Home Working and Mental Health
Up until a month ago around 3.4% of the US Population and around 1.3 million people in the UK worked from home. That number has now risen so significantly since Coronavirus took hold that people are scrambling to catch up with the implications both practically and psychologically. Homeworking and mental health is now an incredibly important consideration not just for employers but employees as well. This is especially important in light of social distancing and isolation tactics.
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Remote Working and Mental Health
It is well known that people working from home can suffer increased feelings of anxiety, loneliness, depression and lack of motivation. Now that people are being forced into complete lock-down situations and their lives are up in the air expect these problems to get significantly bigger.
Now we are being told to isolate ourselves from others, not visit friends and family, distance ourselves and go out as little as possible. This is difficult enough for a family but imagine what it is like if you are also a lone worker living by yourself. Homeworking and mental health is now something that you need to make a priority over the coming months.
To make matters worse there are added stresses and strains at the moment. Resources and support are going to be thin on the ground as companies try and figure out what the hell to do. Job security is on everyone’s mind as we all wonder how long this can go on. There are IT considerations as working from home isn’t always as easy as plugging in your laptop. Plus you may not have the space to get the peace you need to do your job efficiently and effectively.
How to Protect Your Well-Being Working From Home
These are unusual times so coming up with innovative solutions to home working is going to be something that everyone needs to get a grip with over the coming months. Working from home and your well-being are incredibly important so it is important to take steps to protect both your physical and mental health. So what can you do?
Exercise Whilst Self Isolating
Social distancing is of course advised for anyone leaving the house. If you are able to get out of the house and go for a walk or take some exercise it can be hugely beneficial. If the government decides you can only go out of your house for essential reasons such as food then you need to be a little bit more creative.
Home Gym Equipment and Coronavirus
The sales of home gym equipment have been soaring since the crisis began as people woke up to the fact that they may be forced to be stuck inside. Almost everyone has room for something in their houses or flats especially not that so much equipment can be stored away. Homeworking and mental health mean looking after your body as well as your mind. Exercise is well known to reduce depression and anxiety-related issues.
The Ultrasport F-Bike and F-Rider is a great solution if you have little space. It is collapsible and relatively cheap so that you can set it up almost anywhere. Indoor cycling can help you to build muscle mass, increase cardiovascular health and increase your fitness.
If you have a little more room then you can think about the Branx Fitness Foldable ‘Cardio Pro’ Touchscreen Console Treadmill. Whether you walk or run a treadmill is a great way of keeping you fit whilst you are on lockdown inside.
Or what about a Duronic Sit-Stand Desk DM05D20? This is a great piece of kit that you can put your computer on and adjust so you are working from either a standing or a sitting position.
Loneliness and Social Isolation Working from Home
Working from home can create a sense of disconnection but even more so now so what can you do to combat this? Firstly try and arrange to connect with any work colleagues at least once a day. Instead of using the phone using online video such as Skype, Facetime and so on. Seeing other friendly faces can help.
Many home workers used to use co-working hubs in order to run their businesses. These are likely to close so accessing online communities can be a useful alternative for your mental health. There are tons of online communities on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram and online forums. Find your tribe and join in. Sharing tips and strategies to get through this is hugely important especially if you don’t have immediate family and friends around you.
As well as staying in touch with your work colleagues make sure that you check in regularly with family and friends. The internet has made it so simple to talk to people no matter where they are in the world. Make sure that you contact at least one person for a chat each day.
Work anxiety is a problem for many people at the best of times. Whilst self-isolation continues make sure that you work on creating good communication with your managers and colleagues. Problems can become amplified especially when working remotely and emails misinterpreted.
If you are able to, tune in to your radio and find some stations or shows to keep you company. No, you don’t have to listen to serious news sites. Instead, pick a station that makes you feel uplifted and positive. There is a show for everyone now with everything from music to comedy to help you get through the day.
Home Working and Boundaries
When you are working from home it can be easy to let your private life and work-life merge. We’ve all heard of people who have chosen to work from bed in their pyjamas. Whilst this may be a novelty for a day it can create problems with your posture and create pain. Plus wearing the same clothes at night as well as in the daytime doesn’t do much for making you feel good.
It is so important to start creating proper routines and boundaries so the lines between work and home life are not blurred. Get up at the same time as you would normally and get properly dressed and washed. If you have a home office then do all your work from there. If you don’t have that luxury find a portion of your home to work from and stick to that spot. Once you leave that area consider yourself leaving your work behind.
Get a good chair to sit in. In a professional office, everything is designed to be ergonomic and to protect your health. At home, people choose to work from seats that are not suitable. There are some great chairs to buy that can help you stop ruining your back, neck and shoulders such as the IntimaTe WM Heart Gaming Chair, High Back Office Chair.
Also if you home can be noisy during the day making it difficult to concentrate think about investing in some noise-cancelling headphones. Bose QuietComfort 35 (Series II) Wireless Headphones are one of the market leaders to help you switch off when too much is going on around you.
At the end of the day switch off and move from the area that you are working in and go into home mode. Repeatedly checking and answering emails or taking calls late into the evening is a great way to create insomnia, stress and anxiety. Homeworking and mental health mean learning to disconnect and move your thoughts to something else at the end of the day.
If you are finding that you are suffering from problems sleeping try our Sleep Deeply download to help you relax your mind after a busy day and get a good night’s rest.
Eating and Home Working
The current Coronvirus crisis is making it much more difficult for people to eat well. It is harder to get healthier foods and popping out to the local cafe or coffee shop now isn’t possible. This means you are going to have to be a little bit more creative with your food choices. If you do have access to online shopping make sure you plan healthier lunches and meals especially if you are not getting your usual exercise.
Stress can also make you eat so finding ways to lower these is incredibly important. Guided meditations, mindfulness and self-hypnosis downloads can all be used to create calmer feelings. Our Relaxation and Stress Reduction Download can be perfect to use when you are feeling overwhelmed.
Try and plan possible meals based on what you think you might be able to get in the shops. Soups, salads, lean meat and open sandwiches could work. Think of some simple healthy recipes and get inventive. Jack Monroe runs https://cookingonabootstrap.com/ which has tons of simple cheap meals that you can create out of basic store cupboard ingredients.
Remember that you don’t have to just head to the supermarket to do your shopping. Farm shops, ethnic grocers and local shops also have plenty of food choice if you take the time and effort to look.
When you do eat your meals make sure that you move away from your workspace and take time out. You need to disengage and have breaks during the day. Make sure you do this otherwise you will find yourself chained to your desk.
Anxiety & Stress Working From Home
There are not many people at the moment who are not experiencing some levels of anxiety and worry about the current situation. It is only natural for this to occur because we are in such an unusual situation. I know however from experience that people who were already suffering from anxiety, panic disorder or OCD are likely to be feeling this more than others. If you are one of these people don’t put off seeking professional help to get you through the current situation.
As early adopters of online anxiety therapy, we have been helping clients to manage their mental health via Skype, Facetime and Facebook video for years. No matter where you are in the world you can have access to a qualified professional to help you manage anxious feelings. This is so important right now when doctors surgeries are closing their doors and trying to deal with the virus.
Booking your online therapy sessions couldn’t be easier. Just contact us via the contact form below and we will be in touch to discuss your situation and book a time slot for therapy. All you have to do is find a place to attend a session without being disturbed and we are good to go.
If you would prefer self-help for anxiety we have an online course with videos and audio downloads that you can use at home. This course guides you through anxiety reduction techniques to help you reduce feelings of worry and stress. Homeworking and mental issues are going to be increasingly talked about over the coming weeks so stay tuned in to the conversation and listen to the innovative solutions that are being talked about.
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