Over the last year, the majority of people across the world have been completing their day-to-day work tasks from kitchens, bedrooms and home offices.
Working in this way has definitely been a challenge. Many people have struggled with communication within their teams, whilst others have suffered from loneliness and isolation, presenting social and emotional challenges. Working in the same place that you sleep, eat and relax is taxing for our emotional wellbeing.
With all of this in mind, it’s critical that you are finding ways to separate your work responsibilities and tasks from your day-to-day living. Whether you’re enjoying the work-from-home life, or you can’t wait to get back to the office, this article provides 5 easy tips that you can implement into your week to boost your mental health and prevent working from home blurring the boundaries and consuming your life..
Tip #1: Match your wardrobe to your task
Clothes definitely frame our mindset. If we’re lounging on the couch in our dressing gown and fluffy slippers, our mind and body will associate this with relaxation rather than productivity.
So, whilst it may be tempting to work in your pyjamas from your bed, push yourself to wear the clothes that you normally would if you were in the office. This habit will help to separate your working hours from the you-time that you should be enjoying in the evening.
Once your work day is finished, then it’s time to jump back into those comfy clothes. Literally shake the working day off by changing your clothes into something much more comfortable. In the same way that we focus the mind with our daytime outfit, we can relax the mind and switch off from the trials of the work day by changing our clothes.
Throw on your pyjamas or that oversized hoodie. For the extra comfort levels, dig out your fleecy socks. If you don’t have any, head online and grab some – if you or your family are a fan of the recent teddy bedding trend, these teddy fabric socks will be your dream come true. Combine these socks with a bath and you’ll instantly switch off from the day.
In the same way that we would kick off our shoes when we came home from our work commute, switch into comfy socks to remind yourself that you’re home and relaxing. Plus, we lose the most heat from our feet and our head, so keeping your feet toasty will make your whole body feel cosy, and right at home.
If you follow these physical actions, your brain is sure to follow, and will switch off from the meetings and the to-do lists lurking in the background.
Tip #2: Go Outside
When you’re working, living, eating, cleaning and breathing in the same space, it can be tempting to roll from your desk to the bed and watch the evening pass by whilst you binge Netflix.
Don’t get me wrong – there’s nothing wrong with Netflix. I’m particularly enjoying The Crown as much current lockdown binge! However, if you’re staying indoors all day then you’re missing out on the fantastic health benefits associated with the great outdoors.
Plus, if you have kids your evening can be quickly swept up in school runs and cooking, leaving no time for you to separate your work day from your evening. It’s useful for your children to separate school from home too!
It’s actually been proved that being outside and looking at the odd tree lowers your blood pressure and limits the production of cortisol and adrenaline. These are two of the hormones that induce feelings of stress and anxiety.
So, why not build a daily walk into your schedule? Once you close the laptop lid, grab your shoes and enjoy some fresh air. If you have kids, take them for a walk straight after school.
Not only is this tip great for your physical wellbeing, but it will wash away the stress and concerns of the day. As a result, when you get home you’ll be in full relaxation mode, switched off from your work woes and will be ready to enjoy whatever you want for the rest of the evening.
Tip #3 – Stay Active
Whether you love it or hate it, exercise is fantastic for your mental wellbeing. The problem is, people think that to exercise you have to go on runs that last two hours, or spend a small fortune on a gym membership. There’s so much pressure to exercise in the ‘right’ way, but the truth is that any physical activity is beneficial for you, so find a form of exercise that you enjoy. If you enjoy your activity, you’re more likely to complete it and return to it.
It’s a great idea to split your day with a workout. Once you finish your work for the day, change into your workout clothes and settle in for an exercise session.
This is especially beneficial if you’ve had a hard day. If a colleague has said or done something that bothered you, or a piece of work is frustrating you, use all of those emotions during your exercise. By the time you’ve completed your exercise, you’ll feel much calmer.
Exercise increases the level of endorphins in your system, which is why you’ll often feel much better after exercising. Endorphins are the feel-good chemicals in your brain, so if you need some extra feel-good in your life, it’s time to dig out that sports bra.
If you’re new to the world of exercise, try EMK FIT’s YouTube channel. These workouts are fantastic because they’re FREE! However, they’re also less than 30 minutes, and they’re themed by popular films and music. From ABBA and Disney to Beyonce and rap music, you’ll find a workout to suit you. If you have kids, they’ll love joining in with these exercises too – kill two birds with one stone!
You may need to push yourself to do it, but splitting the day with exercise is a great way to clear your mind. Plus you’ll be so focused on your achy joints that you won’t have any time to still be thinking about work.
Tip #4 – Embrace the world of podcasts
This tip is especially useful if you live alone It can be really difficult to switch off after a long day if there’s nobody else in your home to talk to. Enter podcasts!
Podcasts are becoming much more popular, and are easily accessible across Spotify, Apple Podcasts, YouTube, Google and Amazon as well as hundreds of other audio sites. Again, this is a free resource that will allow your mind to engage with lighter topics so that it switches off from the reports, emails and meetings you’ve been dealing with all day.
If you haven’t spoken to anyone all day, podcasts are a great way to stimulate your brain socially – they will engage you with other people’s opinions, and can even create the atmosphere that you’re having the casual chat with someone else. Some of my recommendations include:
- We Are Netflix: take Netflix and Chill to a new level with the company’s official podcast. Gain an extra insight into your favourite series and the world behind the TV screen.
- You’re Dead to Me: this podcast is run by the guy behind Horrible Histories and always features three people. This one is great for learning new skills and having a good giggle.
- A Sprinkle of Disney: if you’re a Disney fan, this podcast will put a smile on your face. Take an hour out of your day to embrace some movie magic.
After spending all day staring at screens, it’s likely that your eyes will need a screen break. Podcasts are the perfect answer to this – they provide something else to engage and relax your mind without forcing your eyes to concentrate. Listening to podcasts can be beneficial if you suffer from headaches and need to get away from the screen glares.
Play a podcast whilst you’re on a walk, or cooking your dinner, and you’ll switch off from your work day in no time.
Tip #5 – Set up video calls as part of your week
Research has shown that people who take part in regular social activities have a much better quality of life. It’s therefore critical that you implement social contact into your week.
If you have calls scheduled into your weekly routine, you’ll naturally avoid working late nights. Chatting with friends or family will give you a chance to discuss topics other than work.
Plus, your mental health will definitely benefit from regular chats with loved ones. If you bottle thoughts and feelings up, you’re going to find it difficult to switch off from your work. Having time to chat with your friends and family presents the perfect opportunity for you to get all of you work worries off your chest and move on with your evening.
So there you have it! 5 easy top tips that will help you leave the woes and worries of the working day behind so that you can enjoy your evening and weekend.