Looking after our emotional wellbeing and mental health is essential for work and for life, says Lucy Bailey
Working from home has benefits such as flexible working patterns and reduced travel costs and time-consuming commutes, but there are also downsides, such as feeling isolated and the blurring of boundaries across the working day, which can affect emotional wellbeing and mental health.
It’s so important to create clear boundaries and to take intentional action to look after our mental health whilst also maintaining the standards needed to deliver our work. With that in mind, I have some top tips that will help you remain a stable and happy remote worker.
Keep a Routine
Routines help create the peaks and rhythm of the day. Working from home can mean we lose sight of routines and therefore the day becomes disjointed. Although you are not leaving the house, you can still create routines.
- Look after yourself and create some ‘me’ time before you start work – whether that is having a coffee whilst listening to a podcast, going for a walk, or simply acknowledging a space for you before you start the working day.
- Plan your day, including breaks and lunch, and set yourself a finish time. You’d do these things if you were in the office, and they will help you create the right balance between rest and work.
- Sleep is vital, so don’t busy your mind with work before bedtime. Take action to relax, calm your mind, and switch off. Try mindfulness or breathing, listening to soft music, or reading.
A sense of routine will equip you to manage the day and look after your emotional and mental health.
Schedule video calls, pick up the phone, and facetime instead of emailing. Make time to socialise virtually, have a digital comfort break, or have a Monday morning online get-together. Build some time at the end of a team meeting to share something good that has happened. Be intentionally social. If you were in the office, you would chat with people, so make working from home no different.
Stay connected to the purpose of your role within the organisation. Remind yourself regularly about how you fit into the bigger picture and the importance of your role. Whether you are part of a large or small organisation, it’s good to reconnect with your purpose.
Separate Your Space
Having a clear line between your workspace and living space will create explicit cues that will help you switch in and out of work mode. A Forbes piece on remote working environments highlights how important a separate space is for achieving balance, which is the ultimate goal for remote workers.
It’s also important to make sure you are comfortable where you work. Slouching on the sofa is not good for your posture, but it also doesn’t set you in the right frame of mind for work. It’s too easy to find yourself checking emails into the evening from the sofa, rather than relaxing and switching off.
Put your laptop away when you are finished and turn your phone to silent. Making a distinct separation will help you relax so you can recharge and be better prepared for work tomorrow.
Wellbeing is personal and unique. What works for one person won’t work for others. It’s the same with working from home. For some, it offers great flexibility to start work earlier and have their evenings free. For others, it will be more difficult. Either way, there are things that can help us take control and ensure that we are actively looking after our emotional wellbeing and mental health, which is essential for work and for life.