12th January 2021
Back in March 2020 we created a blog with our top tips to keep yourself grounded into staying healthy and well while working from home. Now in January 2021, to follow the NI Executive guidelines many of us are back to working remotely. The only main difference this time around is that we are working in the Winter climate which can have a huge impact on our mental health and productivity. So, here are our simple top tips that can help you while working from home.
Set and stick to a routine. Working from home will make separating your work life from your private life hard but with a good routine it can be easy! Follow your normal sleep and work patterns if you can and stay consistent.
Get up at the same time, make your bed, eat breakfast, and change into comfortable clothing. Before logging on try to schedule in what would have been your ‘commute time’ to listen to some uplifting music, do some gentle exercises or have a cup of tea/coffee.
Whilst working from home it can be tempting to continue working into the evening, so when your workday stops, stop working. Shut down, stop checking emails and focus on your home life.
Make a Dedicated Workspace
Get everything you need in one place before you start your day such as pens, chargers, notebooks etc. But most importantly, make sure you are comfortable. While it may be tempting to sit on the couch or on your bed, it is much better to sit at a desk or a table. Use the NHS guidelines to set up your workspace correctly, as much as you possibly can.
If you do not have office furniture like an adjustable chair, try using things like cushions to support you in your chair, or a box as a footrest.
Working from home means you are in a closer proximity to your fridge or your snack cupboard and you are eating schedule of 3 square meals a day may start to look a bit more fluid.
To avoid overindulging in chocolate and treats try to keep to the same weekday routine, ensuring you eat a good breakfast before starting your day. If you would usually make your lunches for the week on a Sunday evening or the night before, continue to do so and when you are eating, remember to eat away from your desk.
During this unprecedented time, especially throughout the winter months, it is vital to keep your immune system strong so taking vitamins and staying hydrated is important.
Get Outdoors (if you are not self-isolating).
While we engage in stricter social distancing, it is still possible to get out and get some fresh air – the garden counts. Instead of going onto social media during your lunch hour which may trigger or elevate anxiety, stress, or panic, take yourself out for a brisk walk and get those endorphins increased! (Remember you should not travel more than 10 miles from your home).
It is also good to remember to take regular breaks away from your home desk – it is too easy to get lost in your screen. Set an alarm on your phone for every 20-30mins and step away, stretch, move around your home, and make a hot drink, come back and re-focus.
Online Videos & Tutorials.
While our favourite gyms and fitness centres are closed during this time, many are offering free live streams or app-based workouts so check online to see what is available!
If you are trying to avoid social media and remain focused, using meditation videos, online beginners yoga classes or home workout videos (there are a few available on the NHS website) can be a great way to keep you healthy in body and mind while working remotely. If you need to brush up on some of your day-to-day work skills, why not get stuck into a good tutorial for the last hour of the day. This will help you up-skill at your own leisure.
While working from home has its benefits, you may also feel more isolated. But there are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter – boosting their mental wellbeing as well as our own.
Keep in touch with colleagues throughout the day via text messaging, video calling apps or pick up the phone and call. Remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you so ask how they are doing and whether there are ways you can support each other. You could even have a virtual coffee or lunch break!
To really switch off from work mode, why not call a relative or friend and have a good catch up, maybe even a Netflix party or Zoom quiz.
Be Kind to Yourself
Remember, this is an unusual situation and things will not feel normal. Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances and relax when your work is done.