Our project officer Lizzi went into self-isolation with her family on the 12th March. Here she gives her top 10 tips for looking after your wellbeing when working from home.
As I write this, I’m on day 11 of self-isolation with my husband and two young kids. It’s been a bit of a journey to say the least! It is a stressful time for everyone and looking after my personal wellbeing has been a challenge. These are the things I’ve learned to do to keep myself well over the last 11 days:
1. Acknowledge to yourself and others that this is a scary time
I have found that just acknowledging that I am scared and anxious about the situation with Coronavirus has helped me manage that worry. Everyone’s level of worry is higher than normal and while you may not consider yourself a worrier, this is a stress that can’t be totally avoided.
2. Get up, get washed and get dressed!
The occasional duvet day won’t hurt but staying in your pyjamas all day, every day, will get you down. Also, you’ll feel physically and mentally better if you are clean and presentable!
3. Pace yourself
Don’t assume that being at home means that you will have more time – I don’t! It’s tempting to start a new project or try to keep the house tidy, but you can’t do everything. So, don’t stress if you’re not doing everything you thought you’d do.
4. Plan your time
Mark out your time each week and day on a calendar or list so your week has a shape. Try to keep to a routine and have regular breaks. It might feel unnatural to schedule things in just for yourself, but it can help keep you focused.
5. Make time for office socialising
If you work in an office, you don’t often realise how many small social interactions you have every day. These small interactions are really important for our working relationships and our own health, so find a way to keep them up. Our team now has weekly virtual lunches where we hang out and chat, as well as a daily business-focused video huddle.
6. Be honest about the challenges and embrace new ways of working
Don’t pretend you’re finding everything fine if you’re not and try to work with your new reality. If you’re home alone, don’t be afraid to say if you’re lonely and missing the office. If, like me, you’ve got kids at home then you’ll know how hard it is to balance your different demands.
This is an unprecedented time, and everyone has to adapt so try not to stress too much if you have a toddler jump on you during a call – most clients and colleagues will think it’s cute. Let your kids say hi at the beginning or end of a video meeting or perhaps if they’re older they can watch and learn a bit about the world of work.
7. Put away work at the end of the day
This means the work phone is turned off and your laptop is put out of sight. You can’t be thinking about work 24/7 and stay healthy so don’t let it bleed into your leisure time
8. To look after your mental health, look after your physical health
Boring but true. Eat your greens, move around, don’t drink a lot of alcohol. Find ways to replace your usual daily exercise, whether that’s jogging on the spot or doing Zumba in front of the telly. It’s a good chance to dance like nobody’s watching!
9. Get fresh air every day
Whether it’s sitting by an open window in a flat or going out into your yard or garden, get as much fresh air as possible. Ventilate your home. Even if it’s cold outside, wrap up and take the air; it really blows the cobwebs away.
10. Be kind to yourself and others.
This is a tough time for everyone, and we can help by actively offering kindness and patience to everyone, whether that’s yourself, a co-worker or a family member. Don’t get me wrong, being stuck in the house is no fun and sometimes your patience will wear thin, but if we try our best to be kind to each other, we will get through this together.
We’d love to hear from you about your tips for looking after your wellbeing while working from home. Send us your thoughts on these tips and let us know if you have any more.