The new normal at the moment for many people involves working from home and generally being in the house a lot more than usual! None of these activities come naturally to most of us and are likely to place increased stress on households.
Some simple, easy and inexpensive adaptions to home environments and daily activities can help you persist in your regular role despite a wildly changed world. This can improve feelings of health and well being.
Below are some simple suggestions for supporting you in managing your work and activities during the COVID 19 restrictions:
1. Stick with your routine/Set a schedule
Wake up at your normal time, shower and get dressed in clothes you would typically wear to work (not your lion onesie or Peter Alexander PJ’s!). This helps to mentally prepare for the day ahead and get into the “I’m going to work” mindset.
A schedule or timetable is helpful in providing structure and assisting to motivate you in attending to the required work tasks. If you typically work nine-to-five hours, keep doing it at home, as much as possible. At the same time, flexibility within the timetable is essential and it must provide for regular rest breaks.
If you do not find a timetable helpful or natural to use, you might try a “to do list” which can be filled with your daily work tasks and ticked of as each one is achieved.
2. Set up the environment
Set up the environment in a designated area of the house for “work”. This space should be only used for your work at the designated work times.
Ensure that the furniture is both comfortable and safe to use. This involves using ergonomic furniture wherever possible, i.e. a desk with an appropriate firm backed chair appropriate for your height and physical constitution.
Create order and remove clutter and distractions from this space. Besides assisting you to get in to the “work” mindset, these environmental adjustments will also help to maintain good posture, avoid distractions, and set boundaries around work and non-work time.
3. Ensure regular rest breaks
These breaks should be incorporated into your schedule; otherwise they are likely to not happen!
Open your windows to get some fresh air and let in as much natural daylight as possible, take short walks (alone) and move your body a little.
Also have cups of tea, engage in a mindfulness activity or generally do whatever you find relaxing and rejuvenating!
4. Stay connected with your colleagues
If you work on a team, make sure to check in regularly just like you would in the office. Set up regular check-ins via phone or video conferencing like Skype, FaceTime, or Zoom.
Sheraan is a Mental Health Occupational Therapist, BAppSc (Occ Therapy) who specialises in working with adults, adolescents and children in the community where mental health difficulties impact on their ability to perform in their everyday function and participation in the community.
Sheraan has 20 years of experience working at a tertiary level. She has worked in community, inpatient, forensic and residential mental health settings with both children and adults. Sheraan is skilled in providing both individual and group based recovery focussed interventions according to what will be most helpful to the individual person.