Working in a Familiar Environment

What a difference a month makes…

Just a few weeks ago we were in the office complaining about the grey skies and constant rain, now we are all working from home, grappling with new ways of communicating remotely with our colleagues and considering ourselves lucky to have a bit of outdoor exercise and a trip to the supermarket.

These sudden changes to our lives can of course create higher levels of anxiety and stress than we are used to. We are concerned about the health of our family and friends, worried for ourselves and the bombardment of real and fake news stories from around the world creates an existential threat which very few of us have experienced before.

Here at the Healthy Back Bag Company, health matters are at the core of our business and we take our own and others mental health very seriously, particularly those already living with conditions like anxiety and OCD. For some of us, life goes on as normal, the lack of a pint at the local pub being the main concern however for many, the changes to our lives can make existing mental health problems worse.

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So how can we protect our mental health?

The World Health Organisation recently released advice on protecting your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak. They suggest:

  • Avoid watching or reading or listening to news that could cause you feel anxious or distressed
  • Seek information mainly to take practical steps to protect your plans and protect yourself and loved ones
  • Seek information updates at specific times

So far so good. But what are the practical ways in which we can all manage this whilst working from home without the office routine and colleagues to talk to?

So what can be done?

We conducted a very casual (and very virtual) poll around our office. These are some of the ways we’re keeping ourselves healthy in mind and body:

Coping with ‘Stay at Home’ life outside of work:

  • Gin featured fairly highly on our lists! Not that we are all raging alcoholics but 5pm G&T’s on the balcony with housemates does wonders for marking the end to a working day.
  • Manage your news. Switch off all those newsfeeds and only access information when you need it. Alternatively, subscribe to goodnewsnetwork.org which gives you a break from covid chat or at least a positive spin on it.
  • Hold Zoom parties on a Saturday night! (downloadable from zoom.us). Arrange to share a glass of wine and catch up with friends. Does wonders for morale.
  • Get out in the garden – being out in it, tidying it up and enjoying this best time of the year as everything bursts into bud is really grounding
  • Cook some of those recipes you’ve been meaning to try out for ages
  • Use your evenings to catch up with family over FaceTime or Skype or pick up the landline and give them an old fashioned telephone call!
  • Learn a new skill, learn how to draw or play guitar
  • Sort out all those photographs at last

Working from home:

  • Keep a routine – get up at a normal time
  • Start the day with some yoga – sun salutations before work are a great mood booster
  • Exercise regularly – make the most of your outdoor daily exercise and download home workout apps for regular workouts in the living room (see links below)
  • Use the extra time to have a long shower, enjoy a morning coffee outside in the sunshine or take a proper lunchbreak
  • If you share a house, consider swapping round workstations every hour so you don’t end up sitting on the sofa all day
  • Stick to a healthy eating plan. Stock up on fresh food and embark on that health kick you always promised yourself. No snacking!
  • Open a window, enjoy the cleaner air

And last but not least,

Think about all those new tech skills you’ll have learnt by the end of it all and try and remember this is only temporary!

 

Useful websites

World Health Organisation https://www.who.int/

Mind https://www.mind.org.uk/

Mental Health UK https://mentalhealth-uk.org/

BBC tips for working at home https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51868894

Women’s Health 28 top workout apps to use while social distancing https://www.womenshealthmag.com/uk/fitness/workouts/a707729/home-workouts/