A Short Wellbeing Guide to Working from Home During the Corona Virus
We are undoubtedly experiencing an unprecedented time of uncertainty and things are changing by the hour. Many of us are experiencing fear, upset and panic. I don’t know a single person who hasn’t been impacted by this virus in some way, whether that has been physically by having the virus itself, personal heartbreaks such as cancelled weddings or cancelled trips of a lifetime or economically with people worried about their jobs and small businesses trying to keep afloat. No one is exempt from the impact this virus is having and what is unusual and somehow comforting, is that we are all in this together as a global family.
Blaming other people for this doesn’t get us anywhere. Resisting the reality of what is happening will only turbo charge our suffering. Trying to control, interpret and evaluate something that is unknown and relatively out of our control is just creating conflict within ourselves. What we can control is our attitude towards the situation and trust that this will pass, like everything does and by staying calm and working together collectively, we will get through this and come out stronger.
Research shows that the average person’s performance and wellbeing peaks after 2.5 days of working from home, after this performance, mood and wellbeing can decrease. Therefore, the focus of this communication is on action and how we can stay well during this time of self-isolation.
- Fear, like all other emotions, is contagious. Be mindful of who you are speaking to regularly and the WhatsApp group you are in. Limit your consumption of the news and social media and stick to reputable sites such as WHO, NHS, Public Health England and Gov.uk.
- We are social beings who need to connect meaningfully with other humans and clearly being in isolation prevents this from happening. Embrace video calls during this time, even if a voice call is all that is required because it will communicate to the primal part of your brain that you are socially connected and safe with a sense of belonging.
- Keep moving- Being sedentary all day is not only unhealthy for your body, but it will also prevent you from being creative and thinking clearly. The spinal fluid pumping to your brain will decrease by over 50% if you sit for long periods of time creating “brain fog” so plan some form of exercise into your schedule the night before and commit to it. Get up and move around regularly. If you can do this outside even better! Aim to be outdoors for at least 20 minutes per day to support your circadian rhythm- which controls your sleep-wake cycle and to receive your daily vitamin D boost (even if it is cloudy).
- Use the extra time you have gained from not commuting or being distracted in the office to reinvest in yourself. This could mean resting mentally with some napping, walking or meditation or it could mean cooking real wholefood meals for yourself and your family.
- Look after your mental health- Be aware of your thoughts and see them for what they are, projections of the future or stories about the past. Either way, they aren’t real. Negative thoughts change the biochemistry and therefore hormones in your blood and this will actually compromise your immune system, something we need to be strong and flourishing right now. Don’t try and not have negative thoughts because you will always have them, it is how humans have been designed! Just don’t attach a judgement to them, let them come and go.
- Set up and design your new workspace for optimal wellbeing and performance. To get started, consider the following things:
- Find workspace near a window or natural light
- Keep a jug of water on the desk with you, consuming 3.7 litres/day for men and 2.7 litres/day for women
- Surround your workspace with air purifying plants
- Set your laptop and chair height correctly, stacking books under your laptop for extra height and cushions for back support
- Keep surfaces clean and declutter at regular intervals
- Open windows and ensure there is some natural ventilation coming into the work space
- Philanthropy– During this time it is important to support people who may be more vulnerable than you. Consider setting up some support groups locally for people who can’t leave the house for groceries or who may need a phone call and some virtual company. Helping others is not only great for the community but will also make you feel good.
- Have boundaries and create a new routine– Ensure you are not over working to compensate for any fear you may feel or due to the blurring of home life and work life. It has never been more important for you to embrace this time to look after your own wellbeing. Decide on the times you are going to log on in the morning and log off in the evening and then commit to it. Clear your desk space away for the evening and create a real separation between work and your relaxation times.
- Eat real rainbow foods- Support your immune and gut health by aiming to eat 5 pieces of veg and 4 pieces of fruit each day. Consume as many different colours from the rainbow as possible to collect as many different antioxidants, vitamins and minerals as possible. Whilst the supermarkets are bizarrely out of toilet paper they are fully stocked up in the fresh fruit and veg aisle!
- Personal development and joy- You might not think now is the time to be focused on learning, self-development or personal projects but actually there is not a better time to throw yourself into something you are passionate about outside of work. In your work breaks, evenings and at the weekend, throw yourself into a project you have wanted to dive into for ages. Pick something which is aligned to your values. It could be getting the garden ready for the summer, learning to play the guitar, an online course, it doesn’t matter but it needs to be something which sparks light and joy in you and gets you out of your head and into a flow state.
My final thoughts…
As an accredited professional in the WELL Building Standard I will be sharing how to take best practise from the office into your home workspaces. Feel free to follow me on social media during this time if this is of interest: Instagram= @rise_well_ and Linked In= Jen Christie)
From today, I am offering 4 x 30 mins FREE wellbeing coaching sessions per day over video call. This will take place daily at 11am, 11:30am, 3pm and 3:30pm. This is an opportunity for anyone to ask questions about any aspect of their new lifestyle, wellbeing, mental health and/or ways to adjust to working from home in isolation. Please email firstname.lastname@example.org to organise a time slot.
Take care of yourselves,
Workplace Wellbeing Consultant & Founder of Rise Well
High Performance & Wellbeing Coach at The Conscious Coach
BSc Physiology & Exercise Science
WELL Building Accredited Professional
Mental Health First Aider