How can I mind my mental health while working online?
Most people are finding that their work is now online and it is likely that this will continue for some time.
There are pro’s and con’s for working online, the important thing is to look after yourself physically and mentally as they are both crucial to your wellbeing.
One of the pro’s of online work is that you save your commute time, for some that can mean up to two hours extra per day when they are not travelling.
It is important that you consider this your time, and don’t just let this extra time blend in to extra hours of work. Unless you are self employed, it is unlikely that this extra work will benefit you personally. Even if you are self employed, you will get more benefit out of using this time for your personal benefit.
This extra time can be used for exercise or mindfulness or meditation or recreational reading or phoning a friend. If you don’t take advantage of this extra time, it will just blend into your day and you will not get much benefit, indeed if you spend the extra time working, your health will suffer.
A con of working online is that you miss out on social opportunities at the work place, there is no chat at the coffee station, or lunches with colleagues or office banter or after work socialising.
One suggestion is to have 10 minutes at the beginning or end of a meeting or indeed at the beginning or end of the day for a chat about how everybody is doing.
Not everyone will feel comfortable with this so it can be a good idea to set a theme for the chat so that those who do not want to talk about themselves personally can still have something to talk about. The theme could be a movie that is decided on the previous month so everyone has the chance to watch it, it could be a chat about what holidays people would like to go on or it could just be a chat about 1 personal positive in the previous week. It could be a chat about good series to watch or good books to read or good websites for hobbies or exercise etc.
Resilience and adaptability to change are what will help preserve our mental health during these tough times, it is a challenge for everyone, and it is as important to maintain or mental health as it is our physical health.
Keeping the boundary between work and home life is crucial. Not everyone has a spare room to use as a home office, those who do can and must close the door on work when the working day finishes.
If you are working from your sitting room or a corner in your bedroom, it is very important that you close your laptop or switch off your desktop to mark the end of your working day. This is important for all people working from home.
Obviously everyone’s circumstances are different and some people work flexi hours and to project deadlines. However, if you don’t get enough rest and sleep and sufficient time away from work, you will not be as productive or accurate in your work, in addition your mental health will suffer and you will be at risk of burnout.