‘A single positive thought can change your whole day!’
Blog by Hali Long
Mental health & working from home.
With everything that is happening right now in the world, positive thinking is so important. Why? Well, by starting your day with a single positive thought, whatever that may be, it not only has a profound impact on how your day turns out, but also on your thought patterns generally. If you do not believe me, try it and see.
With the vast majority of people now working from home, many are now finding this a challenge. I have been working from home for the past eight years, so I guess you could say I have adjusted to the change, however I still have days where I find it extremely isolating and challenging. For most people, who have been used to going into the office and having a daily commute, though initially working from home was a fresh change and indeed many prefer it, there are also many who are now after six months, finding it immensely hard, due to the drastic change in their routine, lack of structure perhaps and not being able to communicate and socialise in the same way with colleagues.
Unfortunately, many are also faced with being at home, due to having been made redundant, and may be finding it hard to keep positive and focused whilst job searching in this current climate. Whilst this is a worrying time, I cannot stress the importance enough of hanging in there, don’t give up, keep busy, try and get outside in the fresh air and remain optimistic!
Through my own experiences, I hope I can offer some tips for others in coping with home-working/being at home. This is where ‘positive thinking’ comes in as well. For example, instead of waking up and thinking to yourself, ‘ Oh no it’s Monday, and it’s a dreary day, plus I’ve got loads of zoom calls today and tons of emails to send… etc etc’, stop yourself right there and instead think, ‘ It’s the start of a new week, it’s going to be a good week and even though the sun may not be shining outside, I’m still going to get outside and enjoy it!’. Easier said than done I know, however it takes 21 days to change a habitual way of thinking, and lots of practice. I know, as I used to be a pessimist but have changed that. It takes time and practice to change the thought patterns in the pathways of your brain, but it can be done and is worth the effort as it really does make a huge difference in your life.
Stick to your hours;
Some may feel the whole structure of their day has changed, which for many of course it has. When your office is at home though, it can be extremely easy to drift into an unhealthy pattern of working, from checking your emails 24/7 , to not taking a lunch break and getting your daily dose of vitamin D. So, what can you do?
– Try and be disciplined and start your working day and finish at the same time you would have done in the office, if you can. If not, you do not truly ‘switch off’, which in turn affects our mental health.
Do not become too attached to your phone!
– Don’t take your phone with you everywhere. By that I mean, when you take a break for a cuppa or quick coffee or your lunch break, wherever you go, whether it’s just in another room or in the garden , leave your phone on your desk. Your emails can wait until after your break. Likewise, try and have some space from your phone in the evening. If you charge it in your room at night, try not to have it right next to you, so that you resist that temptation to have a sneeky look! Personally, I try my hardest not to look at my phone until after I have showered and had breakfast.
– Change the location of your desk – it can become monotonous working and living in the same space continually, so it’s important to have a change around occasionally. Even if you haven’t got a lot of space to work with, just simply moving your desk from one room to the other, or even to different positions in the same room, can freshen your mind and help your productivity. If it’s warm enough, for a change, and if you have a garden or some outside space, and are feeling really sluggish indoors, grab your laptop and take it outside for a while. I do this a lot and it always helps me 🙂
Unwind your mind!
My saving grace working from home, has been having a dog (Bertie – more info and cracking photo of him on our ‘About Us’ page). Why? Pet therapy is proven in assisting greatly with our mental health and having a canine companion for me, has been my savior in so many ways. However, it isn’t just dogs, cats, or whatever pets you may have can make a difference! Just the companionship, devotion, their mere presence and if you have a dog, getting outside and walking, has been my saving grace and could be yours! Just think you can tell them all your work worries (and personal) and they won’t tell a soul !
Get outside and get your daily dose of vitamin D;
With hardly any of us having to commute anymore, what could be better than using that time, when we would have been sitting on a crowded commuter train, or stuck in traffic on a motorway, to get outside in the fresh air and walk! You may not feel like it first thing in the morning, but believe me, you will feel better after, hence making a huge difference to your whole day. If you can’t do it first thing in the morning, go in your lunch hour, or after work. It does not have to be walking, it could be a jog, or a bike ride or whatever floats your boat. For me I find walking every day for at least an hour in the fresh air, keeps my mind healthy, not forgetting the physical health benefits as well.
It is a known fact that nature is a healer, so if you’re bored sitting in the garden, be active and creative instead! I have developed a passion for gardening during lockdown, which gives me another excuse to be outside. Give it a try or find something else which interests you, something new, something that will challenge you, that excites you!
– If you take your phone when on your break or lunch, do not check your emails! The whole point is to unwind your mind and clear your head – a bit of escapism, which we all need, especially at times like this.
– Drink lots of water. Take a water bottle with you when you get out, and drink lots also throughout the day. Many underestimate the importance of drinking water. It is so important, it not only improves your productivity, but has enormous health benefits!
– When you finish work at the end of the day, make sure you stick to it. Try to resist the temptation to keep checking emails that can wait until tomorrow (unless they can’t of course).
– If your day didn’t go too well, you feel zoomed out , or you wasn’t as productive as you would like to have been, try not to dwell on it and remember that positive thinking! So, instead of thinking of the things you didn’t get done or achieve, remember the tasks you did get done and be proud of yourself.
– Also remember that , ‘tomorrow is a brand new day’, so if you’ve spent the day procrastinating, get out in the fresh air, clear your mind, and set your sights on making sure the next day is a better one.
– Finally, rather than focusing on the negatives on working from or being at home, (if you feel that way of course), change your mindset! Though many are missing the social human interaction, the office culture, and many other aspects of office life, embrace the change, keep busy and active and practice that positive thinking ! Your brain will thank you for it.