With the ongoing pandemic of the coronavirus continuing across the globe, many restrictions have been imposed on society with the risk of infection increasing and spreading; and as such, the need for looking after our health and wellbeing is greater than ever before.
To diminish the spread of COVID-19 many of us have been adapting to working from home for the first time, struggling to balance work and home life together.
This sudden, and disruptive, change, brings with it a lot of emotional challenges – ones that impact our mental health and wellbeing, potentially without us even realizing.
So what can we do to keep ourselves fit, happy, and healthy during this coronavirus epidemic? Here we take a look.
1. Maintain a routine
If you’re working from home, attempt to handle the working day as you would any other – make sure that you get up at a good time before you begin work, have a shower, and ensure you have orderly breaks without feeling guilty. Also, try to avoid the temptation to work in your pyjamas (we promise it doesn’t put you in the right mindset no matter how cute or cool they are).
Similarly, if you have children, the loss of the usual routine of school or nursery can cause instability. This can be overcome by setting up a new routine. It doesn’t need to be a strict time-based schedule, simply getting everybody up at a reasonable time, completing general hygiene, having a nutritional breakfast, and planning out day to day activities can help children to envision what their new temporary life looks like.
It’s also important to understand that the feeling of complete disorder for children is more anxiety-inducing than having an itinerary. You think you feel strange working at home? Think about how a small person, who is likely much less capable of managing their feelings than a grown up, is experiencing this ‘whole new world’.
2. Do not overwork to compensate for remote working
It’s important that you don’t fall into the trap of working longer hours. Often many of us can slip into bad habit of doing this through fear that your hard work is not recognized due to not physically being present in the office.
One way to avoid this is by creating a physical boundary between yourself and your area of work at home. Ideally, use a space within your home that you can set up as an office; or if you don’t have a dedicated space, create space within a room that you can divide to help enable that feeling of having a detached area from your home and work life allowing you to disconnect between the two.
3. Be kind to yourself and make time for you
Remember that you’re doing your best. Many of us, as well as coping with the pressure of work, have the pressures of home life to deal with at the same time – facilitating children’s entertainment and home schooling for example.
Time can feel like your enemy, but you need to ensure that you make time for you. Try and allocate a certain amount of time a day for your emotional wellbeing. One good method to achieve this is Yoga – it can help you to switch off from day to day life relieving stress and improving not only your emotional wellbeing but your physical health too. Alternatively, you might like to go for a walk (if your country lockdown restrictions allow), read a book, or work on a new hobby. It doesn’t really matter what the ‘something’ is, so long as it’s something you enjoy that isn’t work, or general ‘home life’.
4. Keep in touch with friends and family
Remember that it’s perfectly normal to feel anxious with regards to both yourself and your family during this time. Especially when many of us are having to self-isolate from our ‘loved ones’ to protect them. This can be particularly difficult for children as well as adults.
While in person visits to friends and family may not be possible, our technology-filled world offers us multiple alternatives. You can use applications such as Skype and Zoom to still physically ‘see’ people; make use of social media networks like Facebook, use WhatsApp, or go with the old fashioned ‘pick up the phone’. Smaller children may even wish to write physical letters to grandparents. Again, the ‘how’ doesn’t really matter, just simply ensuring that you keep in touch with people one way or another can really help to ease anxiety and knock away feelings of loneliness.
Keeping in contact with those you love can help you feel less isolated, create a sense of ‘normal’, and also reassure you that people you care about are okay.
5. Take each day as it comes
Finally, it’s important to be mindful that many government lockdown periods or restrictions are unknown, thus we need to focus on what is in our control rather than obsessing in regards to things that aren’t. Try to avoid reading endless news articles and looking up conspiracies on social media forums. Be mindful of who you communicate with and where you acquire any COVID-19 related information.
In addition, if you’re feeling particularly worried and/or stressed in regards to the coronavirus, you might benefit from reading up on, and learning about meditation techniques such as Mindfulness.
So there you have it, our five – relatively simple – pieces of advice to help you keep on top of your emotional wellbeing during the coronavirus epidemic. What else would add to my list to help others? Please let us know in the comments.
For more information on how we’re responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, please see here how we’re offering our service desk solutions free of charge to anyone who needs them.