Tips - mental health while working from home
By: Barbara Mahon
Updated: 16 March 2020
For some of us, working from home is second nature, but for others, it will be an entirely new concept. Here are some tips to help make the transition:
Agree on clear objectives with your supervisor
Before starting to work from home, ask your supervisor what exactly is expected of you. Agree on the projects to be completed and define reasonable deadlines. Ensure that the objectives set are “SMART”: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Timebound. Inform them of your home situation. For example, if you have children at home, it may not always be possible to adhere to normal working hours. Explore whether your employer would agree to you working at other times, or look at ways of reducing your usual workload in order to accommodate childcare.
Create a comfortable workspace
Working propped up in bed or on a sofa might seem like a good idea, but it doesn’t make for the most productive environment. Figure out a way of setting up designated desk space for yourself. Get creative. You might repurpose a dressing table for example, or move a table and chair from one room to another. Bonus points if you can set up close to natural light. Make it a beautiful space by adding good lighting, some flowers and candles. By elevating your laptop (easy solution is a pile of books) and getting a wireless keyboard and mouse, you’ll ensure better posture while working. If your workspace is in your living space, make sure to tidy everything away at the end of the day, so it is out of sight. This way you won’t be reminded of work during your time off, and it will be easier to relax.
Act like it’s a regular workday
The best way to let your brain know that you’re in work mode is to get showered and dressed. Avoid staying in nightwear all day. If you have kids at home, the same rule applies. Have meals at regular times and take breaks, as you need them. Make your break times fun and active by writing down tasks that take 5-10mins to complete on post-its . Fold each one and place them in a cup. When you feel you need a break (aim for 5 minutes every hour), pick a task out of the cup and do it. The kids can do this too when working on their homework sheets. Another way of taking a quick break is to make a tea or coffee or enjoy a soft drink, just like you’d do if you were at the office.
Maintain contact with your colleagues
Having a sense of community and belonging is paramount to good mental health and well-being. Staying in touch by video call and by phone with your colleagues will lessen the sense of isolation while at home. When sending emails, resist the temptation to send one after another as questions arise. Being confronted with an avalanche of emails only serves to increase anxiety levels for both you and your colleagues. Instead, take the time to lessen the time-consuming email ping-pong by formulating one email with all of your questions. Or, better still, pick up the phone and have a chat.
Take time to relax and take care of yourself
At the end of your working day, review the work you have completed (keeping a list and ticking off each task as it is completed is very satisfying for the brain and adds to a sense of achievement) and congratulate yourself for what you have done. Try to take time to get out in the fresh air to signal to yourself that the working day is over and to transition to relaxation mode. Spend some time doing things you enjoy and perhaps don’t usually have the time to do (not having to commute could free up an hour or more of your day), such as reading, being creative or learning a new skill online.
Above all, remember to be gentle to yourself and to others around you. In these uncertain times, feeling anxious can be expected, but support is available if you need it. MyMind provides online therapy sessions. Check out our website and find a therapist to talk to from the comfort of your own home: www.mymind.org
By: Barbara Mahon, Psychotherapist
MENTAL HEALTH PROFESSIONALS WORKING WITH Work Issues, Work/Life balance ISSUES:
Approach: Dialectical Behavioural Therapy (DBT) , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Gestalt Therapy , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy
Works with: Children & Adolescents , Individual Session
Specialities: Self-Esteem , Relationship issues , Depression , Anxiety , Addiction , Trauma , Work Issues, Work/Life balance
Next avaialble appointment: 20:00 01 July 2022
Approach: Person-Centred Therapy , Humanistic & Integrative Psychotherapy , Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) , Solution-Focused Brief Therapy , Creative Art Therapy , Mindfulness
Works with: Individual Session , Children & Adolescents
Specialities: Work Issues, Work/Life balance , Stress , Sexuality (LGBT) , Self-Esteem , Anxiety , Bereavement / Loss , Depression , Isolation / Loneliness , Personal Development , Trauma , Relationship issues
Next avaialble appointment: 12:00 06 July 2022
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