How to Protect your Mental Health while Working From Home

Mary Palmer

We are – as the politicians and scientists keep telling us – living in unprecedented times. Whilst some lockdown measures look to be easing, for many of us, we’re a long way off a return to the office. And, even when we get back to the office, it won’t be the same as before.

It’s been a total readjustment process. Sure, you don’t have a frustrating commute to endure every day and you don’t have to power dress or put on your heels. But there will be many elements of office life that you’ll miss. Perhaps it’s being able to pop out and do some shopping at lunch time; chipping in for a big greasy lunch on a Friday; or simply being part of a team tea round.

So, working from home can feel really daunting – whether you’re naturally introverted or extroverted. And, with the possibility of several more weeks of lockdown looming large, it’s important that you are able to ‘keep going’ during that time by protecting your mental health and wellbeing.

Here are our ‘do’s and don’ts’ for staying safe (and sane) at home:

  • DO take regular breaks

If you would usually make a cuppa at 11am and go for your lunch at 1pm, keep doing this! Just because you’re not in the office doesn’t mean that you have to ‘prove’ you’re working by staying glued to your screen all day. Give your eyes (and your mind) a rest).

  • DON’T sit all day

Many of us weren’t prepared for working from home long term and are making do with a spare dining table chair or are hunched over our laptop on the couch. If you thought having an office job was bad for you posture, this is so much worse! If you can’t (or don’t want to) invest in an office-style chair, be sure to take regular breaks to get up and move around.

  • DO take your allotted exercise time

The government have said it’s perfectly reasonable to go for a walk, cycle or run in your local area once a day. So, whether it’s before work, at lunchtime, or once you’ve packed up for the day, use your time! The fresh air and change of scenery will do you the world of good, allowing you to properly clear your head.

  • DON’T forget to switch off  

We get it. Your laptop is in your house and it make the temptation to just keep working or do a bit extra later on in the evening. But just because it’s there doesn’t mean you should feel pressured to use it! Now, more than ever, we need time to switch off from work – and the news / social media – to engage in a hobby or simply a mindless Netflix binge.

  • DO keep in touch with colleagues

For some of your colleagues, this entire situation (not just working from home) is going to be so hard. Even the introverts might find the constant video chatting exhausting. So, if you haven’t heard from someone in a few days, drop them a text or an email just to check in. It could really make a difference.

  • DON’T ignore routine entirely

It might seem like the ideal time to get up 30 minutes before you’re due to start work and throw on a pair of joggies. But, the body shock of going back to work after the lockdown may prove too much! So, as much as you can, stick to routine. As we said earlier, if you’d usually go for lunch at 1pm, stick to it. Try not to let the temptation of late nights and relaxed office rules stand in the way of your usual standard of work.

Our teams are here, as normal, to support your recruitment needs or job search. Please get in touch with your usual HRC contact to see how we can help.

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