Mental Health Whilst Working at Home

A lot has been written around the mental health impact of the current enforced working from home necessitated by social distancing and I think we’ve all seen the headlines of the advice of how to stay sane and looking after our mental health whilst working at home.

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  1. Keeping well physically, including taking exercise or at least getting some fresh air. 
  1. Establishing a work routine that allows you to take breaks and switch off at the end of the day. 
  1. Staying connected to both colleagues and family and friends using the connectivity tools that now abound. 

I am now though starting to see and, to some extent, feel the impact of there being no end in sight, to this lack of variety in face to face contact. No matter how much you love those in your household, conversations are drying up and nerves are beginning to fray. It’s many times worse for those isolating alone and compounded by a lack of outside space to enjoy the good weather. So, what further advice is there to help us protect our mental health whilst working at home in these unusual times? 

A lot of the articles I’ve read point to being compassionate with yourself. Some find it useful to view this time in a different way. You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work. It is a worrying time, but we are all in it together and sharing our concerns and chatting through our options certainly helps to keep it in perspective. I have friends who are constantly monitoring the NHS stats who would benefit from resisting that urge or limiting it to once a day.  

Loneliness is not surprisingly becoming a big problem for many, so this compassion needs to extend out to all those around us. The Ask Twice, time to change campaign is more relevant than ever now. It’s important to really connect with all the people in your life, asking how they are coping and what practical steps they are taking to keep themselves if not cheerful, then at least motivated.    

It is also being suggested that now is a good time to re-connect to the purpose of your work. i.e. remember why you are doing what you do and the value you and the company are getting from this. The company I work for, MyLife Digital is an enterprise born on the back of the data revolution, out of the desire to help individuals and organisations make sense and better understand the value of this asset. My role in HR is to support our technical wizards striving to make this as easy and painless as possible. Feeling like I’m doing my bit towards this goal is definitely good for my own mental health. 

This of course only looks at those lucky enough to still be working. There is a whole other conversation to be had around the strategies needed for those who have lost their jobs or who have been furloughed. 

Sue Waugh

Sue Waugh

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