As we approach our two-year mark with Covid-19, exhaustion is in the air, but we have to remain strong in our fight.
Among all, mental health is one of the biggest concerns when it comes to dealing with this pandemic. The uncertainty of swinging back and forth in our restrictions causes uneasiness and worry among the people.
For now, many of us are still Working From Home (WFH) and thus, we have consolidated this list of things you should do to stay mentally and physically healthy in this tough, long battle.
It is easy to run out of discipline when we are stuck in the place that we’re supposed to be most comfortable in. When we are at home, we just want to do nothing all the time. But that is also not going to be very healthy for us and our brains.
When we are more productive, we feel happier and sense a better quality of life. Allocate your time in a healthy manner before you start your day. Set appropriate time for work, play, exercise, meals, relaxation, etc., and stick to it.
If you have a pretty regular day-to-day routine, you can stick to the same schedules. Otherwise, you can make daily schedules to fit your different errands.
Many underestimate the importance of penning down your plans. Often, people are so overwhelmed with the amount of work that they have to do and just see it as a lump of tasks. They then get stressed because they don’t know how to get started.
Writing a checklist of your tasks can reduce stress as you can visually see what you have to get done. As you write, it is vital to prioritise and rank your tasks in order of which needs to be done first.
Ticking off your tasks one by one can be really satisfying!
Keep a journal/diary
There are lots of frustration dealing with this pandemic. Sometimes, we feel very alone dealing with our struggles and might not have someone trustworthy to talk to, or we feel bad dumping our negativity onto someone else.
Writing your feelings down in a journal/diary is a therapeutic way to make yourself feel heard. In your journal/diary, you can display your feelings candidly without the fear of judgement or burdening someone else. Rant all you want!
Journaling/writing is also a great way to keep a recollection of your life stages and thoughts. Isn’t it always such a warm and nostalgic feeling when you pick up your old journal/diary and reflect on how much you’ve grown and progressed?
Get yourself drinks and snacks
With no social stimulation, it is easy to get bored and fall asleep while working/studying. Have some snacks to munch on beside you, but make sure that they’re healthy snacks such as nuts and fruits!
Eating unhealthy tidbits is very unhealthy and can cause health problems in the long run.
Comfortable and organised workspace
Since you are going to be spending long hours at the same place, it is important to make sure that your workspace is comfortable for you.
Take note of the ergonomics of your workspace. A laptop stand and an additional keyboard will help to improve your posture so that you don’t strain your body when working at your desk for too long. You should also invest in a good quality chair to give your body the needed support.
Also, a messy table will lead to a messy mind. Pack your workspace, keep them neat and do regular cleaning and disinfecting.
The act of packing and cleaning is therapeutic and can help to reduce stress. Since you’re going to be spending so much time in your workspace, you don’t want a dirty area to work with.
Breaks are important in preventing yourself from burning out. Researchers recommend that you take a 17-minute break after every 52-minutes of work, for maximum productivity. Having regular breaks will boost your working stamina.
Aside from your brain, your eyes will also need breaks from staring at the screen for long hours.
A good rule of thumb is the 20-20-20 rule, which is an easy way to remember how to take care of your eyes. After 20 minutes of looking at a screen, look at something 20 feet away, for 20 seconds.
It would be even better if you look at something green, like a tree, as green is soothing for our eyes.
Reward yourself after work
In our competitive and fast-paced society, time for rest, play and leisure is often overlooked. It is now even more difficult to separate your working hours when you’re working from home because your laptops and phones are with you, and work is so accessible.
You could be tempted to continuously try and complete more work even after your working hours, just so that you can seemingly accomplish more. However, all work and no play is very unhealthy and it might lead to burnout.
You need to respect your self-care time and have something that you enjoy to look forward to every day.
If you find that you are struggling with motivation because you have no social stimulation, invite a friend to a virtual study/work session. When you have a companion for company, you wouldn’t feel so alone.
Alternatively, if you don’t have a friend who’s available, there are public Zoom meetings that you can join, in which random people from all over the world can study/work together while video calling.
This is a great way to push yourself to be productive, through finding comfort in companionship with others who are in the same boat as you.
Conduct your work outside
If you simply cannot concentrate on your work at home, be it because of the noise levels or distractions, you can opt to do your work outside.
For many, it is effective for them to study/work in a different environment where they are not so comfortable to fall asleep and slack in. Many also don’t like to associate work with their home and prefer to complete their work outside before relaxing at home.
With the limited capacities due to Covid-19 nowadays, a lot of cafes do not allow studying or usage of working gadgets. Most community centres still have their study rooms open, but with limited capacities as well.
As such, the innovation of work pods has been introduced. They provide you with a soundproof booth in which you can study/work and even conduct your video call meetings in peace. They have WiFi, charging ports and Bluetooth speaker facilities to provide for your working environment.
However, these are pay-by-minute and can be quite costly.
Looking presentable allows us to feel put together and not lazy, and you don’t have to only do that when you’re outside.
Even though you may be at home, you can dress up to look more presentable for your virtual meetings, or just to make yourself feel better and in the working mood.
Light a candle
There’s a reason why candles are loved by so many. There are many different types of scents that can help you to feel better in different aspects.
Here are some scents that can help you in your WFH:
Lavender: Reduce stress
Peppermint/Cinnamon: Increase memory, alertness, idea generation
Orange/Lemon: Reduce sleepiness
Learn to cook healthy food
Since you will be cooped up at home for so long, it is important to stay healthy. Ordering takeaways will not be healthy for you in the long run. When you cook your own food, you are able to control the amount of oil, sugar, salt, etc. in your food.
Good food also means good mood! Continually learning new recipes will stimulate you and prevent your life from remaining stagnant.
As we all already know, exercise releases feel-good hormones called endorphins that can help to relieve stress.
It is also important to get our bodies up and going after sitting for long hours. Exercising can build up our immune system and help to prevent health problems.
Get enough sleep
Since you will be saving on the travel time, you should try to get enough sleep so that you have enough energy and concentration to deal with every new day.
Sleep deprivation can cause many mental and emotional problems such as depression and an inability to focus. Make sure that you’re using your time wisely and allocate enough time for sleep.
Avoid conflicts with the people living in your house
Having strained relationships in the place where you have to be stuck in for a long time is not going to be very healthy for you. Bearing grudges will cause negative feelings such as anger and anxiety.
In WFH situations, the most common reason for conflicts is usually the space, privacy and peace that people need in their workspace. Compromise is key when having to share a common space.
Whenever a disagreement arises, communicate effectively and resolve any unhappiness immediately before the conflict escalates.
We hope that this article will help you in continuing to persevere through this taxing pandemic!