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Lockdown 2: Top tips for looking after our mental health

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So here we are in lockdown again. We’ve done it before of course and we learned a lot. And not just how to bake banana bread and master TikTok dances. 

This time, however, it’s slightly different. On the plus side for many, the schools are staying open – which means no home learning to manage! And those who were able to work from home last time are perhaps more prepared both in terms of the physical home working set up and the use of the technology.   

But for many there may be financial worries, dealing with furlough or even redundancy. Plus, concerns about friends and family, the general disruption to normal life and, of course, having to do it all again. But with worse weather and less daylight. 

This time, there is much greater collective awareness about the toll that lockdown can take on our mental health.  So, we asked the Work Psychology Group team for their top tips for surviving lockdown 2 whilst working from home. Obviously, we are all having different experiences right now so some tips may not be appropriate to all. But hopefully there are some useful takeaways: 

Keep focussed

Don’t get distracted by household tasks. Have a ‘home’ list that you can add to when you spot something that needs doing at home. That way it doesn’t clutter your mind and you can focus on work during the working day. 

Break for lunch

Seek opportunities for social contact. Check in with co-workers at lunch – if you would usually have lunch with someone, take time away from your screen and give them a call or go for a walk.  

Use technology to understand people’s schedules

Particularly where you use shared diaries or online platforms. If colleagues are showing as available then take the time to check in for five minutes.  Ask how they are, share a joke or just swap views on what you’re watching right now.  Bonding over box sets is the new water cooler chat.  

Out of sight

Put your laptop and as much office paraphernalia as possible away in the evening.  It helps make it easier to switch off and unwind. Our Office Manager, Jo, hides the bag behind the sofa so she doesn’t even have to look at it!

Embrace nature

Layer up and try to get outside in the (ever decreasing) daylight. Perhaps you could take advantage of the lack of commute to get out before work? Fresh air can give you a real boost but try to take the opportunity to notice and enjoy your surroundings. 

End the working day

Set an alarm for the end of the day to encourage you to finish work on time Senior Consultant, Charlotte Flaxman suggests the two alarm approach. One 30 minutes before the end of the working day to prompt you to start wrapping things up and another when it’s ‘pens’ down time.  Another option is to schedule a call with a friend for straight after work to help keep you on track for a timely finish.   

Pets

There are lots of animal lovers at WPG and several of us felt that the need to get the dog out for its daily walk gave us positive daily focus.  And that’s before we get to the general calming effect that spending time with our pets can have on us!  

Bright side

Don’t forget to recognise some of the benefits of working from home. More lunch options, the chance to keep on top of the odd chore, no commute, the list goes on!! 

Hopefully you can take something from this that will help make the next month pass as painlessly as possible. One thing that all our tips have in common is kindness.  And we think that’s going to be important to us all in the next month. 

Whether it’s finding way to show a little more kindness to friends, relatives, coworkers or ourselves of course!  Not surprisingly, the Dalai Lama probably sums it up best: “Be kind whenever possible. It is always possible. 

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