Tips To Prioritize Your Mental Health When Working From Home
The Coronavirus pandemic means those of us who can work remotely are doing so and, beyond that, many more are practicing physical distancing. With so much time spent indoors, it’s easy to feel disconnected, or isolated from others. However, there are a number of steps you could (and should) take to ensure you’re keeping on top of your mental wellbeing.
Set yourself clear boundaries
When you’re working in such close proximity to where you sleep and relax, it becomes harder to differentiate where you work and where you unwind. Set up a dedicated work station and try to stick to a routine, making sure you get dressed and start and finish work at the same time every day. We recently talked about the impact of sleep, and the role it plays in helping build immunity. Setting these boundaries forms a part of that too. Don’t work from your bed and give yourself clear times for when screens turn off.
With or without the current pandemic, loneliness is lethal. In fact, studies have shown that loneliness, living alone, and poor social connections are as bad for your health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day (Holt-Lunstad). As a result, it’s important to stay connected with friends, family and colleagues beyond Slack, email and written communication. Suggest a Google Hangouts check-in with the team, or carve out some time to call a friend on your lunch break.
Leave the house (if you’re able to)
The advice obviously stands to avoid social contact and stay at home for the foreseeable future but, especially for those who live near a park or have a garden, 10 minutes of fresh air can do wonders for clearing your mind. Even when you’re in the house, take steps to bring the outside world in. Open the windows, curtains and download some natural soundscapes to listen to while working.
Avoid the news (as much as you can) during the day
The situation is developing daily, which makes it even easier to get distracted and lose yourself in endless news stories. While it’s good to be informed, use the breaks you take throughout the day (of which there should be many!) to focus on something else, and check in with the news when you feel you really need to.
Feed your brain as much as your body
Maintaining a proper balance of vitamins and nutrients is as beneficial to your brain as it is your body. Breakfast is an essential way to kick that off. Bananas are known as a ‘mood boosting’ food, and contain high amounts of B6 vitamins, and avocado is rich in omega-3 and tryptophan, a forerunner to serotonin. Similarly, avoid too much caffeine throughout the day as it can deplete vitamin D3, as well as refined sugars as they can affect your immune system.