Making Working From Home, Healthily

Working from home can offer many key benefits. There’s peace and quiet (hopefully), familiar, comfortable surroundings, no commuting, and no queue at the kettle. But what about working from home and managing your mental health? As more people work remotely either full-time or part-time, have we considered the effect working from home can have on our mental health and wellbeing?

For some, working from home can be a struggle. Some may miss the camaraderie of the office and find being isolated from colleagues can lead to loneliness and a lack of confidence. 

Others may struggle with motivation. When there’s an electrical device plugged into every socket and a fridge full of food it’s hard to stay on track. 

So let’s take a look at working from home and managing your mental health. What are the positives and negatives of working from home? And how can we make sure our WFH life is as happy and as stimulating as a busy office life.

Stay connected

Don’t cut yourself off from your colleagues just because you’re home-based. Today’s technologies mean we are only a Skype, Zoom or FaceTime call away from being in the office. Keep your apps and online chats open and be ready for people to connect with you virtually. If colleagues can see you’re online and available they will be more inclined to connect with you. Office WhatsApp Groups are a good way of remaining social too, offering a Virtual Watercooler Moment.

Stay hydrated

Many of us find coffee delicious, and for those who enjoy it, it has health benefits too. Positives include helping your physical performance by keeping you focused and alert. It can also improve your mood by stimulating your levels of serotonin and dopamine. 

However, too much coffee can have a negative impact on our physical and mental health. Too much caffeine in coffee can cause insomnia, anxiety, nervousness, heart palpitations, and even panic attacks. 

Try to stick to just one or two cups a day. And in-between, fill up with water which has many physical and mental health benefits. Dehydration can cause low mood and anxiety so drink 6 to 8 glasses of water a day. Hopefully you will see an improvement in your memory and mood. Water can also help to reduce headaches, which can occur if we are screen-based for large sections of the day.

Look sharp

Working from home may give us the green light to work in our jogging bottoms. But this is no good for anyone. Part of feeling good at home is about looking good too so try to maintain a morning routine as if you were going into the office. If you don’t get ready each day but just roll from bed to desk, you wont feel good about yourself. Motivation and confidence levels may well plummet. 

See your kitchen/ lounge/ spare room/study as the new boardroom and let your colleagues know you’ve got this at-home-working licked by looking sharp on screen (even if you are wearing your slippers out of shot).

Stay motivated

Looking good should help you to feel confident when working from home so all you need to do now is work. 

However, if you’re feeling great but the work isn’t quite flowing, make a list of what needs doing each day. Highlighters and stickers can help you prioritise a list. Or add hourly updates to your online calendar and set reminders for when things need to be done.

Disconnect Distractions

Stop pressing that Home button! Your phone will alert you if there’s a message so the spontaneous tapping of the iPhone screen can take up crucial minutes. Not to mention disengaging you from what you’re supposed to be working on. 

Working from home will always bring with it the temptation to log on to other devices when you’re supposed to be streamlining that spreadsheet. But try to minimise other devices by putting them out of sight. 

Temptation also lies in the food cupboard and behind the fridge door. But, again, try to stick to meal times to avoid the at-home snackathon which can ultimately lead to weight gain and a loss of confidence. Try setting an alarm for breaks and lunchtime if you find yourself snacking between meals.

Walk Away

If you start to feel stressed, one of the key benefits of working from home is you can walk away. Stop what you’re doing and get outside, either into your garden if you have one, or just a five minute amble down the road.

Keep a diary of how long you’ve taken on each break though, so you can manage your day efficiently and you won’t lose hours here and there. Getting outside also helps to increase our oxygen levels. A brief walk can help get the blood pumping, too, both of which adds to an increase in our mood and overall wellbeing.

Surround Yourself With Nature

Bring the outside, inside! Having plants inside can increase productivity, concentration and creativity. Then there’s the increase in oxygen levels they bring as they release oxygen into the air. So surround yourself and your working space with greenery and let the oxygen flow. More oxygen can help with mental clarity, boost your immune system, reduce stress levels, improve your heart and help you to lose weight. And breathe! 

Get in touch

If you or your team are interested to find out more about how to manage your mental health and wellbeing at work, get in touch!