Working from home and your mental health

25/03/2020

LawCare's latest article focuses on self-care during a difficult time.

Self care tips

Many of us will be working at home for a while which will be challenging. Being out of the office and a change in our routine combined with limited social interaction in these difficult and uncertain times might cause feelings of worry, fear and loneliness. In this article, LawCare provides tips from their own experiences to help you look after yourself.

Create your space

It’s important to try and create boundaries between work life and home life, and set up a dedicated work area. Not all of us will have an office or spare room to work in, but try and find a quiet area of the house where you can work.

Stick to a routine

As tempting as it is to stay in your pyjamas all day, or sit at your laptop at 10pm, it’s important to get dressed and try and stick to a regular routine and your usual working pattern, where possible. This will help you stay focused and keep work separate from home life.

Set boundaries

If you have to change your normal working hours or work flexibly due to childcare or other commitments, set boundaries where possible. Perhaps you and your partner can do shifts, or you can work early in the morning or late at night in order to take some time off in the day. You might want to have a set time of day where you cannot be disturbed. Let other colleagues know about your routine and boundaries so you can manage their expectations.

Reach out

Keep in regular contact with colleagues, friends and family using phonecalls and services such as Skype, Zoom or Facetime rather than just sending emails and texts. It can be isolating working at home and we all need to feel connected to each other. It’s especially important to look out for those who live alone - make sure you are checking in with people.

Disable notifications

Avoid constantly checking your emails, Whatsapp and news feeds. It’s very easy to get distracted and sometimes too much information will trigger anxiety. Turn off alerts and check them every few hours so you can stay focused.

Take breaks

Take regular breaks, including a lunch break, just as you would if you were at the office. If practical, try and get out for a walk every day.

Prioritise self-care

It’s easy to let healthy habits slip when we are at home but make sure you eat well, get to bed at a reasonable time and find time to do some exercise. You might not be able to go to the gym but you can go for a run, do some gardening or find an online exercise video.

Protect your health

It can be harder to call in sick if you are at home anyway, and many of us will be tempted to do a few hours work even if we are unwell. If you are ill, you should rest, follow any medical advice and not work until feeling better, to protect your future health.

Be mindful

Mindfulness is about being in the present moment. None of us know what the future holds so try and focus on the here and now rather than the bigger picture.

Seek support

We’re all in the same boat, but these difficult, uncertain times will affect some of us more than others. If you’re finding it hard to cope, just talking to someone can help alleviate your worries. LawCare offers a free, confidential emotional support service to all legal professionals, their support staff and families. Call LawCare on 1800 991 801, email us or visit the LawCare website  to access web chat and other resources. 

eNewsletters

This article originally appeared in the March 2020 member eZine. For more information, and to subscribe, visit enewsletters.