Covid-19 has meant we’re all faced with changes both at work and at home. Regardless of what’s happening around us, your physical, mental and financial health should remain a priority.
Here are some ways to look after yourself as you shift from the working office to working from home.
How to look after your physical health when working at home
Good ergonomics – Create a workspace that makes you feel good each day. After all, this is your new office so you want it to be inviting. Place your screen at eye level, have your laptop on a stable base (not on your lap), adopt a good sitting posture with your back supported.
Keep active - You should try to minimise long periods of sitting. You could use the time usually spent on your morning commute going for a walk outside, make a habit of standing up while talking on the phone or do some stretching to reduce the impact of sitting for too long.
Exercise and online classes can be a great way to stay active and can help improve both short- and long-term psycho-social wellbeing by reducing feelings of stress, anxiety and depression. Find out more on the mental health benefits of exercise.
Eat well - It’s important to make healthy food choices throughout your day to keep your mood and energy high. When working from home it can be tempting to snack more so take this time to embrace your culinary skills and make fresh, healthy food each day.
How to look after your mental health when working at home
Stay connected – Social connections at work play a huge role in our wellbeing. Pick up the phone instead of sending an email, enjoy your morning coffee with your colleague over FaceTime or Zoom, or upload a photo of your new work space. Share how you are feeling outside of just work to help you feel connected to those you’re used to seeing every day.
Set up a routine – To help put yourself in the best frame of mind each day, try and establish a new working routine and understand your priorities. Have a scheduled start and finish time so you can separate work and home duties.
Getting in the zone – It can feel like it’s difficult to switch from ‘home’ to ‘work’ mode, especially if there are partners and kids also occupying your new ‘work space’. Try to be disciplined and set boundaries for your working environment. Physical boundaries are great (i.e. desk, study etc.), but mental boundaries can be even more important in uncertain times like these. Try to find activities that bring you into the ‘zone’ of work such as mindfulness, a daily to-do list, or putting in your headphones – whatever it is that gives you that mental trigger to ‘switch on’ for the workday ahead.
Be kind to yourself and others – More than ever it’s important to take regular breaks within your working day and practice self-care both to yourself and others. Work systems and technology are also pushed to the limits during these times, so be patient with your teammates who are trying to help you. It’s important to remember that everyone is doing the best they can.
Limit media exposure – It’s hard being home all day and not being glued to the latest news updates. Find a healthy balance in relation to media coverage as large volumes of negative information can heighten feelings of anxiety.
How to look after your financial health when working at home
Budgeting – Take advantage of this opportunity to spend less between paydays. Put the money aside that you would normally spend on your commute, buying lunch or on nights out.
Remember, you’re not alone. It’s normal to feel overwhelmed by news of the outbreak and how it’s impacting our lives today and into the future. If you do find yourself struggling with your wellbeing during this time, there are support services to help.
Head to Health
Provides links to a range of trusted online and phone support, resources and treatment options.
Ph: 1300 22 46 36
24 hours, 7 days per week
Provide immediate and confidential support through their 24/7 helpline and online chat services with trained mental health professionals
Ph: 13 11 14
Provide 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
THE HEALTH AND MEDICAL INFORMATION IS GENERAL INFORMATION ONLY AND IS NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR ADVICE FROM A QUALIFIED MEDICAL OR OTHER HEALTH PROFESSIONAL. ALWAYS CONSULT YOUR GENERAL PRACTITIONER OR A MEDICAL SPECIALIST.