Wellbeing and self-care were probably already on your radar before lockdown changed things.
However, now more than ever, it is of great importance.
We are currently having to get used to living and working differently and having to adapt to new routines.
How can we ensure that with these new ways of living and working, our wellbeing stays a priority so we can stay the course?
Step 1- Be aware and take notice
Take notice of your mood and feelings and of those around you too. With anxiety heightened due to the worry around COVID-19 and all the uncertainty surrounding the future, it is normal that your mood and emotions will fluctuate, without much that you can do about it.
You may think this is the perfect time to get organised, have a clear-out or complete that DIY job that’s been on your to-do list forever. With more time on our hands, we can obviously be more productive, right? That isn’t necessarily the case though, since the stress brought by the current situation may well have you feeling overwhelmed. Don’t put lots of pressure on yourself to be super-productive at this time. This goes for work too: you may have fewer meetings and be free from hourly visitors to your desk, but setting yourself a target of reaching inbox zero will just add to the pressure. Be kind to yourself, and take each day as it comes.
Step 2 - Stay active; eat your greens
Walk, run, perhaps even get in to a downward dog if you are feeling limber. Get up and get that body moving! It’s all too easy to forget to schedule regular breaks throughout your working day, but with the need for a commute now gone, you may well get to the end of the day and realise you are yet to leave the house. Get out on that daily walk and enjoy the fresh air.
A nourishing meal really can work wonders in terms of boosting energy, so make sure your lunch is up to the mark. With the snack drawer a few steps away, it can be all too tempting, so combat this by eating foods that will keep you sustained throughout the day for breakfast and lunch. If you’re finding it hard to get into a good habit with this, prep your meals the night before or first thing as you would have done for the office. Last but not least, stay hydrated.
Step 3. Give
Generosity and acts of kindness are taking place in abundance right now, and communities are showing how they can come together. Add this same thinking to your working day. How can you help out your colleagues, clients or customers? Whether by guidance or advice, a recommendation or making an introduction, or even sharing something on social media. All businesses are feeling the strain at the moment, and small actions can really make a difference.
You never know how much an action you take will mean to someone - it has the potential to make a bad day better, and the sense of satisfaction it will give you is unlike any other.
Step 4. Schedule time for yourself
Block out time in your calendar for yourself - for things specifically for you: reading a book, taking a walk listening to your favourite podcast, or even just sitting and enjoying the quiet. Whatever it may be, ensure you carve this time out, and try as much as possible not to let something else get in the way.
Working from home means that it is so easy to slip by past 5pm, continue working and then realise that work has eaten into an hour of your evening. Set that clock-out time and stick to it. Self-care is not indulgent, it is making sure you look after yourself and in turn are able to support your family and working life in the way that you want.
Step 5. Prioritise Sleep
We all know how important sleep is, and the chances are that your pre-lockdown / working-from-home routine included a solid night’s shut-eye. With a change in routine and the potential to get lost down a rabbit hole of news updates, it is easy to see how sleep can be neglected. As much as you can, however, stay committed to your usual routine and usual night’s rest. Lack of sleep has the potential to affect concentration, memory and mood, along with a whole host of other things.
It is also worth looking at your quality of sleep. Reduce exposure to blue light before bed, nip that late afternoon coffee in the bud, and try to clear your mind before you drop off. You could try meditating or deep breathing here. These things will help you to get a sound night.
Make sleep and sleep quality a priority to keep your energy levels high and your focus sharp.