How to take care of your Mental Health and Wellbeing in Lockdown
Health, Wellbeing and Wellness, due to COVID-19 these are growing in prominence – and for good reason. The World Health Organisation (WHO) defines health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social wellbeing. Understanding your own health and wellbeing is important as it significantly correlates with your productivity, engagement and workplace performance.
Many of our client’s employees have relocated home and are trying to work. For some, working from home has seen great perks such as more freedom and increased flexibility. For others it has been difficult, and they are still facing the challenges to adjust. While we are excited and hopeful that the impacts to HR and businesses could see positive changes to long term workplace flexibility and working from home initiatives, we need to focus on the current circumstances. We have spoken with several employees over the recent weeks and thought to speak with our broader community about some easy measures you could put in place to look after your mental health and wellbeing during this time.
1. Set up your workstation
It’s important to have an office as your designated workspace and one that works for you and suits your working style. We understand not everyone has a separate office, and that’s okay. Look for a location where you can set up your workstation in a clutter-free space. Anne Koopmann from Lead Like You has set up her “office” on a desk next to her bed. One of our own HR Support team members Alice has set up on her kitchen table. Having a designated space will support your mind in differentiating work time from personal time and help you to relax during your personal time so you can be as productive as possible. By having a designated workspace you’ll also limit distractions throughout the day.
2. Set reminders to get some air.
There’s nothing quite like heading outside and getting some fresh air to help you feel refreshed and reenergised. Take simple steps to add more outdoor time to your routine. Set reminders in your phone to get up and stretch, or simply get more water. Start your day with your morning coffee outside or going for a walk. You will feel better when you remember to move your body.
3. Find your work from home outfit.
Clothing can set the mood of the day and boost your confidence and productivity. We know working from home in your Pyjamas or as some friends have shared with us “pantless” is comfortable, but it is not conducive to your working environment. It has been shown that having a routine to get yourself ready for the day helps stimulate your brain and triggers it into your “work mode”. Now, we aren’t saying to wear suit or your ordinary work clothes every day, but we encourage you to wear clothing that you have classified as your work from home outfits. You are still allowed to wear slippers, but Pyjamas are for sleeping in not working in. Trust us when we say it will improve your productivity and effectiveness throughout your workday.
4. Stick to your routine and structure
The Black Dog Institute and Dr Jill Newby – Associate Professor of Psychology at UNSW recommends setting up a routine and structure with clear boundaries for “work time” and “home time”. Try starting your day at your regular work time, don’t sleep until 10am. We love commencing our day with a daily to-do-list, this helps to keep us on track and focused.
Make sure to have scheduled breaks so you can feel your best throughout the day. At the end of your workday switch off all of your work notifications and shut your office door for the day. This will help your brain switch off from work and have some much-needed rest or home time. Without quality rest and a break from work you won’t be able to be as effective the next day.
If you are living with family members or housemates, make sure you tell them your daily routine and schedule. If your workspace is in an open living area – such as the dining table, wear noise cancelling headphones or block out an hour or two per day where you request your roommates not be in that space.
OUR TIP: We love the book “Work Smarter: Live Better” by Cyril Peupion and recommend for those of you with teams to look into implementing speak to reviews times – this will support your routine and minimise distractions.
5. Have regular communication with your colleagues and network
Working from home during lockdown can be lonely (or frustrating if you’ve got a full household working from home too). It’s important for our mental health and wellbeing to stay connected regularly to our team and network. Schedule in regular video calls and phone calls to connect with your team for ‘water cooler chats’ or to discuss your work (just because we can email about what we’re working on doesn’t mean we always should). Reach out to the people around you for support and a chat if you’re struggling with being at home.
Working from home can be a huge adjustment at the best of times and it can take a while to find your rhythm. Keep working on finding your flow and be patient with yourself during this time. The COVID-19 crisis has definitely caused some big changes and it’s okay to not feel productive all of the time. Do your best in creating a routine that works for you and find ways to have fun.
Don’t forget to download our Remote Working Pack complete with the Agreements you need to protect your business!
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