Building mental resilience while working from home
Over the past 18 months, you’ve more than likely worked from home for a good percentage of the time. Even as we emerge from the pandemic, you may continue to do so, or at least part of the time.
While working from home has benefits, it can sometimes take its toll too. Especially if you’ve been doing it for a long period of time and your resilience to the situation is beginning to wane. Work and home life can easily blur together, and you might feel ‘stale’ or ‘trapped’ working and living in the same space.
Resilience, in a nutshell, is your ability to deal with and respond to challenging situations. Here, we share six practical ways to boost your mental resilience while working from home.
Maintain a routine
If you think back to your pre-COVID work life, it’s easy to see the differences to your day. Your daily habits supported your mental health, without you even knowing it. Your commute to and from work, catching up with colleagues over coffee, or perhaps meeting a client for lunch. All these things boost your mental health through connection, interaction and movement.
Having a similar routine to the one you had in the office can help you transition better into ‘work mode’.
- Make a point of getting dressed and ready for your working day, rather than working in pyjamas or lounging clothes.
- Go for a short walk before and after work to help create the structure of a working day.
- Set an alarm or diary reminder to take your lunch break, as well as regular breaks throughout the day.
- Shut down your computer properly when you’re scheduled to finish work so you’re not tempted to carry on checking emails into the evening.
Challenge negative thought patterns
If you feel stressed or find yourself thinking negative thoughts, stop for a moment and try to challenge them. For example, you might be fearing the worst about an outcome, but try to reframe the situation and identify any positives. Studies show that people who take an optimistic outlook on events tend to deal with them better.
Your resilience to both work-related stresses and life events will build as you overcome negative thought patterns in a positive way.
Actively manage your energy
Mindfulness is a term we hear a lot when it comes to wellbeing – and for good reason. It helps you become aware of what’s going on right now in your mind and body. Practising mindfulness regularly can help reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety, and has been linked to resilience.
Make time to really notice how you feel and what your energy levels are like. If you’re feeling flat, stressed or anxious, take a break from work and try to identify what’s causing these feelings? What can you do to shift those feelings and increase your energy or improve your mood?
Working from home can sometimes be lonely. It’s easy to feel ‘out of the loop’ or not connected to colleagues and friends. Make time to connect with others, in person or virtually. Keep talking to your family and friends about how you’re feeling. Talking things through can help you feel better and might give you a fresh perspective on the things that are worrying you. Check in on others too – this can help you feel connected and purposeful.
Prioritising self-care can build your resilience and keep you feeling well. Look after yourself by eating a healthy, well-balanced diet, exercising regularly and getting enough quality sleep.
During harder times, or maybe just after a difficult day, make a point of doing something to show yourself kindness and compassion. Think of the things that make you feel better and make the effort to carry one or two of them out. Do some yoga, go for a walk or cook your favourite meal.
Design your environment
One negative to working in an office is having limited control over your desk setup, such as its location and personal touches. Embrace the opportunity to create your own work environment at home. Think about the things that boost your wellbeing or you like having around you.
- Treat yourself to flowers or a house plant to have on your desk.
- Light a candle or buy a diffuser that contains your favourite scent.
- Put on some relaxing background music.
- Change it around – reorganise or relocate your working space from time to time to keep things fresh.
This blog is one of a series of articles from our commercial partners. The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of ICAS.
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