As a lot of us continue to work from home for the majority of the week, and with a move to more hybrid models of working in the post Covid future, it’s important to think of how we look after ourselves at home.
Maybe you’re missing the chats by the coffee machine, the smiles as you say good morning, the new connections made with people in the office. The loss of all of this can contribute to feelings of isolation or even depression. Take a look below at my top 5 tips for self care when working from home….
Once, your home was your sanctuary in the evenings and on days off – a place to relax, chill out, and be yourself in. But now, it’s your office, your canteen, your meeting room and your home. And this could lead to getting fed up of being at home. So try to put in some boundaries to separate the place between home and work.
If you have the advantage of having space in your home for a home office then that’s great, you can shut the door at the end of the day and leave work there. However for most people, the “home office” becomes a corner of a lounge, or an area of the bedroom, making leaving work behind at the end of the day very difficult. So whatever your set up, try to create boundaries between home and work; clear away work at the end of the day, make sure you don’t leave paperwork lying around that might remind you of your ‘to do’ list every time you walk past.
Life is full of rituals and routines – they help us feel secure and give us headspace to concentrate on more complex things.
Work will likely have been full of rituals too; the way you make your coffee, the time of day you tend to go for a wander around to the photocopier, or the order in which you unpack your lunch.
It’s possible that the move to home working has left you bereft of some of these rituals, so maybe it’s time to make some new ones.
Create a ritual at the end of each work shift; Don’t be tempted to leave the computer on in the background whilst you cook dinner. this will only serve to blur the boundaries between home and work. switching off and packing up or switching on some music can help to change your mindset from work to home.
Maybe you can carve out some time to make a special lunch, or just take a coffee break in an outside space to get some fresh air. Try to find new rituals which will help you feel more in control.
One benefit to working from home is the lack of commuting time. But what the commute often did for us is create a time to ‘decompress’ from the day. That train/car journey or walk home was a transition time to take you from work into home life. Routine is also good for our mental health. It creates predictability, which our brain likes.
So now that you’ve lost the old commute, try ways to recreate this. Perhaps going for a walk or a run after work. Or even taking a cuppa out for a wander in the garden for 5 minutes if you can. Redefine your commute.
4. Self Care
We all know that self care is important right? But it’s so easy, when working from home, to let self care go by the wayside when the computer is on in the corner of the lounge. So how can you make sure you put yourself first at home?
Firstly, get to know your body. How do you feel when you become overwhelmed? Tense shoulders? Racing heart? Tight chest? Recognise the way you feel and when you feel the first signs of this, break the cycle by taking a self care break. Is yoga your thing? Do a quick YouTube yoga workout to get your body moving and breathe some space into your busy day. Maybe a quick walk or a run? Or perhaps it’s just having a mindful moment over a cuppa. Find little ways that work for you and schedule them in throughout the day.
5. Ask For Help
Working from home can leave you feeling isolated from colleagues. So find out what your workplace provides in terms of support. Is there an Employee Assistance Programme? Or a buddy system where colleagues can look out for each other? Ask your manager about activities that might be going on online or locally and join in. Always take the time to tell someone how you’re feeling and ask for extra support.
For more self care tips check out my 5 self care activities that don’t cost you a Penny!
Amy is a qualified counsellor working in Kent and online with adults and adolescents. Amy works with a range of issues and specialises in working with neurodivergent individuals and their families.
For more information, contact Amy here.