Looking after your mental health during COVID-19

We’re living in an unprecedented time and as Australia (and the world) grapples with the ever-evolving situation a lot of businesses have sent employees to do their work from home.

While working from home may seem ideal – roll out of bed and you’re at work – for a lot of people, particularly people living alone, this may mean an increased sense of isolation and feelings of loneliness.

In some cases, it may even lead to burn out.

Writer and editor, Fiona Wright who “has worked from home for more than 10 years” recently spoke with Patrick Wright from ABC Life to share her top tips of taking care of your mental health when working from home.

“When I first started working from home, I’d wake up, roll to my desk and power through, basically until my housemates came home and pointed out that I hadn’t moved since they’d left for work in the morning,” Ms Wright is quoted as saying.

“It was unsustainable, and I burnt myself out completely.”

Tips for working from home

Ms Wright suggests the following tips if you’re working from home:

  • “Aim for at least one face-to-face conversation a day.”

Ah, the beauty of modern technology – make the most of apps like WhatsApp, Skype or Facetime or other videoconferencing tools and make sure checking in with your colleagues for a face-to-face chat at least once in your day.

  • “Don’t stay in your pjs all day.”

As tempting as this one might be (I’ll be the first one to admit I’m guilty of this every time I work from home) it’s a great idea to get up, shower and get dressed as if you are physically heading into the office.

This will help with staying in your regular routine as well.

  • “Set boundaries and time limits.”

When working from home it might be hard to deal with distractions. Schedule in set blocks of time “where you can focus on a single task”.

  • “Schedule in breaks and know when to stop.”

While it may be tempting to power through your day without stopping, taking your lunch break like you would in the office will help you stay motivated, refreshed and ready to go in the afternoon.

And know when to stop – it’s easy to work longer hours when you’re at home.

  • “Schedule in some time for yourself.”

As much as possible stick to your normal routine – that includes any activities you would normally do in the morning before work (or in the evening after work).

So, if you would normally exercise before heading into the office, make sure you do that when working from home too.

For those who are in quarantine or who are self-isolating, there are great workout videos on YouTube that you can do without leaving your lounge room. My personal favourites are: ‘Yoga with Adriene’ and ‘Rebecca-Louise’ fitness.

Reach out for help

Remember – if you’re lonely, isolated, anxious and you need help, contact the following services: