Taking care of our mind and body

News / 19.05.20

Stuck at home, not used to working from home, or both? 

So here we are in week 9 of lockdown and for some of us, going back to normal, or at least whatever normal becomes, is still some way off.  Yes, there is a light at the end of the tunnel and with recent rules now allowing us the freedom to exercise more and visit the odd person (social distancing notwithstanding), there is a far more positive feeling around.  However, we do need to start thinking about what normality we will get back to and what lessons have been learned through this period that will become normal over time.

One of the key lessons for us at RGB has been that home working has both its benefits and its issues.  Yes, one can remain more focused and increase productivity thanks to less interruptions, whilst not having to contend with the commute can reduce stress and having the extra time mean a more flexible home/work balance.  However, it also presents its own challenges, especially during lockdown and social distancing including isolation, lack of a routine, too much screen time and lack of exercise.  And that’s without the interruptions that home life can also bring.

Whatever the situation, staying both physically and mentally fit starts with three fundamental things:

  • Diet and hydration 
  • Sleep and rest 
  • Moving and exercise

Eat well 

One big benefit of working from home is that you have a complete kitchen at your disposal to cook lots of tasty food in, so make the most of it! Try to have a hearty breakfast to keep you going until lunch – something that is quick and easy to prepare. If you get hungry between, try and avoid the biscuit tin and opt for some fruit instead. Build your immune system by avoiding inflammatory foods, such as refined carbohydrates and sugary drinks, as these can also make you feel sluggish. 

Keep hydrated 

It’s very important to stay hydrated to keep concentration levels high, so drink plenty of water and try to avoid too much caffeine as this can have the opposite effect. 

Give yourself a break
Try to get between 7 and 9 hours sleep to feel your best throughout the day. Take regular breaks and make sure they’re scheduled into your day. Move often and try to do some daily exercise, as this can really help with your mental health. Whether you’re into HIIT routines, boxercise or yoga, check out YouTube and Instagram TV for some great free at-home workouts.  If possible, a walk outside either at the start of your day to energise, or at the end to signal the start of the evening can do you the world of good too.

Become more mindful 
Avoid the possible anxiety and stress that comes from too much media consumption. Try slowing down a few times a day, use breathing exercises; 4x4/day (breath in for 4 seconds, hold for 7, breath out for 8, 4 times, 4 times a day). There are also some great mindfulness and meditation apps that you can use throughout the day – our favourites are from Calm and Headspace.

Set up a workstation
Okay, so not everyone has the luxury of space but working at the dining table whilst you have the general melee of the household going on around you can make it very difficult to maintain concentration.  Try and find a corner of the house that offers peace, quiet and some privacy so that you can remain focused and have video conference calls without knowing that your background could not necessarily be as undisturbed as you would like!  Also, having a dedicated place to set up your workstation will mean a more efficient use of time each day, as you can leave your technology connected and ready to go. 

Listen to music
Playing music in the background can help focus the mind, improve your mood and provide you with inspiration. Take your favourite streaming service and find some new music to enjoy while working. 

Juggling kids at home
Although working from home and trying to tutor your children is a stressful proposition, this is a rare opportunity to spend more quality time with our children. Organise tutoring shifts with the people in the household and take your break times to play a quick game or enjoy a family meal together.  

Have a work life balance
Stay connected with family and friends, don’t wait for them to contact you. Find time to do fun stuff. Have a laugh, tell jokes, watch comedy sketches or movies to boost spirits. After you have stopped work, do something you enjoy (a hobby or something creative) so you have something to look forward to after the day has ended.

Okay so not everything works for everybody but we hope that if even a couple of the above suggestions can add to or change a routine to your own benefit and those around you, then it is worth giving a try.  After all, in these challenging times, we all need to work together to keep focused, efficient and stress-free.