6 Ways to Manage Your Mental Health While Working Remotely
Searches on “Work from Home” and “Remote Working” have spiked in the past few weeks because of the advice to stay at home during this global pandemic. Did you know that over 8 million people in the UK alone are currently working from home? Sounds crazy, right?! But there are millions more across the globe who are suddenly faced with this situation.
It may seem great at first, not having to commute every morning as you can just switch on your laptop and there you are at work; not having to figure out what you are going to wear the next day as you can just stay in your PJs; eating a week’s worth of food in one sitting (I do not advise this in any way). But after some time, the novelty of working from home wears off and we begin to miss the office banter and the social benefits of the workplace.
How do we keep you sane whilst working from home? Here are some tips that have worked for me!
1. Calmness is key.
It can be very lonely for some but it doesn’t have to be. Switch on your favourite playlist, create white noise, or even play a mindless movie in the background. Create a warm comforting environment and build your own ‘happy place’.
2. Stay away from your bed.
Although it can be easier to just work from your bed, having a separate workspace will help a tonne. Your bed should be a place of calm, not a place where you are dealing with work stress. Try and create some space between the area where you are working and the places where you do everything else. Yes, even if it does feel silly to be on two different sides of the room.
3. Get ready for the day.
Create a daily routine just as you would if you were heading into the office. Get up and get ready to “go to work”. Staying in your PJs all day will make you less productive and it’s also nice to look forward to getting into your PJs and slippers as soon as you’ve finished working.
4. Stay connected with your friends and teammates.
Social distancing doesn’t mean we have to distance ourselves completely. In this digital age, there are so many ways to keep in touch without having to actually meet up. You can always use your phone and call your friends, but there are also online apps you can download that are great for interaction. Some tech I use are:
- Houseparty (love this one, you can play different games with your friends virtually)
- Facetime (you can speak to up to 32 of your friends at the same time)
- Zoom (there is an unlimited amount of friends you can speak to at the same time, but a 40min time limit for the free version)
- WhatsApp (create a group, my teammates and I have a WhatsApp group where we are keeping in touch during this unprecedented time)
5. Exercise your body and your mind.
This doesn’t have to mean lifting weights and doing a full-on workout if that’s not your cup of tea. Try something new like yoga or meditation. There are some great apps or videos out there that are offering free at-home sessions. If you are able to, get some outdoor exercise and get out of the house for a long walk, a run, or a bike ride. Enjoy that sunlight and fresh air! Times like this can be distressing and exercise can be beneficial for both your physical and mental health, so don’t skip this tip! (Just remember to be responsible and follow your local government’s rules on social distancing or quarantine.)
6. The last and most important tip: Be kind to yourself.
During this time there are a lot of things going on in our world. Things we never thought would happen in our lifetime. It’s ok to not always be productive. Take that break, rest, pick up a book, or binge-watch your favourite show after a day’s work. You deserve it. Our mental health can be challenged during this time and if you need any help there are many organisations out there. It’s nothing to be ashamed of, ask for help if you need it.
About the Author
Nikita Anand is a Windows 10 Specialist working at the CIO office in IBM UK.