10 healthy mindset tips for working from home
This blog will be going live on Blue Monday, a day traditionally known for being depressing. It is more important now than ever to stay on top of your mental well-being so enjoy these tips for a healthy mindset while working from home.
I will break down each section as best I can but the baseline for my tips covers your health, food, working pattern, workplace and other little tricks and thoughts to share with you. Lockdown 3.0 has hit hard for some people, me included. I wanted to share some tips I have picked up and some new ones that I have discovered for keeping a healthy mindset at home. I am no guru and I can’t say that all of these will transform your life. But I do understand the importance of staying on top of your mental well-being, especially a time as uncertain as this. So, sit back, grab a cuppa tea and enjoy.
why is a healthy mindset important?
If you have clicked into this blog, then you understand the struggle. The passion and skills it takes to do your role battling with the loneliness, stress and limited human connection that your role usually brings. This is by no means a ‘woe is us’ piece. There are NHS heroes that are facing real, life altering decisions every day. However, it is always important to keep an eye on your own mental health. Even if you are a strong-willed person, spending your life in 1 room can take its toll. So, I wanted to write this to talk about what helps me. It doesn’t fix the problem, but it goes a long way to help me keep a healthy mindset whilst still delivering on projects.
don’t work where you sleep
Okay, so this may not be an option for everyone. People’s living situations are all different, but I find it incredibly important that I don’t wake up and immediately begin working. Life is limited by movement at the moment but there are a certain few things that are sacred in life and getting into bed at the end of the day is one of those. You spend about 26 years of your life asleep and about 7 years trying to get to sleep. We also spend about 1/3 of our lives working. That is potentially a lot of time in 1 place. The term cabin fever will bring a familiar thought to some of you as I say it. I touch on it later, but it is also important to differentiate work and ‘play’. Invest in a nice office chair, find a space in the dining room, conservatory or even set up a desk in the lounge. But just try to make it feel somewhat work-like. You don’t have to wear a freshly pressed suit every morning, but try sitting at a desk and chair designed to work in. Simple advice but hey that’s what I’m all for!
fresh air does exist
The world shouldn’t just be seen from the inside of a window. For me this is one of the most important pieces of advice in here. I would love to go for a walk in the morning to kick off my day, however I know that won’t work for me… I love that sacred place we were talking about earlier too much. I find that a walk at 2pm is perfect for me. I grab lunch at 12, I don’t eat breakfast (personal preference not advice) but my walk at 2 is my main break. I have a route that I do with my fiancé, but you can go out by yourself. This is a great time to switch on some banging tunes, a podcast you’re interested in or just a bit of peace and quiet. I tend to try and walk at least once a day. Being in a creative role I find that this is where a good chunk of my ideas come from and speaking to my fiancé of course.
the importance of exercise
I don’t want to scare people with this one, as I said this is just my personal preference. Exercise is THE most important thing for me to keep me motivated and to keep my mind balanced. I run, when I first started running I ran for 1 mile and I was out of breath and had to get someone to pick me up from my local Tesco. Now I wouldn’t say I am an amazing or even a good runner, but I enjoy it. I am terrible at putting pressure on time and feeling productive. Sometimes, the job your working on or the project you’re in doesn’t allow you to tick that off. I try to run 3-4 times a week. When I first started running, I never understood the fuss. But, to finish a run, to go a little bit further or faster and to achieve something that only YOU could affect is a fantastic feeling. You rely on no one else, the only person to get you to the end of that run is YOU. So, whether it is half a mile or even just 2 minutes jogging 5 minutes walking, try it out. It will suck for about 4-6 months and then one day you will just get an itch to go for a run, and you will complete that run and look at your sweaty self in the mirror and ask yourself the same question thousands have before you… “Am I, a runner now?”
Again, this one may not be for you. But it helps me. I traditionally try to start work 30-60 minutes before the fun starts. This was never my goal initially, and I would consider myself not to be a morning person at all. But that first hour of the day sets me up for what is to come. I tend not to have a coffee or any creature comforts until that first hour is over. It is usually mopping up projects from the previous day. 8-9/10 is the time that I focus on, it usually contains the most amount of strategy too, as my day can be split between actually doing and planning. The coffee is a reward around 10am, a way for me to step away from the desk and take a moment of reflection. I appreciate that your job may not allow for allocated time for yourself but try holding out on that nice cuppa tea until you know you’re ready for the day ahead.
don’t eat where you zoom
I am not going to sugar-coat this one. Step away from the desk at lunch. I tend to make up a sandwich quickly, putting the bulk of my break into a walk and getting the fresh air we spoke about earlier. I would say the best lunch break is one spent outside, but don’t just grab a ready meal and sit back at your desk. Speak to the other members in the house, maybe you could align your lunches if possible? If you’re by yourself then that is fine too. Put on your favourite tv show, pull up some good YouTube, read another chapter of your book. I know life gets in the way but try not to just hang your washing up or jump straight back on your computer. Burnout is a real thing and, without stats to back this up, I would bet that it is happening more and more. You are far more valuable to your company when you’re in the right mindset.
hobbies aren’t just for hobbits
You will have heard this one before. When your life revolves around the same house / flat and the same X number of walls it can be hard to distinguish what is work and play. I personally find I am at my happiest when I am being productive. But that can’t always be putting on another load of washing or hoovering the lounge. For me I love to play guitar (and run as you now know). I have been playing guitar for years now, so I am lucky to be able to pick it up and enjoy it. Learning ANYTHING at all takes time. I have started new hobbies and enjoyed the spike of quick wins only to be hit by the plateau of learning before getting to the enjoyment phase. In the summer of 2019, I genuinely took up learning to juggle clubs. It took me outside, I absolutely loved it, I could listen to my favourite songs in the garden with the sun beaming down and it was so easy to monitor progression and feel good about the productivity. It is going to get warmer soon, get a few plants to pot, find some songs to sing too, find recipes online you want to make. You don’t have to become the next Michael Angelo, but you may look back on this time and think ‘wow I am so glad I just took the first step into starting this thing I now love’. No one is going anywhere or doing anything, use that time for some good.
healthy mindset starts from your gut
I wish I took this one more seriously. How easy is it to want to reward yourself with a good day’s work or a walk to the shops with some treats or a nice snack? I can answer for you, way too easy. This is my kryptonite. I have told you I love feeling productive, well the dark side of that world is that I also love to reward myself. All it takes is my partner to say ‘fancy a walk to the shops’ and in my head I have already spent £5 on white chocolate snacks. Running helps me combat this, I am healthier when I exercise. You don’t have to just eat salads 7 days a week. I am all for a healthy and balanced lifestyle. Get a dominos on a Friday and enjoy a beer. But just don’t eat a Chinese on the Saturday and then wash it down with a McDonalds brekky on the Sunday! No one’s perfect, and this is a tough one to do, especially in lockdown. But just do your best. All in moderation.
tidy office, tidy mind
Most of you are probably excellent at this already. But I can’t stress how much this one helps me. It is something that I never used to realise, I worked in offices and my space was moderately clean (probably messy by other people’s standards) but when I started taking pride in my space it really helped me carry that same ethic through into my work. Tidy office, tidy mind.
finish. the laptop stays in the office
We are all guilty of this, and you know as a reader of this blog that this is so easy to do. Whether you have a family, friends or live by yourself. It is extremely important to be able to differentiate the two worlds we operate in. Imagine being in the office and your mum or partner was watching The Queens Gambit (great show) on full volume next to you. You know you won’t be doing the best work you can and when they raise a question about the main character it is going to pull you out of 1 world and into another. Save the work for the daytime and enjoy a nice meal and some TV, films, books or even a bit of exercise in the evening.
get a plant
Yeah, I really think you should. I have 4. 3 cactuses and I have no idea what the other one is. A bit of green, a bit of life and something to look after is a great companion for your office space.
Like I said, this is by no means a self-help guide written by me. I love work, I love my hobbies, friends, family and so on. But I know that sometimes spinning all of those plates can take its toll. So, invest in yourself from time to time.
Written by Ollie Biddle
Content and Marketing Manager