Covid-19 and managing mental health

The last six weeks have been for most of us a learning curve. Managing to work from home and trying to maintain a healthy work and life balance can be tough. The struggle to maintain a high level of output, whilst without the normal conveniences of the office environment is something I am sure we are all well acquainted with. The novelty of working from home can wear out quickly so it is important to keep on top of how you are feeling. It is important to check in with yourself on both your mental and physical wellbeing. Some common feelings you may be experiencing include;

  • Isolated, disconnected from others both socially and professionally
  • Difficultly staying motivated
  • Difficulty prioritising your workload
  • Not being able to ‘switch off from work’
  • Insomnia and sleep problems
  • Feeling like you’re not performing up to your standard
  • Not being able to measure your performance or know if you are preforming ok

I have used some of the tips below to manage some of the issues raised above. You may find these helpful irrespective of which level we are at. With more businesses opting to give employees working from home opportunities these tools can be integrated at any time:

  • Setting up structure and routine for your workday. Make sure to separate time for both ‘work time’ and ‘home time’
    • The key here is to set boundaries to treat your day as you normally would. Have regular start times and finish time. Make sure you structure your day with breaks.
    • Take some time before the end of the working day to write a list of jobs or tasks that need to be achieved for the next day. Ticking off the items one by one in the list once completed will give you a sense of achievement and energise you for the next task.
    • Create cues by getting changed into work clothes at the start of the day like you would normally.
  • Create a separate workspace in your home. This should be separate from your bedroom.
    • The bedroom should be a place to relax and wind down after a long day. And setting up your workspace in the bedroom can interfere with this and rather become a place where you are alert, awake and switched on.
  • Stay in touch with your co-workers and your managers by Zoom or other means of communication.
    • This is more difficult outside the office, but it is important to make meetings and check in with you colleagues to maintain social connection and positive relationship.
    • Similarly, staying connected with others will help reduce your stress, allow you to manage your workflow therefore stay productive and motivated.
    • It will also allow you to keep your managers up to date with your workflow and keep them informed of what you are working on.
  • Try to switch off from the digital world.
    • Although technology has proven to be a great tool to stay connected it can also make it difficult to switch off, and separate work from home. Set aside time after work to reconnect with friends and family. Catch-up on the latest episodes on your favourite TV series or simply go for a walk outside each day to rewind.

There are many tools and tricks that are available online to help you cope through these times. Here’s a link to the Ministry of Health website, where they provide information and tools to support you.

https://www.health.govt.nz/our-work/diseases-and-conditions/covid-19-novel-coronavirus/covid-19-novel-coronavirus-health-advice-general-public/covid-19-mental-health-and-wellbeing-resources

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