You have made it through one lockdown, you can do it again. Of course, there are general well-being tips that are relevant year-round regardless of lockdown. However, doing what you can to help your mental health during these turbulent times is more important than ever.
It can be so tempting to set your alarm later to catch an extra hour of sleep, roll out of bed and sit straight at the desk to start work. Especially with the dark mornings, getting out of bed is even harder.
Do try to keep your workday as similar to your usual day as possible; that way, the transition into lockdown may be easier, and going back to work when it ends will feel more natural. Keeping a routine can also help with your mental health as it makes us feel in control and keeps our mind occupied.
If you usually commute to work in the morning, why not use this time to go for a walk with a friend or family member? This way you can factor in some time for exercise and can socialise at the same time – remember you can still meet with one person from another household that you can exercise outside with. Walking is the most underrated form of exercise – it’s free, easy on the joints and improves cardiovascular health.
If the weather is too harsh for a walk, there are hundreds of beginner-friendly workouts online. The Body Project have plenty of excellent free workouts which are easily done with minimal space and you don’t need any gym equipment.
Take regular breaks: without taking breaks from work to pause and reset, we can become burnt-out and fatigued, and may make us less productive. Make a cup of tea and take some time to think about the really good book you finished last night.
Keep your workspace as tidy as you can. If your desk/surroundings are cluttered, it could act as a distraction and can make you feel overwhelmed. Put on some music and have a good sort out, you will feel better for it!
It can be difficult to keep a good posture when working from home, especially without plush office chairs. Try to sit on a chair which allows your eyes to be at screen level, keep your back straight and your core engaged to prevent back ache.
It can be difficult to eat balanced and healthy meals when you are shopping less frequently, but what you eat has a huge impact on your mental health, mood, and energy. However, you don’t always need fresh fruit and vegetables, as tinned and frozen vegetables are just as good, so why not stock up during your essential food shops? Remember you could always batch-cook and store extra portions in the freezer.
When snacking, try to avoid refined sugar. It might give you an instant energy hit, but later on you can feel sluggish. Try snacking on foods like nuts, fruit, and yoghurt which will giver longer-lasting energy without the sugar crash.
We’re not getting enough sun! The NHS states that you should take 10 micrograms (400 IU) of vitamin D a day between October and early March to keep your bones and muscles healthy. Since we have been indoors more this year, supplements may be of benefit. These can be purchased from a health store, such as Holland and Barrett, and are also available in Savers at a more affordable price. Please consult your doctor before taking any new supplements.
Headspace is offering a collection of advice, guided meditations, and exercises specific to working from home during lockdown. Their app is available for free to all employers and their employees. We know that an app isn’t going to solve everything, and that meditation can feel like it isn’t worthwhile, but it’s something that takes time. Just 10 minutes per day can make a huge difference to your mental health over time. They also have advice for working parents.
Loneliness can really affect those who may be socially isolated, as they are missing connecting with others at the workplace. Communicate regularly with your colleagues, and make sure that employees have a sense of belonging at the company.
Keep in regular contact with those close to you. It can be so easy to think “just one more email” and the next thing you know, it’s 7pm. You’re hungry and tired and want an early night. A few of these days in a row go by and you start to feel very lonely. Try to spend time during your day speaking to someone, especially if you live alone.
Playing online games with friends is also a great way to socialise and take your mind away from reality. Why not set up a Zoom call and play some fun games, such as Words with Friends or Among Us?
Feeling worried, stressed, or anxious? You’re not alone. More than two-thirds of adults in the UK (69%) report feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. The most common issues affecting wellbeing are worry about the future (63%), feeling stressed or anxious (56%) and feeling bored (49%). If you feel like you could benefit from support, the NHS have put together a list of helplines. They are free to call from the UK and some are available 24/7.
Please be advised that this content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other medical practitioner regarding any health enquiries or concerns.
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