Miscellaneous

Living with a Mental Illness: Working from Home & Keeping Routine

It turns out working from home isn’t how it was portrayed in Fifth Harmony’s Work From Home music video. It isn’t as glamourous, there’s no topless men with six packs (believe me, I’ve looked) and I didn’t see them make one cup of tea where as I have to survive on at least 5 cups a day.

It’s hard. That’s the truth. We are not on the front line and are safe at home, but that doesn’t make it easy to be out of our normal work environment and routine. We are having to adapt to a new way of life, to a new routine and lifestyle and we’re having to adapt pretty quickly. So how are we coping? Are we even coping? I just tried to make a deal to shave mine and my boyfriends head as a hair-growing competition so you tell me.

However there are strategies we can use to keep positive, look after our mental health and adapt as much as we possibly can.

Try and keep to your usual work routine

Easier said than done as it’s tempting to stay in bed as you don’t have to travel anywhere or look semi-decent these days. However, it’s important to try and keep that body clock following the same pattern. We have previously written about morning self-care and creating your own routine and promoting a healthy workplace balance. Waking up earlier will give yourself some time to wake up and create a calmer environment instead of rushing around.

Continue basic self-care

It’s only natural to get into the habit of letting some of our basic self-care slide if we are isolating at home. However this can start to effect how we are feeling and how we feel about ourselves. A nice hot shower can do wonders for mental health and make us feel that little bit more human. I have been trying to make sure that I continue to change out of my pjamas and get ready for the day like I used to. This doesn’t mean I’m putting on lippy and wearing jeans, but it makes a small transition from I-still-have-chocolate-on-my-pjs to professional-work-Emma.

Make sure you are taking regular breaks

I’m amazing at this I won’t lie to you. But to those who are staying at their desks for hours on end, don’t. You need those breaks. They allow for your eyes to adjust, for your brain to switch off for a bit and it encourages you to have regular drinks. If you have a garden – look how sunny it is at the moment! Go out for 5 minutes and enjoy the sun, it makes that bit of a difference.

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Create a new calm new work environment

I’m lucky to have a space in my study which I currently am working at. I share this space with my partner and our giant horse-dog and it’s nice to have somewhere separate to focus on work and then go to the lounge or garden for a break. Make sure your environment is clear from clutter, has comfy seats, has enough light and is quiet enough for you to be able to concentrate. I find I work better with some background noise so have podcasts on in the background. Make the environment work for you.

Reach out to your colleagues/boss/other self-employed people

We may be isolating but it’s important we avoid feeling isolated. Reach out to your colleagues, check in with your boss, if you are self-employed reach out to others who are feeling just like you right now. Continue the conversation, a quick catch up with your colleagues can go a long way. Encourage your team to possibly take part in a quiz outside of work hours. It’s so easy to feel alone right now so use the contacts you have and reach out.

These are hard times we are going through, but we are not alone and will continue to adapt the best we can.

Thank you to our key workers and to the NHS for continuing to leave their homes to work. We salute you and we clap for you.

Emma x

Do you have any tips or advice about how to keep up your work routine at home? Please share in the comments below.

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