“If you are good at something, make sure that thing is also good for your wellbeing.” – Gift Gugu Mona
It’s been a rough year. The events of 2020 have changed many aspects of our lives, in many different ways. The aspect change with which most of us can probably identify is the way in which we work. For some people the change has been as small as donning a mask and regular hand washings, for others, the entire formula for the way that their job is done has had to adapt and mutate numerous times.
Looking after your wellbeing and mental health has never been more important. It was not so long ago that it looked like things might be slowly moving back into a more ‘normal’ place, but, yet again, the circumstances have changed. Some of us have moved back to working at home, some of us are going to be adapting within our workplaces again, but wherever you are for work, ensure that you are being conscious of your wellbeing, the wellbeing of those around you and promoting mindfulness in the workplace (even if that workplace is your own kitchen!).
Working at Home…
Working from home has been proven, by the circumstances of the pandemic, to be much more efficient than many people had anticipated. Although, for some of us, home working is going to be relatively temporary, there is no doubt that the widely experienced benefits of working from home are going to change how we do our jobs forever. So, if you are looking at a future with some amount of remote working within it, now is the perfect time to adopt some good habits and personal wellbeing hacks for the workday.
1. A Comfortable Space
We have talked about how to work from home on a few occasions this year, and this point is one of the most important to consider for both your productivity and your wellbeing. You must have a designated space in which to do your work. The reason for this is that it helps you to draw a line between ‘work time’ and ‘leisure time’, and it helps to reduce distraction.
To optimise the effectiveness of your workspace, make sure it is comfortable. His can be achieved by ensuring that, a)the surrounding area is clean, tidy and minimal, b) you are sitting in comfortable seating in a position that is good for your posture, and c) that you dress in clothes that are defiantly ‘day clothes’ but that are as comfortable as possible.
2. Change Location
This is a slight deviation from point 1. Although it is imperative to have a controlled work area at home, you may find that working in the same place with little human interaction or change a little monotonous. Boredom might seem like a tiny quibble, but bored brains are less creative, less inspired and less efficient. Why not take your laptop to a coffee shop for the afternoon (Covid depending)? This change of scene can really help shift some of that workload. You will find, as I do, that being somewhere else is energising and refreshing.
When working alone, breaks are more important than ever, so ensure that you are taking them regularly. Without the bustle of a workplace, it can be easy to work for many hours straight, and find yourself very burnt out at the end of the week. It is also important to take mindful breaks that don’t just involve scrolling on social media. Get out for a walk, get some fresh air, go and buy yourself a coffee, sit in the park and meditate for ten minutes; make sure you get out in the world, get refreshed and get stimulated!
Working at Work…
If you have found yourself back at the office, there are also special considerations you should take as a result of the ‘new normal’. Mindfulness in the workplace has always been important, and with the stress we have all been under, it has become even more so.
1. Ease in Gently
You might be tempted, even expected, to jump back into work at the same pace that you did before everything changed. If you can keep up, go for it, but don’t put too much pressure on yourself right away. It will take time to readjust and for your brain and body to recalibrate to the intensity of working ‘from work’ again. So, if it feels like it is getting too much, just remember to take a breath and be kind to yourself.
2. Be Kind to Others
Isolation and a reduction in social contact will have left you a bit rusty when it comes to other people. Social skills are something that need to be practiced. Be kind and forgive your colleagues if some interaction feel a bit ‘weird’ for a while. Be patient.
3. Be Mindful of Your Own Feelings
Make sure that you are checking in on yourself regularly. Everybody has been affected and it is easy to try to bury how you are feeling by getting busy. Your wellbeing is something that should be monitored, and in times of sensitivity, it is something that must be looked after. It is OK if you feel a little less robust than you did before. With some care and attention to wellbeing, you will be back at full capacity soon enough!
By Chris Thomson
Feeling frustrated or emotion? Struggling with your job in 2020? Perhaps this article from our archives will help you to work out why you are feeling out of sorts… Reasons You May Be Emotional
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