All of us are affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of us are required to stay at home to help flatten the curve leading to loss of income and being dependent on the help by the Government while some have the privilege to work at the comfort of their home.
It’s hard to look after your mental health at this time of crisis and it is much harder when you had to work at home during this pandemic. So here are some tips on how to maintain your mental health during this pandemic while working from home:
Have a routine
Working from home tends to be very challenging now that you have your own time to do things and because no one is watching you unlike in the ‘office setting’. But working from home tends also to be very isolating and distracting.
You will miss your colleagues, your space in the office, the food outside, your friends, etc., and this can cause you to think negative thoughts which can lead to laziness, unproductivity or worse, depression.
Having a routine can help you keep your sanity and maintain your productivity in terms of work. You can start by having a checklist of your “to-do things” each day.
Start by getting up, (making sure that you don’t work in your pyjamas) and making plans for the day. Do not overschedule yourself. Set achievable routines every day and most importantly, be consistent.
Acknowledge and accept the ‘new normal’
Most people pretend that they are not bothered by the impact of this pandemic. This is actually what most people do when confronted by change.
It is very difficult for us to acknowledge and accept what we call the ‘new normal’ since working from home tends to have many distractions that we don’t usually encounter at work.
As a result, you may tend to be hard on yourself for having a hard time adapting to the change caused by the pandemic. Remind yourself that you are still in the adjusting phase and it is okay to give yourself time to adjust to the new normal.
Maintain good practices
Since it is difficult to transition in the new normal, it is okay to maintain good practices you currently have in your team or office.
One good practice that you can maintain is having a regular meeting at least once a week to check the employees how they are keeping up with their current situation and to align the work goals and deadlines.
It is important that the employees feel that their teammates and/or the company cares for them while making sure that the goals and deadlines are still aligned.
Take care of your physical health
Taking care of your physical health is as important as taking care of your mental health. It is also easy to remember as 1-2-3! You can take care of your physical health by having a SEED lifestyle – sleep, eat right, exercise, and de-stress.
- Sleep is the foundation of healthy habits. Studies show that good sleep has been shown to improve problem-solving skills and enhance memory performance of both children and adults.
- Eat right. As the famous saying goes, ‘You are what you eat.’ Eat healthily and avoid processed foods as much as possible. Eating right makes your immune system strong which is your first line of defence against COVID-19. As said by Hippocrates: ‘Let food be the medicine and medicine be thy food.’
- Exercise. Physical activity is vital for healthy aging and can reduce the burden of chronic diseases. It can also prevent you from depression because exercising releases endorphins which are called the ‘happy hormones’. Studies also show that active people generally live longer and are at less risk for serious health problems like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, obesity, and cancer.
- De-stress. This simply means knowing your stressors and managing your emotions. You need to know what things are currently stressing you and finding a way to manage that stress.
One of the things that you can do to manage stress is to find time to do something you really like, for example, learn to play musical instruments, read your favourite book, compose songs, watch Netflix, etc.
You can also upgrade your knowledge and skills by attending webinars, enrolling in an online school. Taking time for yourself to do something you enjoy can do wonders for your mental health and well-being.
Have a gratitude journal
Grab a notebook and list your blessings for the day or the things that you are grateful for. This may shift your perspective and can help you have a positive attitude despite the pandemic.
Try to write as many things as you can. It may not need to be big – the smaller things to be grateful for, the better. Because there are things that we currently take for granted such as having food to eat, etc.
Manage the information that you can take
Since you are in control of your time, you tend to engage your time in social media and suffer from information overload.
You can have access to the different updates regarding the pandemic and taking all this information can be overwhelming thus, leading to anxiety and other personal issues.
One thing you can do is stay away from fake news and make sure you only get info from trusted sources.
Being updated during this time of crisis is important but you need to manage the information that you take because knowing every breaking news report can only stir anxiety and can lead to unproductivity.
Working from home and maintaining your mental health at this time of crisis can be difficult and challenging but you need to remember that keeping your mental health in a good state also relies on you.
This pandemic has disrupted our normal life and we are now forced to adapt to the ‘new normal’. What you can do to maintain your mental health in a good state is to be mindful of the changes in your mood and behavior and accept that you’re still in adjusting phase.
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