5 things to keep your mental health in check when WFH

A year ago, a large number of the population slowly moved their shared offices to the confines of their home, indefinitely – and a number of us are still ‘WFH’. Initially a novelty that only a small portion of the working class could do, now a realistic way forward. For a lot of people, we haven’t had a chance to properly set up… physically and mentally, for this shift in working environment.

We look at 5 ways to make this transition a little easier…

Set up a routine and have a structure for your workday

It’s important to create boundaries between ‘work time’ and ‘home time’. Get up with plenty of time to get yourself ready, get out of those pyjamas, have a coffee and clear your work area to be ready to start work at your normal time. Starting your day with a clear focus can sometimes be the hardest hurdle. It’s just as important to take scheduled breaks and finish at a normal time. Minimising the possibility of work intruding into your family time keeps a healthy work/life balance and having a set time can help you switch off from work at the end of the day.

Create a specific place in your home where you work

Avoid working in your bedroom if possible - studies show that working in the room that you sleep in, can interfere with your slumber as you can associate it with being alert, awake and switched on.

Try and get outside at least once a day

Studies show that being outdoors has significant health benefits, so we really should be doing this one whether or not we’re WFH. If you’re not stuck in self-isolation, try to get outside at least once a day and get your eye off a screen. Go for a walk, move your body and get some vitamin D. If you are in isolation, go out to your garden or go out onto your balcony and enjoy fresh air.

Staying connected with social supports

When you’re at work, everyday encounters with colleagues usually just spontaneously happen, however when working from home, we need to be proactive in scheduling them. Staying connected with others will help to reduce stress levels, help you feel less isolated, and help with productivity. It also helps you connect with your manager or employees and keep communication flowing.

Avoid overeating and eating unhealthily

Being at home makes it that much easier to devour a packet of Tim Tams in a day – first you go for one as a well-done-for-finishing-that-task-treat and then because no one is around to share them, you take another, and another, until there’s none left and it’s not even lunch time. The easiest way to avoid this situation is to plan. Before you do your groceries each week, it’s a wise idea to write yourself a meal plan, snacks included, and buy only what you need – rather than stock piling snack food just in case.

The main thing is to know that it is hard and you’re not the only one struggling, so cut yourself some slack. If you need any more tips, skills and strategies, consider asking a professional for help.

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