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How to look after your mental wellbeing at work and home

19 May

As life continues to be impacted by Covid-19, many of us are looking for ways to support our mental health. Whether you’re returning to work, still at home or never left the workplace, now is the time to focus on your mental wellbeing.

As part of Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to share some top tips we’ve collected to help you, your colleagues and loved ones stay mentally healthy during this time.

Looking after your mental health when you’re at home

Many of us are still at home isolating, furloughed or maybe looking for a new career opportunity. This can present new challenges for our mental health, particularly for those who have lost their daily routine of work. Here are some top tips to help:

  • Give yourself something to look forward to: Every day can feel the same when you’re isolating or working from home, and this can be particularly difficult for people who are not working. Give yourself a mental health boost by setting goals or milestones throughout the week to have something to work towards. It might be a target of finishing your book by a certain day, a time that you always go for a walk, or a meal you want to master cooking. Creating achievable tasks and setting small rewards to look forward to can help to give a sense of purpose during this time.
  • Take time out from technology: Lockdown has doubled daytime internet usage, with many of us spending more time using our mobiles, computers and TVs than ever before. Technology has enabled us to stay connected with our loved ones during this time, which is key for our mental health, but it can also lead to feelings of social exhaustion and being overwhelmed. Taking breaks from technology – even if it’s just silencing your phone for an hour while you go for a walk – can help to rebalance us.
  • Do something for someone else: The theme for Mental Health Awareness Week this year is kindness. Research shows that kindness can reduce stress, improve our emotional wellbeing and even help us to live longer. With that in mind, consider ways you can practice kindness from home. This could be anything from volunteering your time or skills to a worthy cause, checking in on neighbours and donating to your local foodbank to sending a homemade card to a friend or calling an elderly family member. 

Staying mentally healthy at work

If you’re returning from work after lockdown - or perhaps you’re an essential worker who has remained at work throughout the Covid-19 crisis – it's important to remember to look after your mental wellbeing while you’re adjusting to a work environment that may be different to what it was in January. Here’s what you can do:

  • Follow advice on social distancing and personal protection: Your workplace should have plans in place to welcome colleagues back to work, which may include distanced workstations, protective equipment and policies around who can be where, doing what, when. By following advice and doing as much as you can to protect yourself, your colleagues, customers and loved ones, you’ll likely be able to worry less and instead focus on the task at hand.
  • Take breaks: UK workers have a tendency of not taking enough time out during their workdays. The average midday break lasts just 22 minutes, and with many of us returning to work after periods away, it might be easy to try to squeeze as much work into the day as possible. Avoid mental burnout by taking regular breaks to re-balance your mental health and check in with how you’re feeling. A quick walk outside or simply stepping away from your work station can make all the difference.
  • Get outside: Being outside can reduce stress and improve your mood, even if you’re simply sitting or standing in one place. You can maximise the mental health benefits of being outdoors by sneaking in some simple exercise, such as walking, bodyweight exercises or even gentle yoga movements. The new Covid-19 guidelines have lifted restrictions on how often you can be outside, so if you feel safe doing so, make the most of this and get outside to reap the mental rewards.

Stay up to date with industry news and tips with Travis Perkins

At Travis Perkins, we have a health, fitness and wellbeing hub called myPerks - part of our Employee Assistance platform. Here you can access advice, support and discounts to make staying healthy at work easy. For more of our insights and tips, look at our blog.

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