Freelancers and contractors are accustomed to working from home and independently, but the COVID-19 crisis and subsequent lockdown mean those who can work remotely, now have no option but to.
While enforced working from home has its advantages, social distancing presents a number of challenges, not least to your mental wellbeing. To help you navigate this challenging period, we’ve outlined a number of steps you can take to look after your mental health for the next few weeks at least.
Get into a routine
Creating a routine and sticking to it is essential, particularly if you tend to work onsite with clients and keep to their office hours. Write daily to-do lists, set start and end times to your working day and take plenty of breaks. While it may not be your usual one, any kind of routine offers structure. This routine can and should extend past your working day. For example, make time for daily exercise, pencil in phone calls with friends and spend quality time with your family.
The Government has said people should only go outside for food, health reasons or work (where this absolutely cannot be done from home). Daily exercise is included in this. While gyms and leisure centres are closed and group activities aren’t allowed for the time being, it’s important to stay active. Try light home or garden workouts (ideas here), exercising with the kids (some useful videos here), daily walks or jogs. Fresh air and regular exercise are both vital in staying fit mentally.
Keep in touch
Stay in touch with clients and other contractors via Apps, like Slack or Zoom or even WhatsApp. Ping people messages, hold video catch-ups and jump on calls as and when. Simply talking to others who are in the same boat throughout the day could be incredibly important. Granted, this might not be as effective as face to face interaction, but technology and the world of work are at least ready for the huge surge in remote working that’s taking place.
When you close your laptop at the end of the day, barring any emergencies, try and switch off for a few hours every evening. In addition to spending time doing things you enjoy, like reading, cooking, listening to music and of course, watching Netflix, you may benefit from exploring Headspace or Calm - highly-rated apps that are proven to help reduce stress, anxiety and even improve the quality of your sleep.
Create a dedicated workspace
With schools closed currently, creating a quiet space in which you’re able to work from productively without distraction is vital. Assuming you don’t own a home office at the end of the garden, if you have the room, set up a desk in a spare bedroom or quiet area of your house - ideally near a window or somewhere that benefits from natural light. Having a set ‘place’ of work, albeit a temporary one, is important in creating clear boundaries between work and personal time.
For official Government advice regarding social distancing, please visit the gov website. As part of the Tokio Marine HCC group, we are proud to support LAMP, one of the UK’s leading mental health charities, that is offering support to individuals during this crisis. You can contact them on 0116 255 6286.
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