This year, Stress Awareness Month has fallen at a very prominent time. At a time when many of the population are experiencing abnormal stressors and a higher level of anxiety around larger things than work, and including work, how can we ensure we’re looking after ourselves and others?
Mental health is a vitally important subject gaining, thankfully, more and more attention from workplaces, workplaces which have just entered a time of abrupt, rapid and unprecedented adjustment. Individuals are fielding these same adjustments in home lives too, meaning that stress awareness could not be a more prevalent topic to discuss with your workforce, friends and family.
As an individual what can you do to both become aware of your stress and manage it effectively, protecting your mental health while maintaining your new work from home status?
Can you keep a routine? Try getting up at the same time you would for work, having breakfast and sitting down at your desk at the same time your working day would begin. Routine can be greatly beneficial to avoiding the rise of stress and anxiety. Even if your routine is different from the usual workplace routine, sticking to a new one is a great way to give your new work-from-home life some structure.
This might include talking to friends, family, partners or colleagues, in person or via Whatsapp, video calls, slack or hangouts. You’re missing the normal ‘water-cooler’ chat and cross-office banter, so try to replace that somehow; talking and laughing is genuinely good for our mental and physical health. You don’t need to lose that even if you live alone.
It might not be realistic for you to stick to your normal routine when working from home, due to the other members of the household or even just how you’re finding yourself able to operate. If this is the case, communicate with management that you would find it much easier to work 11-7 rather than 9-5, for example. Working to your optimum times will help you to avoid the drowning feeling of being overwhelmed by work-life and home-life, and stay as happy and productive as possible!
Exercise is one of the keys to keeping a healthy mind (and body, but we all know that!). Make yourself get up and move around for part for the day. This might consist of some star jumps in the kitchen, garden, on the balcony or doorstep or it might consist of your daily run or walk. Getting moving changes mindsets and releases endorphins.
During this time, we all, individuals and businesses, need to be looking out for ourselves and for others, ensuring we take the time to check in with our peers and teams, but also that we take note of what is and isn’t working for our own mental health. We’ve collated a few resources which you might find useful, whether you’re dealing with your own anxiety or wanting to support your team.