With the covid-19 outbreak early in 2020, most of the people were forced to work from home. While for some, this is an ideal situation, this isn’t what’s comfortable for a majority of people. Some have kids and an entire family and live in small apartments, while for others, going to work is a perfect opportunity to dress up and engage with the world.
Whether you like to work from home or not, being in this situation can be stressful for both types of people. Therefore, it is essential to set up some rules while you are at it. The dynamics of working from home are completely different and if you are not used to it, this can take a toll on you.
Below, you can find tips on improving your mental health while this pandemic lasts. To see what the online job board, Zoek, has to say about mental health while working from home, you can also click here.
With the vaccination underway, it shouldn’t be long before we are back to normal, but keep on reading as you might end up changing your habits, pandemic or no.
Set the Boundaries
No matter in which sphere of work you are or what you do for your company, you need to have clear boundaries between your work and free time.
This is the most essential aspect of working from home many people fail at. Having a laptop at your side all the time is a double-edged sword. You quickly find yourself thinking: “Hey, I will just answer these emails” or “Let me clear this up so I can start fresh tomorrow” and you get in the situation when you are finishing “just one more thing”. This goes on and on until it is late in the evening and you are tired.
If you’ve worked 9-5 in your office, what prevents you to stick to the same schedule at home? It can be tricky, but here are some aspects that will help you do it:
- Create a “work corner” – set up your home office in one room where your family members will not disturb you. It doesn’t even have to be a special room. It can be a corner of any room in your apartment or home. And once you are there you are working. Keep in mind that you don’t have to use anything fancy – a clean desk and a laptop with perhaps a couple of your work stuff should do the trick. And once you are there, it sends the message that you are working and that you cannot interact at the moment.
- Set up priorities – You need to know what you do every day so that you actually do it. At the end of each shift, take 15-30 minutes to create a to-do list for the next day. Something unexpected may happen during your off time, but 90% of the time, you will be able to stick with your plan. Even if you have to change it or modify it, at least you have one and it gives you a window of what to do. You can go from one task to another without wasting time and feeling lost.
- Take a break – Take a 30-minute break and a couple of shorter 5-10 minute breaks when you actually leave the room. Having unlimited Internet access can take you off guard and you can catch yourself surfing the web for hours. Then you need to make up for the lost time, blurring the boundaries between work and fun. To avoid that, set clear breaks and when the time comes, just get up and go for that particular time. But when you work, then make sure that you don’t have any distractions.
Being in the house all the time can make you lazy and you can get stuck in your home for days. At first, this might be a great thing – no commute, no traffic jams. However, you need to motivate yourself to go out. With Coronavirus, most of the gyms, cafes, restaurants and theaters are closed, but even going for a walk can do the trick.
Now that you don’t have to commute, you can use that time to go out and take a walk. 30 minutes a day is enough to keep you active. You will get a breath of fresh air, forget about work for a while and change your environment. If you are scared of the virus, avoid crowded places and stay out in the open!
With the virus outbreak, many people realized that they needed to devote more time to their physical health. By exercising regularly, you will ease your mind as well. Staying in shape is crucial for keeping your mind sharp. Not only will you feel light and fresh, but you will also sleep much better and work more efficiently.
It’s been proven so many times already that exercising at least 2-3 times a week has major benefits on your physical and mental health.
Keep in touch with your friends and family
If you used to mingle a lot, having some “alone” time could prove to be quite helpful. Even so, you should keep in touch with the people you love and respect, and see or hear from them as often as possible. Socializing helps you relax and having various talks with the people close to you could be all you need.
Of course, keep in mind that you follow the instructions issued by The WHO and don’t interact with large groups at once.
Have a hobby
Scrolling blindly through your Instagram feed isn’t an effective way to spend your time. It will only make you feel more depressed, which isn’t what you need. Steer clear of social media as much as possible and do what you love. But make sure you DO it – whether it is reading books, playing an instrument, or learning a new skill, you can always find some time for it.
It can be 20-30 minutes a day, but make a habit out of it. Having a hobby will definitely change the way you handle the quarantine and you will feel much better about it.
Allow your Hedonistic Side to Surface
Now’s the time to treat yourself – binge-watch a TV show you love, order a pizza, take a long bath, spend some quality time with your family and friends. This contradicts some of the things we’ve said so far, but once in a while, you need to allow yourself such self-indulgence. You are not considered weak – we are not robots and these are difficult times. Sometimes, all it takes to switch off completely and reset.
Hopefully, we will all get through this together and make Covid-19 a thing of the past. Meanwhile, we need to preserve our mental and physical health the best way we can.