After forcing millions upon millions of people around the world to self-isolate at home, the coronavirus pandemic has continued to change the world as we know it.
Within the workplace particularly, more and more companies are now adapting towards a remote working approach to ensure their staff adhere to the government’s social distancing guidelines at all times.
However, while many of us may love our newfound freedom to work more flexibly at home, some people won’t feel the same, and will, instead, crave the inner office working environment they were used to before the pandemic struck.
Over time, any feelings of disdain towards remote working will fester, leading to intense feelings of anxiety, loneliness and depressive episodes. This, in turn, can quickly become detrimental to not only the working output of employees but to their mental health as well
Having business-based procedures in place to combat this eventuality is one thing but, if you’re keen to keep your mental health in check yourself, it’s important to ask: what, if anything, can I do as well? And how can I safeguard my wellbeing while transitioning towards a remote working model?
Whether it be booking a much-needed holiday to reflect on your mental health or simply making more effort to escape the house when you can, there are a number of things to think about when maintaining your mental health at home.
“It’s been proven over many years now that being away from regular life and any bad influences and pressures is hugely beneficial for anyone seeking a swift, strong and enduring recovery. Being in as relaxed a mental and emotional state as possible is extremely advantageous” – Tikvah Lake Florida
This article will look to highlight four of these key methods, helping you keep a positive outlook throughout the pandemic and beyond.
First things first, it’s important to think about the change you’re having to go through.
After all, transitioning from an office setting to an at-home environment is a big change for anyone to cope with. If you’ve got children, dogs or an annoying housemate at home, for example, they are each going to represent a fresh distraction that you won’t have been used to dealing with before.
Therefore, it’s important to realign what is realistic to expect from yourself. Don’t over-promise or expect to work at the same level you were at before – give yourself time to settle into your new working dynamic and only ever set realistic targets. Otherwise, you could end up only letting both yourself and your colleagues down as a result.
Whether you agree with it or not, research proves that – from a mental perspective – having a subconscious divide between the area you work in and the area you live in is very important.
While it may be true that you technically ‘live’ in the entirety of your home, you should try and avoid working in any areas that you typically associate with comfort or rest, like your bedroom or living room.
The reason for this is because your sleep could significantly suffer as a result. By working in your bedroom, for instance, your brain will make a subconscious connection between there and work, making it a lot more difficult for you to relax when it comes to trying to sleep.
While on the topic of separating work and play, it’s important to also avoid working into the early hours before you nod off if you can help it.
Using your phone or laptop at a time you should be getting some rest will only harm your eyes, and the bright lights emitting from each screen will significantly affect the amount of melatonin your brain produces.
Melatonin is a key hormone in maintaining sleep regulation. Therefore, should its production be inhibited as a result of using screens, you will effectively trick your brain into thinking its daylight outside, again affecting the quality of the night’s sleep you’ll be able to get.
As research proves, this lack of sleep, in turn, could then result in an increased likelihood of developing anxious thoughts, leaving both your working productivity levels and social life to suffer as a result.
Being stuck inside working all day is no fun for anyone so you must make the most of your free time whenever you have it.
Staying active, fit and healthy are all incredibly effective ways of keeping your mental health under control, due to the release of endorphins it provides you. These chemicals then help you feel happier and more energised as a result, substantially improving your mood and outlook on life.
Whether it be a short dog walk at lunchtime, a quick run after your work’s finished, or a big bike ride on your weekend off, there are a number of great ways to keep your heart ticking over and, most importantly, avoid falling into any kind of reclusive rut while working from home.
Keeping on top of your mental health is imperative any time of the year but, during a global pandemic, it’s arguably more important than ever.
Now, thanks to COVID-19, there is not only keeping healthy to worry about, but there are also all the huge uncertainties surrounding how our economic climate is going to recover, what the new normal is likely to be, and when things are likely to get better.
As difficult as it may be, try not to let these concerns get on top of you.
While they’re all obviously very important to keep a watchful eye out for, maintaining your mental health will arguably put you in the best position to get through the pandemic unscathed, maintaining as positive an outlook as possible throughout these trying times.
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