Working from home and taking care of your mental health during lockdown

Working from home and taking care of your mental health during lockdown

Recent studies led by the University of Glasgow have shown that lockdown had a big impact on mental health in the UK, including an increase in rates of suicidal thoughts. During the first national lockdown, a lot of people were assigned to work from home in order to stay safe and to avoid spreading the virus. This has meant that our safe havens (our homes) have also become our offices. 

In normal circumstances you would have had the option to go home after a long stressful day at work and had some relaxation time…… however, at the moment the days seem to merge with time, and it can be difficult to separate between work and home time.

As we are almost a year into COVID restrictions and most of us have been working from home, I thought I should share some of the things that I have been actively doing throughout the year to make sure that I am taking care of my mental health whilst working from home during this time. 

  • Planning my day (Stick to a schedule) 

Planning my day helps me separate my working time and my personal time. It was so easy to be consumed with work and not realise that I hadn’t taken my lunch break or had time for myself. I decided to plan my day and stick to a schedule that allowed me to have my breaks and time away from my work laptop and this really helped.

  • Set up a working space 

At the beginning of lockdown no one was really sure of what was going on. As time passed, home offices started to become increasingly popular. Last year taught me that you don’t need a big house to have a home office. You can create an office space anywhere in your home for example working in your kitchen, bedroom and lounge. Some people have even transformed their storage rooms into offices! As long as you are comfortable whilst you are working, that’s all that matters. 

  • Taking regular breaks away from my work laptop

Taking regular short breaks has helped me focus more than I did previously. It’s easy to get consumed with work especially when having deadlines, however having a clear mind is better than working while stressed.

  • Taking walks during my lunch break 

As well as taking regular breaks from work, I found that going outside for a walk during my lunch break has helped me become more productive. It also helps break up the day. Going outside and seeing different people (even without socialising) is vital especially during this time when we spend the majority of the time in our homes. 

  • Keeping in touch with colleagues

Taking part in team quizzes and attending virtual coffee breaks is always a good way to catch up with colleagues. I always feel great after team quizzes as this is an opportunity for me to socialise with different people. It also gives me another chance to get away from the daily work routine.

  • Being kind to myself 

Sometimes it’s easy being hard on yourself. It is important to remember that we are all in a global pandemic. This is something most of us have never dealt with before. Make sure you take care of yourself not only physically but mentally too. If you are struggling, please talk to a loved one, friend or you can use the NHS website: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/mental-health-helplines/ . You can also use this website if you are concerned about your loved ones too. Always remember to be kind to yourself and to others and please feel free to add any other recommendations in the comments section. 

Has COVID19 affected your wedding too?

Has COVID19 affected your wedding too?

Happy New Year guys! Hope you had a lovely Christmas and a great New year. I was so eager to start the new year, not because I thought the virus would vanish, but because 2021 is the year that we planned to have our dream wedding. After 2 years of planning and booking suppliers, the year has finally arrived!!!

Just a few days into the new year, we unfortunately entered into another lockdown and the idea of having our dream wedding started to feel less certain. After A LOT of conversations on our options, we were stuck on what to do. We just couldn’t think of having to wait another year especially in this uncertainty, but we also wanted all of our family and friends to be there to celebrate with us on our special day. 

I recently discovered a forum on the Hitched website where a lot of brides to be and suppliers have discussions on how their wedding planning is going etc. If you are getting married this year and you want more advice on wedding planning or if you have any bridal questions, I recommend to check their website and forum out. They also have a wedding planning app. 

We decided to move our dream wedding day to next year. We will still be legally getting married this year at the registrar’s office (fingers crossed, as long as the lockdown rules has been relaxed). This year has started off bittersweet, however I am still excited to marry my best friend.

Are you getting married this year? If so, I would love to hear what your plans are…

5 things that I added to my lockdown bucket list

5 things that I added to my lockdown bucket list

I think I speak for a lot of people when I say 2020 has not been what we thought it would be. In January, I started living in a temporary apartment and at the time, all I was thinking about was how stressful the whole leak situation was, little did I know, down the line that the leak was going to be the least of my worries. 

In March 2020, the whole country went into lockdown due to COVID19. When the lockdown restrictions were introduced, the situation was so new and so raw, it made things confusing, frustrating and terrifying. A lot of people missed their family and friends. A lot of people struggled mentally. Fast forward 3 months and there was a glimpse of hope when the lockdown restrictions started to ease. Unfortunately, it didn’t take long for the restrictions to be introduced again.

As we are heading into another nationwide lockdown on Thursday, I am going to share five things that helped me get through the first lockdown; to help feel less restricted.

Date night

Just because you can’t go out for date night doesn’t mean you can’t bring date night home. I would dress up and have a candle lit dinner with my partner. Getting ready for a date gave me something to look forward to and that feeling of excitement. It didn’t stop there…..I would mix it up by having movie nights, setting up the lounge to replicate a cinema atmosphere.

 Self-pamper session

Pampering yourself is a perfect way to pass time and relax during a stressful situation. I found it relaxing and a fun thing that to do (and even convinced my partner to join in!). I tried quite a few face masks, mastered my nail polish application routine and I have gotten better with my hair routine.  Self-care is really important especially during this time. I always end up feeling really good after my pamper session. Josh occasionally joins me for the face masks and we both enjoy them, as we get to bond over something together.

Cook a new recipe

Before lockdown, Josh and I would cook the same meals each week and to be honest, this is one of the reasons why we would most likely get a cheeky takeaway. When lockdown started, restaurants were shut for a period of time, so we decided to google different meals and to cook a new recipe one day a week. This gave us something to look forward to during lockdown. Preparing the meal together also gave us more time to bond. It also gave us a wider range of recipes to add onto the very short list of recipes that we previously had.

Read a new book that is out of your comfort zone

As much as I love fictional novels, trying a different genre, was the change that I was looking for. I used to think self- help books were so cliché until I read Good Vibes, Good Life by Vex King. This book helped me become more aware of my feelings and thoughts which has helped me mentally. Getting out of your comfort zone and trying something different will give you a range of options to choose from and it will also give you something to look forward to.

Start a new workout routine

With gyms closing (again), working out at home can be disheartening. I struggled with working out at home during the first lockdown. I soon realised that I needed to get into a routine to stay fit and healthy. I turned my attention to walking, which I enjoyed a lot. It was a great excuse to get outside (considering there weren’t many at the time!) and allowed me to separate my working from home and home life. As much as I enjoyed the walking, I needed something else to get my adrenaline pumping, so I turned to HIIT workouts. These workouts certainly did the job and are now part of my weekly routine today. I also tried to vary my workouts and started to introduce yoga. This not only provided a benefit to my body, but also to my mental health!

Taking time away from your phone, especially during this time is vital. These days, no matter which app you are on, there is bound to be a reminder of what is happening around the world. Although we need to be aware of what is going on, we also need to take care of our mental health. Why not try something different? Take a few hours off from social media and live in the moment.  What have you have been up to during lockdown and what has helped you break the normal routine? Please feel free to use the comments section below and start a conversation!