Maintaining Your Positive Mental Health
During these times of social/physical distancing you may have feelings of stress, loneliness or anxiety. Looking after your mental health when working virtually is important, so here are some things to try to help maintain positive mental health now and in the future.
Take care of yourself first
When working virtually it can be easy to jump straight into work the moment you wake up. Before getting swept up in your to-do list, take care of your own needs first. Get out of bed before you start looking at your phone and turn what would be your usual morning commute time into self-care time instead.
Stick to your workday routine
No matter what your usual work hours are make sure you stick to these as much as possible by switching off your computer. If your workspace is in the same space as your living area, try covering your computer or desk with a decorative blanket or towel so you don’t keep looking at the screen. Switching activities to something completely different such as cooking, exercise or reading can also help signal to the brain that work is over for the day.
People were not designed to sit in one place for hours on end, so it’s important that you regularly move your body throughout the day. Spending a few minutes between calls or meetings to stand, stretch your arms and touch your toes will keep your body feeling good throughout the day.
Whilst gyms are closed there are still plenty of opportunities to keep moving:
- If possible, walk to the shops instead of driving or using public transport
- Create a home gym using weighted items from around the house, such as water bottles or a laundry hamper
- Try an online workout
According to headspace.org.au exercise can be beneficial in releasing stress, lowering anxiety and lifting mood.
According to Dr Grant Blashki mindfulness exercises such as meditation can be a good way to “calm the mind”. If meditation isn’t your thing, try other mindful activities to try like colouring, yoga, or simple breathing exercises.
There may be a reason we feel happier when the sun is out – those little rays of sunshine are used by your body to create Vitamin D. Research suggests Vitamin D may play a part in staving off depression and regulating mood. Make sure you spend time outside everyday – you could sit in the garden and read a book or have a cup of tea, or get that body moving and go for walk or a run around your local park.
Embrace the weekend
If your usual days of work are Monday to Friday, make sure you switch off on the weekend, even if you feel like you don’t need to take time off. You’ll be more productive on Monday if you’ve spent time pursuing other interests on the weekend, relaxing your body and mind so you’re ready for a new work week.
Take time to be thankful
Take a moment to express three things which you are thankful for each day. These can be as big or as small as you want them to be – the important part is to express gratitude and focus on the positive things in your life.
Remember, you are not alone
Whilst it is challenging to meet face-to-face right now, it is important that you still connect with your family, friends and colleagues. There are many well reported benefits of social interaction, according to Mindwise, connecting with others can boost mental health and provide increased feelings of belonging, purpose, and happiness, lower stress levels and increase self-confidence. Whether it’s a text message, or a coffee meet up over video call; stay well connected to.
It's ok to not be ok
We are not perfect, and during the course of our lives we will probably all experience moments of loneliness or anxiety. It’s ok to not be ok – particularly during challenging times. Take a moment to acknowledge the feeling, recognise the source or trigger and then take action to move yourself back into a positive frame of mind.
Don't suffer in silence
It can feel hard to talk about our mental health, but it’s important to share how you are feeling – both the up’s and the down’s. Try talking to a friend or family member about what’s on your mind or reach out to a medical professional for further help if needed.
Remember – your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Be proactive and intentional throughout your day and take control of your mental well-being.
All of the content on this page is intended to be for informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your doctor or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.