In 2020 we’re smack bang in the middle of some very “unprecedented times.” The events of this year have taken a toll on us physically, mentally, and emotionally. However, there are still things you can do every day to prioritize your mental health. You deserve it!
Social isolation, interruption to our normal schedules, and the inability to travel to see family members are getting us down. The way we work has also changed, with many offices now encouraging employees to work from home to avoid spreading the coronavirus. While there are definite benefits that come with these changes (the commute to work is unbeatable!) it also presents new challenges to our mental health.
Here’s our guide on how to prioritize your mental health every day, no matter what.
1. Take Mental Health Breaks
Working from home is a necessary reality in 2020. Keeping people out of high-rise office buildings and commuters off public transport every morning has been crucial in our fight against COVID-19. However, there are definitely some downsides to working from home for a prolonged period of time.
While we don’t miss the rush hour commute, waking up every morning and going to sleep each night in your “office” can cause anxiety, cost you sleep, and seriously blur the boundaries between your work and home life.
The reality of waking up and immediately opening your eyes to see your desk staring back at you piled high with yesterday's work can make you feel like you never get a break from work. Similarly, working from home can negatively impact your productivity if you’re constantly being interrupted by your kids, partner, or chores you need to do.
To help maintain your own sanity, Upskilled recommends taking mental health breaks throughout the day. In these breaks, you can take the time you need to switch off, learn new skills, devote time to calming hobbies or just take time to take a break.
Using a planner like the Productivity Planner is essential to tackle this issue. This planner utilizes the Pomodoro Technique to break your time into manageable chunks, helps you to focus your mental energy on the most meaningful tasks, and empowers you to take advantage of every moment of every day. Learn more about the Productivity Planner here!
2. Enjoy Some Exercise And Endorphins
When we’re looking for ways to improve our mental health during these famously unprecedented times one of the most effective tools we have is exercise. Getting your heart rate up through exercise can improve your mental health by reducing anxiety, depression, and raising your mood by producing endorphins, improving self-esteem, and cognitive function.
Even if you don’t feel comfortable heading to your local gym at the moment you can chase all the endorphins you want at home with online workout videos. Personally, we’re a big fan of these online workout videos on Grokker. They have so many options to choose from, including high-intensity interval training, dance workouts, and yoga. Sign up for Grokker today!
3. Switch Off
In order to keep our mental health in check, it’s important that we do our best to keep our 9–5 between 9–5.
What does this mean?
Basically, it means you have to actually switch off at the end of the day, step away from your computer, stop checking your emails, walk away from your desk, and do something that will take your mind off of everything work-related. Not everyone is able to create different work and personal spaces in their homes, but there are several small things you can do to help delineate between work time and personal time.
First, create a routine. Walk away from your workspace or pack up your desk and then do something that marks the end of the day. Consider having a celebratory end of work drink with your housemate or on the phone with a friend, or even just going for a quick walk around the block to refresh your mind!
4. Enjoy The Great Outdoors
It’s important to have something to look forward to at the end of your workweek. Make (safe) plans with friends and family and reward yourself for a week of working diligently from home. Go for a hike, plan a picnic, host a garden party, or enjoy an outdoor movie night. Get friends together for paddle boardings, surfing, or even boating.
There’s never been a better time to nurture a new healthy hobby. There’s a lot of materials involved in watersports but luckily, retailers like Grays offer you great deals on all the equipment you need to spend time on the water.
It's hard to prioritize your mental health during these challenging times. However, there are small things you can do for yourself every day that will truly make a difference. If you think you might have larger mental health challenges, or you simply want someone to talk to about what you're going through, talk to your doctor or get connected with a therapist.