Lockdown tips: mental health and remote working
WFH (working from home) wellbeing
WFH felt like a novelty at first. Want to watch an episode of Game of Thrones on your lunch break? Be our guest! Can’t muster up the energy to leave your warm bed? Bring the office to your bedroom! Don’t feel like donning a suit? Perfect! Leggings and lounge attire it is! However, the break from working tradition might have worn thin by now, leaving some hankering for an active commute or more social interaction. So, what can you do to optimise your WFH wellbeing and achieve balance during lockdown?
Stick to a routine
Following a structured daily routine is the most important pillar of a healthy WFH setup. Decide your working hours and avoid deviating too much from them. Since you don’t have to contend with early starts and long commutes, you may choose to exercise in the hour before starting your day. Make an effort to have lunch at the same time, too. You may want to meditate, call a friend, or head out for a walk on your lunch break. We suggest taking a full hour for lunch to fully decompress.
Establish healthy WFH boundaries
So much for ‘working from home’ – many of us are now ‘living from work’! And this has meant the line between work and play is more blurred than ever. Try implementing healthy boundaries to leave work, well, at work.
If you’re afforded the space, avoid working in your bedroom. This will help to distinguish between work time and downtime.
At the end of the working day, switch off your computer, tidy away your papers, mute alerts and refrain from answering work emails.
Consider doing an activity that signals the end of the working day – workout, make a cup of tea, or call a loved one.
Put down your phone
Although our phones are a means of staying connected, they can also be a source of great distraction – not to mention anxiety – at the moment. Consider leaving your phone on airplane mode and in a different room while you work.
Take a break
Ensuring you take regular breaks is the secret weapon of WFH success. You may want to try the Pomodoro Technique, which is purported to help with productivity and focus. Work solidly on a task for 25 minutes, then take a five minute break. Use this opportunity to stand up and leave your desk. Once you’ve completed four blocks, you get to indulge in a 20 minute break.
Make the best of the physical space you have
Lockdown has ushered in a new way of living, working, and occupying time. What is universally true is that we’re all spending more time in our homes. And not everyone has the privilege to stretch out in gardens, private offices and home gyms. Many of us are working on crowded dining tables, from our bedrooms and generally, stepping on each other’s toes (perhaps even literally).
Try to plan your day with other members of your household, sharing or alternating different spaces in your house
De-clutter and build more storage to make way for workstations
Make use of dead space, such as landings, for desks and conference calls
Be respectful of other people’s needs
Learn to be patient!
Reconnect with nature
We can’t neglect our relationship with Mother Nature, either. And we’ve got to hand it to her: she’s provided us with the consistency and certainty we’ve all needed throughout this tumultuous period. Connecting with nature makes us feel grounded and balanced. Try to capitalise on your exercise allowance each day and head to green space, even if it means merely staring at a tree or listening to the birds sing.
Navigating home-schooling and childcare
Parents have once again been passed the home-schooling baton. If navigating life during a pandemic wasn’t challenging enough, the additional burden of childcare, extra domestic duties and home-schooling – especially if you’re also WFH – has created a perfect storm for overwhelm and stress. Remind yourself that this won’t last forever; schools will reopen and life will resume. In the meantime, however, here are some pointers to help home-schooling run as smoothly as it can.
Find a routine that caters to you
There’s no one-size-fits-all way to home-school your children. Ultimately, you need to find a schedule that works for you and your family. It might be that you have less time in the morning due to meetings, but are more available after lunch to support learning. If you have a partner, try to find a routine that caters to both of your needs, dividing up the share of home-schooling in a fair and manageable way.
Set up a home-schooling ‘station’
School is bound by routine: uniforms, bells, specific books, regimented timings. Setting up a home-schooling ‘station’ is one way to signal to your children that it’s the start of the school day. If you don’t have the luxury of space, find something that will clearly indicate the table, kitchen counter, or any other work surface is now being occupied for schoolwork, such as a tablecloth, bed sheet, or sign. Try to make this environment as distraction-free as possible.
Don’t try to be Super Mum/Dad
Be gentle with yourself at this time. Lower your standards. Do what you can with home-schooling and try not to worry; schools aren’t expecting parents or guardians to turn into teachers overnight. If your children don’t do a full working day, don’t sweat it. Be kind to yourself and just focus on tomorrow.
TV shows, YouTube videos, podcasts, radio programmes, digital audiobooks, interactive games, colouring books, walks in nature, online PE classes, downloadable apps, free online music classes – these are just some of the resources you can turn to entertain and educate your children.
Hachette.co.uk. 2021. How to stay calm in a global pandemic. Available online: https://www.hachette.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/How-to-Stay-Calm-in-a-Global-Pandemic-Free-ebook.pdf
Disclaimer: The information presented by Nature's Best is for informational purposes only. It is based on scientific studies (human, animal, or in vitro), clinical experience, or traditional usage as cited in each article. The results reported may not necessarily occur in all individuals. Self-treatment is not recommended for life-threatening conditions that require medical treatment under a doctor's care. For many of the conditions discussed, treatment with prescription or over the counter medication is also available. Consult your doctor, practitioner, and/or pharmacist for any health problem and before using any supplements or before making any changes in prescribed medications.
Christine Morgan has been a freelance health and wellbeing journalist for almost 20 years, having written for numerous publications including the Daily Mirror, S Magazine, Top Sante, Healthy, Woman & Home, Zest, Allergy, Healthy Times and Pregnancy & Birth; she has also edited several titles such as Women’ Health, Shine’s Real Health & Beauty and All About Health.