Mental health at home

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.

Move

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.

Socialise

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 InstagramPinterest and Twitter.

Lots of love,

Lisa

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Mental health at home

Hi there! My name is Lisa and I am the author of Mind and Body Intertwined. I have a bachelor's and a master's degree in psychology. During my study, I found out how much the mind and the body are connected and it fascinated me, which is why I started my blog. Would you like to join me on this little corner of the world?

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47 Comments on “Mental health at home

  1. I find getting on Zoom calls with my friends and just leaving it on while we do our work really reassuring too. Somehow, I focus better, I get more done, and I am less distracted by social media. Thanks for sharing these tips! 🙂

    • Yeah it’s really strange, but it actually works pretty well. Maybe because the times that you do get distracted, you’re re-energizing, whereas social media can feel draining as well.

  2. Great tips! Working at home is a whole different beast! I like your ideas of walking and getting into and then out of the work mindset when it’s time. I think it’s important to have boundaries or otherwise you could just end up working constantly! Thanks!

  3. Mental health is so important and the tips you shared are helpful especially moving around, doing what makes you happy and socializing. It really gets boring and lonely sometimes staying at home.

    • Thank you! I think that combination of boredom and loneliness is the worst thing of the lockdown in general.

  4. Such great ideas! I’ve really missed my officemates and getting to chat about little things throughout the day. We teams each other but it’s just not the same!

  5. Love this post!! Especially during lockdown and this whole year, I’ve found getting outside to be very helpful to my mental health. I also try to stay active most days. Day light savings time is always harder for me. I get tired and the darkness really gets to me. I take vitamins to help with my energy though and I try to get ouside when it’s light out.

    ~Brittany

  6. Good tips. My life has been hectic lately flipping a house, buying a new house, working from home full time, and homeschooling my two kids. So I will try out your suggestions and hopefully feel less harried.

    • That indeed sounds really hectic. Hope you’re managing and I certainly hope these tips will help!

  7. These are such great tips! I have a love-hate relationship when it comes to working from home so I will definitely be trying these tips to help me out. I agree with the walks, I’ve never walked so much in my life and I can feel the benefits of it for sure!

    Tarryn Leigh | http://www.tarrynleigh.com

  8. I love working from home because social interaction is so minimal and my little introvert heart just adores it! But it is easy to get burnt out when you feel like you’re “on call” all the time, so I like to definitely separate work time from personal time!

    Have a routine to get in and out of work mode is so critical these days, thanks for sharing this post!

    • Sounds like you’re managing the situation great! Keep it up 😁

  9. These are some great tips, Lisa. I’ve been a homeworker for nearly 12 years and you’re right, planning the day makes ALL the difference. As does getting up and moving around, even if it’s only to get a drink 🙂

    • Yeah I think planning forces us to find a goal for the day, which motivates us to actually do it!

  10. Really great tips! This year has been such an adjustment for everyone and it’s especially important to take care of our mental health during this time. I always plan my day ahead of time so I have something to look forward to 🙂

  11. I love this! I’m definitely reaching a point of starting to struggle again, and this has some great tips on how to change things up again. Getting out more is a must, I’ve definitely slipped since the evenings got darker. Thanks for the tips!

    • Thank you! I think we all need a little kick to get out there with weather like this, but it can help a lot.

    • That’s such a great gift idea! It’s good to be aware of the good things in our lives. I hope it’ll help you with that.

  12. Great tips! I often forget to get myself into a work mindset. I just get up and hit the ground running, then wonder why I’m out of sorts. My work day has no clear beginning or end. I really like your idea of taking 15 minutes in the morning to get into my work day. I will definitely start to implement that into my routine. Thanks for sharing!!

  13. These are great tips and I failed miserably at them when I first went to work at home. I think scheduling my day and movement are the two most essential for me. When my day wasn’t scheduled, I worked non-stop and felt guilty whenever I wasn’t working. I was never out of “work mode”.

    • I think we all failed miserably in the beginning haha! And how great that you already figured that out! That’s a great first step I think.

  14. These are such good ways to maintain a healthy work/life balance while living at home! I think it’s so important to not just stay still, as you say, and to look after your mental health and physical health equally during these tough times. Thanks for sharing x

    • Thank you! It may take some more work, but I think it’s worth it as well!

  15. Some fab tips here, thank you for sharing. Definitely agree with moving around – I found that always helps when I’m working at a desk all day long!

    Tash – A Girl with a View

  16. This post was so relevant, indeed! To be completely honest, I am a homebody and working from home has been pretty much a dream for me since last March. However, it is true that I´ve been esperiencing issues to disconnect at the end of the working day. In the summetime it was easy, since I could go out for a walk but as time went cooler I found myself struggling a bit. I recently changed my daily shower to the evening, and that combined with a pampering beauty ritual has worked wonders for my mental health.

    Thank you so much for the tips! I think I will try them out.

    • That sounds like a great idea, changing up your normal routine can help with your focus and doing something relaxing can take your mind off the day you’ve just had!

    • I hope it works for you! Maybe you can plan some short walks throughout the day to motivate you to do it?

  17. I always work from home (long before COVID) but I’m really struggling at the moment. Lots of these things help me though. Movement, exercise and going for walks seem to be my saviour at the moment!

    • Yeah it’s really strange how movement can help your mental status, but I’m glad to hear it’s working as well for you!

  18. Hi Lisa. Some great tips there, thank you. It’s so important to take some time now and then to be thankful for the good/positive things that you have in your life – as you say, our natural inclination is to give more emphasis to the negative ones. And your point about movement is good, too. Many years ago when I first had back pain my GP made a fantastic, yet very simple, suggestion – instead of picking up the ‘phone when I wanted to speak with a colleague I should get up out of my chair and actually go and speak with them in person! It did wonders for my back and, no doubt, had other benefits too. Now I do it at home (I’m working in an upstairs bedroom and my wife is working in the dining room!).

    • That such a great way of incorporating more movements into your day! Thank you for sharing that.

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