Panic surrounding Covid-19 has caused a lot of stress and anxiety; with confirmed cases rising, stock market volatility and worrying for loved ones, it’s completely understandable that people feel emotional at this time. With most of the nation now working from home making huge changes to their normal routine, it is important that we are all taking care of our mental health – with all the above stress combined with no social contact for the next few weeks it’s fair to say we will all be feeling cabin fever soon.
Here are a few simple tips/reminders to help keep you motivated, productive and most importantly positive during this time!
- Try to maintain normal routines
The coronavirus has altered how we now live our everyday lives, but that doesn’t mean that everything has to change.
Try to stay as close to your normal routine as possible. Maintain some kind of structure from your pre-quarantine days. If the new you is working from home, start your day as you would normally have, and maybe take a walk instead of your routine commute to the office.
The situation seems to change daily, however, if you have some consistency in your daily activities it will make it all feel more manageable. Studies have shown that our bodies tend to function better when eating, sleep and exercise patterns are set to a regular schedule.
- Stay connected
According to studies, loneliness can be as damaging to our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, so don’t isolate yourself completely.
Keep in touch with your family, friends and colleagues via Skype, FaceTime, a phone call, texting… really any form of digital communication. Ask how they are and let them know how you are!
If you’re used to getting up and walking over to a colleague’s desk, then use Microsoft Teams, Zoom or other software that allows you to have video conversations with colleagues rather than just emailing them. Staying connected is important as it helps us to manage stress and some studies have found it helps us to live longer and happier lives.
- Go outside
We have been advised to stay inside as much as possible, but this doesn’t mean we have to be imprisoned in our own homes. If you suddenly find yourself dwelling on your problems or if you feel a little less productive, go and sit in your garden if you’re lucky enough to have one or take a short walk.
Research has shown that exposure to nature not only makes us feel better emotionally and mentally, it also contributes to your physical well-being – reducing blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the production of stress hormones.
- Take a break
It can be so easy to avoid breaks altogether when you are working from home. It’s important that you don’t let the association of working in the place that you sleep, prevent you from taking five minutes to relax and get a brew.
Rather than using your breaks to catch up on the next episode of a TV series or getting lost on YouTube, take the time to get up and move away from your desk. Go for a wander, get some fresh air and take a breather.
Breaks, like making and eating lunch can recharge you and give you a renewed focus to do better work. Don’t assume that you need to be working 100% of the time while you’re at home, it’s important to take those breaks like you would in the office.
- Plan and Prioritise
Spend some time at the beginning of the day to figure out what you’ll be doing and the things that are a priority. It’s easy to run out of time or energy for work without a structured plan.
It’s equally important to plan time to stop work. The danger when working from home is that work and personal life can start to merge together, and you might start to feel like you’re always “on”.
To aid this choose a time to “check out” of work. Even if it is a mental checkout, this will help to separate work and personal life, maintaining a work life balance.
- Designated workspace
One of the biggest challenges when working from home is all the distractions: your family, children, pets and even the kitchen.
This is why it is so important to have a designated workspace. If you have a sperate home office or spare room, then perfect. But if you don’t, pick a space where you can close the door and achieve a bit of solitude.
- Focus on the positives
it is almost impossible to know exactly what the future looks like!
Try not to obsess over things; What will happen next? Will the supermarket shelves be restocked soon? How long am I going to be trapped in the house? When will this all end?
Instead try to focus your mind on more positive things. For example, despite Italy being one of the worst affected countries by coronavirus, Italians can be heard singing from their windows/balconies to boost morale. Even in the darkest of times, we must try to find a flicker of light at the end of the tunnel.
Over the next few days we will be creating a bank of helpful guides and tips to ensure we get through this time as well as can be expected.