Working from home can put a strain on our mental health, and having so few real interactions can make us feel lonely. It’s critical during these times for everyone to look after their physical and mental health.
While you get used to waking up past your usual working hours, consider these 6 tips to maintain a healthy balance:
1 - Create ‘work triggers’ for your brain
When you work in an office, the daily routine of getting ready and commuting helps your brain get ready for the day. Since you’re working at home, you can create similar signals or ‘triggers’ to start the day so you feel prepared to start work: like exercising, reading the news, or making a coffee. Showering and getting dressed for example will psychologically ready your state of mind.
A workspace may also be key. A separate room, a fully stocked desk, or just a clean part of your kitchen table, a designated workspace can help you feel ready to be productive, and without distraction.
2 - Take breaks
It’s important, especially when working from home, to take regular breaks. Doing so can boost productivity and reduce burnout.
Try taking a short walk, doing a quick exercise video, doing a breathing exercise or other simple activities that make you feel restored.
3 - Make a schedule and stay motivated with a list
A to-do list (written or typed out instead of just having it in your head) is ideal for keeping organised and motivated. It's important to stay as productive as possible while you work away from the office, so keep in mind long-term goals, like finishing a project, as well completing the smaller tasks that lead to that big goal.
Checking off smaller goals will show your progress and give you positive reinforcement throughout the day.
Non-work activities also need to be scheduled. Take into account your other commitments, and find a routine that lets you take care of those as well. Physical exercise is an important one, and the release of endorphins make us feel good. It’s important for our mental health that we continue to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle whilst working from home.
4 - Create a process for collaboration
Working from home might be perceived as working alone, but usually interactions with others continue, whether it’s a virtual team meeting, receiving assignments, making decisions, or giving feedback, so it’s important to set up methods for collaboration while you work remotely.
If possible, make your schedule visible to coworkers with a shared calendar, so they know when you are free to meet or discuss work. Talking face to face can help collaboration, so consider tools such as Zoom, Skype, or Microsoft Teams, rather than relying on email or instant messaging.
4 - Set Boundaries
Discuss different work hours with your manager, so you can still get everything done. This could include working earlier or working with more breaks
If you have kids at home, block off time as needed for caregiving activities. While there is always an unpredictability with young children, it's good to have a schedule built around shared caregiving.
Establishing clear boundaries and rules for you, your kids and your co-workers will help everyone understand each other better.
6 - Rules for good nutrition
If you have a poor diet, you’ll get sick more often than someone with a healthier diet.
For a healthy diet, you need complete protein in every meal (if you’re a vegetarian you need to find non-animal sources). In addition, you need to eat some vegetables in every meal. You can always include fruit, but don’t skip on the veggies.
Learn to love healthy fats. There are 3 types of fat – saturated (like animal fats, coconut oil), monounsaturated (olive oil, mixed nuts), and polyunsaturated (flaxseed oil, fish oil). Eating all three kinds of fat in a healthy balance, about equal parts of each, can dramatically improve your health.
Good nutrition allows our bodies’ immunity to respond quickly and efficiently, and in order to function well, the cells of our immune system need plenty of vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids.
5 Key Reminders
- Set a routine with ‘me time’ away from work and family.
- Continue to set weekly deliverables - have daily ‘to do’ lists.
- Use video conferencing as much as possible.
- Buy healthy ingredients and food items for nutritious meals.
- Exercise. Exercise. Exercise. Aim for at least 30 minutes’ exercise daily.