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Remote wellbeing - maintaining good mental health at home

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Publication date:

23 March 2020

Last updated:

31 March 2020

Author(s):

James Moorhouse

Ways to maintain good wellbeing while self-isolating.

As many of us will be entering another week of working from home due to COVID-19, this will no doubt present a new set of pressures and stress to an already difficult situation. While working from the comfort of your own home might sound appealing at first, there are all sorts of unique challenges and distractions that will reveal themselves quickly.

Not everyone has the luxury of a home office or even a desk. Some of us will be working off the kitchen table. Some on the sofa. Some probably from their bed due to lack of space. As well as confinement issues there will be some house-sharing with several people fighting for space and bandwidth. Or parents trying to co-ordinate looking after their children alongside their working day.

Self-isolating may also cause a feeling of disconnect. Those who live alone or are less mobile generally may feel even more trapped indoors. This is why it’s just as important to maintain good mental health and wellbeing at home as it is when we’re in the office. Managers and employees should be making a conscious effort to check on the emotional state of their staff and colleagues, as well as keeping themselves motivated too.

There are many different methods that people use to look after themselves and each other. Bearing that in mind, here are some suggestions to help maintain positive wellbeing and interactions:

  • Restructure your day: Working remotely can provide you with a unique opportunity to do things your way. Many firms already have remote and flexible working practices that should still apply now. The days of strict 9-5 hours are already dwindling so why not pick hours and a schedule that suits you.
  • Take regular breaks: Being stuck surrounded by the same 4 walls will get boring, so try to find ways to break up the monotony. It’s advised to take a 2 minute break from a computer screen each hour when you’re in the office. Being at home is no exception. Whether it’s a tea break, a look out the window or walking into another room, make sure you’re not sitting in one position for too long so that you don’t get cramp or seize up.
  • Get some exercise: Sitting indoors all day will cause your body to stiffen and seize up. Many gyms and personal trainers are offering free routines or video tutorials of workouts that can be done at home.
  • Get some fresh air: If you are not displaying any symptoms, try to get outside at least once a day for some fresh air and sunshine. So while non-essential travel is not advised, a walk outside is still possible as long as it is not done in groups and kept the recommended 2 metres distance apart.
  • Eat right: Food shopping is difficult currently due to many shoppers stockpiling and leaving supermarket aisles bare. While options may be limited, try to maintain a healthy balanced diet where possible. 
  • Check in: Schedule regular (daily if possible) ‘stand-ups’ with your team and colleagues. If you have video capabilities, turn them ‘on’ to keep conversations as personable as possible. Don’t forget to include people in what’s going on and to reach out to people you don't necessarily talk to all the time. 
  • Laugh: This might seem like a strange suggestion, but laughter really can be the best medicine. Whether it’s sharing a funny meme, watching silly videos on YouTube or having a non-work related conversation about something humorous, try to find ways to lighten the mood.

 

This document is believed to be accurate but is not intended as a basis of knowledge upon which advice can be given. Neither the author (personal or corporate), the CII group, local institute or Society, or any of the officers or employees of those organisations accept any responsibility for any loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from action as a result of the data or opinions included in this material. Opinions expressed are those of the author or authors and not necessarily those of the CII group, local institutes, or Societies.

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