3 areas of mental wellbeing to nurture while working in self-isolation

Guest Post, Guides | | 4 min read

As many of us will be working from home for the foreseeable future, we asked the team from Unmind to share with us their advice on how to take care of mental wellbeing during long periods of working from home.

As the coronavirus continues to spread, governments are urging social distancing and employers are promoting working from home. Remote working, particularly under self-quarantine and enforced isolation, poses challenges to our mental health. 

Focusing on three key areas of wellbeing, these measures will help you to proactively manage your mental health while working from home amid the coronavirus crisis. 

1. Connection: Support through loneliness 

What to look out for 

Humans are social beings; we’re hardwired to need community. Feelings of loneliness are normal. While many workers are familiar with occasional work from home days, extended periods of weeks or even months is another kettle of fish. Some people may find this isolation overwhelming, which can have wider consequences. Extended loneliness puts our bodies into a state of stress, and can impact our immune systems’ abilities to cope. 

What to do about it

It’s a misconception that loneliness arises when no one else is around – it’s more likely a lack of meaningful connection. So now is the time to reach out and support your colleagues. Regular meaningful communication, empathy and lashings of humour (where appropriate) are what we should aim for. Here are a few ideas for getting connected:

  • Schedule in socials: Book in reminders to connect with people. Work related, or not. 
  • Don’t just write: Use your full communicative arsenal – voice calling, video, and gaming. 
  • Check in with others: Different from a transactional ‘catch-up’, checking in should focus on how you’re feeling. Make sure you’re sharing and listening. 

2. Coping: Setting boundaries between life and work

What to look out for

While working from home, the physical boundaries between life and work are literally blurred. This is reflected in our minds too. 

Enforced home working will disrupt our daily routines of getting up, commuting, doing work and then returning home. Meanwhile we may struggle with the new balancing act of managing family life with the fluctuating demands of work. Without mindful intervention, it can be easy to lose the boundaries between work and home life. 

What to do about it

Avoid working in your bedroom. If you must, then do it in a designated working area. It’s difficult to establish boundaries when we’re spending all of our time in the same space.  Structure is essential. Two way dialogue with direct reports and setting clear expectations is really important. Agreeing what work needs to be delivered – rather than just the expectation of being present – will make us less inclined to remain glued to our screens, ensuring our instant communication availability status is green.

Design your day in advance, ideally remaining pretty close to how it was before COVID-19 – get up at a set time, have breakfast, do the commute (or use the time to read, listen to music, play Candycrush – whatever works for you), and then commence your day. 

You shouldn’t feel the need to be online constantly – no one spends the entire eight hours at their desks in the office. Breaks will make you more productive in the long run. Similarly, shutting down at the end of the day is important – close your lid, avoid looking at emails, and batten down the hatches for another evening of self-isolation. 

3. Calmness: Managing stress and worry

An infectious outbreak is, by anyone’s measure, a stressful scenario. But dealing with the uncertainty in isolation, all while managing our daily duties at work, can lead to additional levels of stress, worry and anxiety.

What to look out for

When faced with a variety of pressures, we can be overcome by generalised feelings of concern, and a loss of control amid the newness. When dealing with uncertain situations, it’s more important than ever to remain calm.

What to do

DON’T PANIC! Feelings of stress are entirely normal in these unusual circumstances – and they bear no reflection on your ability to do your job. Take out your headphones and turn off the television. It’s important to stay informed, but a continuous stream of news that’s spun to tap into nervous energy isn’t always helpful. 

Keep up-to-date with government and public health advice, both nationally and locally. Bookmark sources such as:

There’s no right or wrong. Go out for a run, read a book or do the ironing. Find what works best for you. 

About Unmind

Launched by Dr Nick Taylor, Ry Morgan and Steve Peralta in 2016, Unmind is on a mission to improve the mental wellbeing of 10 million people in organisations across the world by giving employees access to a digital platform where they can measure and manage their mental health. The desktop platform and mobile app consists of scientifically-backed assessments, tools, training and signposting. Organisations are also given access to aggregated and anonymous data to develop robust mental health strategies.

Come join us. 

We’re on the lookout for exceptional people for new roles across the business. Follow this link to explore our open opportunities. 

Don’t see a perfect fit in the jobs listed? If you’re interested in our mission, do get in touch and we’ll take it from there.

Apply for your free ticket to meet Unmind, and discuss their job roles in person, at Silicon Milkroundabout November 2020.