Mental health at home
A while ago, I posted these tips for working from home. However, these were very practical tips. Now that we’ve all found a place to work in our homes, we need to take care of something else: our mental state. A new phenomenon is actually being spotted, called ‘the work from home burn-out’. This is caused by some factors that make working from harder in some regards. Here are some things that might help you when working at home is getting to you and how to take care of your mental health from home!
Plan your day
Planning your day is really important. We used to have the time to travel to get in a work mindset and the time from work to home to leave work behind us (literally and figuratively!). Now that those natural switching times have disappeared, we have to create them.
For instance, I set a clock 15 minutes before work. From that time, I get my coffee, start up my computer and make a to do list for the day. It’s nothing major, but it gets me in the right mood. After work, I immediately put on a podcast and start walking to the supermarket. It gets me out of the work vibe immediately. This way, my work day has a clear beginning and a clear ending so I don’t keep working in my mind.
Make a list of things that make you happy
This might sound a bit silly, but when you’re feeling down, you tend to overlook things that are positive. Therefore, it can help to write down things that you can fall back on later. What usually gets you going? A nice cappuccino instead of just black coffee, a little walk around the block or watching a sketch from your favourite comedian.
Often, you get less positive stimuli when you work from home, but they are really important to get you going. Therefore, you have to consciously pencil them into your planning. Normally, you’d go for a nice lunch with colleagues or you’d have a drink on Fridays, now you need to find other peak moments in your day to recharge you and get your internal reward system firing. Two famous psychologists, Kahneman and Tversky, actually wrote a famous theory about that reward system. Did you know that losses actually loom way larger than gains? This means that for every loss or disappointment, you need twice as much positivity to remain feeling positive.
I already mention walking a few times and not without reason! Moving your body is a great way to reduce stress. Where you’d normally have some movement from and to the office, you’re now staying indoors and you lack movement.
I am not big on exercise and although I do some exercises at home, I prefer walking to lower my stress levels. I walk for half an hour to and from the supermarket every day and in the weekends, I walk in nature for at least two hours. If you’d like to know more about why walking works so well, you can take a look here.
With socialising, I don’t just mean your weekly Zoom meeting, but also some easy conversation. Normally, you’d have a little chat around the coffee machine. These coffee machine talks are great for bonding and recharging throughout the day, but it’s harder to maintain this casual conversation over Zoom. However, you might want to introduce morning calls with co-workers you like to still have that social interaction.
I’ve actually found a way with some working friends to keep this going. We are all online in a Zoom call. Most of us have the settings on muted and the volume very low and we’re just doing our jobs, but when something funny happens, it’s easier to share it with each other since you’re already in a call. This only works if you feel comfortable enough with each other, so you don’t feel the need to check how you look in the camera all the time, but it’s a great way to fake the small social interactions of an office.
Where do you need the conversation to go?
There’s a delicate balance between being open about your fears and keep hanging in them. What I’ve noticed in a lot of conversations is that they can go two ways: everyone is telling each other how they’re exercising, doing great and have no problems at all or everyone is down and complaining about how hard life has become. Both have upsides and downsides.
Honestly telling each other how we feel can be great, since you can create an environment where you can help each other with the battles you’re faced with. Inspire each other and find solace with each other to get through the day. However, the risk is that people in these conversations can focus too much on all the hard stuff and not about possible benefits of the lockdown, like spending more time with family or finally sleeping 8 hours a night where you weren’t able to before.
However, faking it all the time is just exhausting and by doing that, we give each other the feeling that we’re ‘doing it wrong’. You’re not alone in the struggles, we all have them and sometimes, you just need to hear that! Don’t make it better than it is. However, focussing on the positive will keep you going a lot longer than negativity will.
I hope these tips will help you to keep going. It’s tough on all of us, especially since we have no idea when it will end and if we’ll ever truly return to normal, but there are lots of things you can do to keep going! If you have tips, please share them in the comments below and let’s help each other! And if you liked this post, feel free to subscribe here for fresh posts every week or follow me on Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter.
Lots of love,
LisaHome » Mind » Self-care »