At TalkOut we advocate for mental health at work and have helpful ways for managing wellbeing while working. When working from home in the current climate it is very tempting to take shortcuts in everyday life, for example, staying in your pyjamas while taking work calls. Although at this point the novelty may have worn off, the pjs may have stuck. However, taking steps to creating a healthy routine which you can stick to is a process of rewinding back a few months and going through the usual stages of getting ready. This may vary from person to person but the usual suspects such as brushing teeth, getting dressed and having breakfast are universal steps to get ready. Sticking to the basics can aid a healthy routine. Daily to do lists can also be a helpful device for keeping your workload, and day, focused. I don’t know about you but checking off items on my to do list at the end of the day always bolsters my sense of achievement which can be positive for your mental health.
Keeping a positive mindset
Keeping a positive mindset may seem difficult but it can do wonders for your wellbeing. We are all in this together in one way or another. Considering this, we can use this time with colleagues and loved ones to provide support for one another by talking out about how we are feeling. It can also be beneficial to remind yourself of what you have and give gratitude for it. There will be some things in your control and some that are not, knowing which is which and focusing on the things you can change are steps towards healthy wellbeing.
Being aware of your mental health and acknowledging it is always important and in the current climate reflecting on how you have felt during the day can help. By keeping track of your emotions and responses you may be able to identify your mental health triggers and learn what is best for you when they occur and maybe work out how to intercept them. As there are no colleagues in physical proximity to you to pick up on your behaviours and initiate a conversation, it is up to you to communicate your feelings. Whether you are dealing with loneliness, stress or anxiety acknowledging these emotions and having the confidence to talk out will be positive for others and for you.
Another positive thing you can do for your mental health is practicing self-care. Try being kinder to yourself, these are unprecedented times for everyone. You are not alone. When working, if you can, sit by a window so you have access to natural daylight. Sitting by a window also allows you to look outside and can change the focus of your attention when needed. Taking time away from screens can also give yourself time to recharge. When your phone’s on low battery you would stop using it and charge it, so why not be kinder to yourself and do the same? Give yourself the time you need to recharge.
At TalkOut we think incorporating mindfulness or meditation into your day can be a great way to relax and decompress. Even in the first few minutes of waking you can try to just lie in bed and notice your breath. If moments of stress pop up throughout the day it can be soothing to return your focus to breathing.
Grounding techniques can also be incorporated into your day if you are feeling overwhelmed. An example of this is to notice five things that you can see, feel, or hear and focus on them, this could be the feeling of your back on a chair, the feeling of your feet on the ground or the wind on your face. Remember, practicing mindfulness takes time so if you are not soothed immediately that is completely normal. It is the same type of process as exercising or learning an instrument, the more you do it the easier it can feel.
Services such as Teams, instant messaging and video calls are a great way to keep in contact with colleagues. Scheduling regular chats with them where you talk about things other than work helps maintain a healthy workplace culture. The same tech can be used to check in on family members and friends, and at this point even arrange socially distanced face to face chats. Moments such as these are key to finding enjoyment in uncertain times.
Remember to relax and recharge
We recommend, during work, that having short, regular breaks can help you to relax and recharge. In these short breaks, as well as in your time off, you can read, listen to music and go for walks. Combining exercise with relaxation can also ensure that you are taking care of your physical health at the same time as your mental health. Nutrition is another aspect of your health to consider, mindless snacking throughout the day can be curbed by being mindful and trying new healthy recipes to make for lunch. So, remember to breathe, look after and check in all aspects of your health and take advantage of having no cap on being outside.
We hope this article was helpful. For more information from Talk Out, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.