With coronavirus stage 3 and 4 restrictions in place across Victoria and Melbourne, anxiety and stress are on the rise. Many people find it hard to adjust to the new normal. If you find it hard to stay positive during these challenging times, there are many ways to improve your mental wellbeing. We have put together a list of ways to take care of your mental health while you are working from home. If you feel you would benefit from speaking to someone, there is also a list of organisations that you can reach out to for help.
8 Tips to Help you Maintain a Healthy Routine during Lockdown
If increased coronavirus restrictions forced you to work from home instead of the office, you may struggle to find a healthy work routine and structure your day. We listed a few tips to help you structure your day and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
- Set a daily schedule
Create a schedule for yourself with a set start and finish time. Incorporate set breaks for coffee, tea and lunch similar to what you would usually do in the office.
- Communicate your schedule with your work from home colleagues
Let your family members or housemates know what your daily schedule is. You can coordinate breaks with your work from home collegues. This will give you an extra incentive to stick to your schedule. Similarly let your family or housemates know when you do not want to be disturbed.
- Dress as if you were going to work
Dressing as you normally would when you go to work in the office will help you get in the right mindset to be working. Similarly when you finish work, change into more casual clothing to help you switch off.
- Set up a dedicated work space
Having a dedicated workspace will help you separate your work and personal life. If you do not have the luxury of a study at home, you should make sure you pack up your laptop and work stuff at the end of the day. Clearing your workspace will help you switch off from work.
- Get a good pair of headphones
If you are sharing your workspace at home with your family or house mates, it can be difficult to find a quiet space to focus. Headphones can do wonders. Listen to your favourite music or a special playlist to help you focus.
- Schedule a short video call with your colleagues at the start of the day
Having a quick morning meeting with your colleagues will help you stay in touch regularly and kickstart the day. It’s a good opportunity for everyone in the team to communicate to each other what they are working on for the day.
- Make sure you go outside
Go for a walk during your lunch break. It is important to get sunlight and fresh air. Taking a break to go outside mid day will make you feel more refreshed and gives you energy to tackle the rest of your workday.
- Do a mindfulness or breathing exercise
MIndfulness and breathing exercises are designed to reduce stress and anxiety. A 10-minute exercise each day between meetings can help you focus on your mental wellbeing. We listed a few tools that can help you practice mindfulness and overcome negative thoughts.
8 Tools to Practice Mindfulness and Help you Focus on your Mental Wellbeing at Home
Mind over matter. It takes great courage to face the world with an optimistic and pragmatic approach amidst the stage 4 lockdown. Uncertainty can manifest anxiety and stress which can all but choke the drive to take positive steps. To help you overcome any negative thoughts we have made a list of tools you can easily use at home to work on your mental health.
Mentimia is an app by Sir John Kirwan. John Kirwan has dedicated his life to mental wellbeing and shares his knowledge with you through the mentimia app. The app provides a complete wellness program in bitesize exercises that help build great habits every day. There are tools available to help you set your goal, track and feel the changes that you are making in your daily life. Mentimia is available for Android and IOS and free to all Australians during COVID-19.
- ReachOut Breathe
Reachout is an online mental health organisation for young people and their parents. Their app ReachOut Breathe offers easy breathing and mindfulness exercises to help you slow down your heart rate and reduce stress and anxiety.
If you have trouble keeping your good resolutions, install a break timer on your computer to help you stick to your schedule. There are many break timers available, some more intrusive and forceful than others. Stretchly is an open source app available for mac and pc. The app reminds you to take regular breaks when you are working on your computer. You set your schedule for short and long breaks throughout the day. When it is time for your break, a message pops up on your screen with a suggestion for a break. Suggestions include things like a coffee break, do a stretch or breathing exercise. Break lengths and suggestions can be customised and if you are really busy, you can postpone or skip your break.
- Smiling Mind
This is a free meditation and mindfulness app by mental health organisation Smiling Mind. They recommend a 10 minute exercise every day. Programs cater to specific needs such as workplaces, adult, young people as well as programs for indiginous people and couples that are expecting.
- Insight Timer
This popular meditation app offers meditations and talks by world renowned experts including top Australian meditation teachers such as Melissa Ambrosini, Ajahn Achalo, Kate James, Meg James, Manoj Dias, Dr Elise Bialylew, The Stillpoint and more. Free features include guided meditations, meditations timer, music tracks and ambient sounds. You are able to set milestones and track your progress.
- Yogaia: Yoga & Meditation
The Yogaia app offers Yoga, Meditation and Workouts. It is their mission to help you live a happier and healthier life. Yogaia has a unique interactive feature, to turn on your camera to get instant support during your workout. Yogaia let your pick from 4 paths so you will be able to access classes catered to your personal goals. Classes cater to beginners as well as more experienced practitioners.
Most people already have this app installed on their phone. There are many videos, playlists and talks available on YouTube that can help you with meditation, mindfulness, breathing exercises and even workouts. All for free. We recommend ‘Spirit Dream’ Mindfulness Meditation by Ash Dargan. Spirit Dream is an aborigal meditation soundtrack, but it can be enjoyed by anyone.
Put those headphones to good use and listen to your favorite music or a special playlist designed to help you concentrate. There are numerous playlists available from calm acoustic music, to instrumental music and meditation and white noise sounds. White noise sounds help you block out background noises to help you concentrate better or fall asleep.
Organisations you can reach out to for Support
It can be hard to stay positive under the current circumstances. Many people nowadays feel an increased level of anxiety and stress. Long term stress can easily lead to mild depressive thoughts. If you feel you’re getting caught in a negative thought spiral, you can reach out for help. There are many organisations you can reach out to for help online or on the phone. We listed a few of those organisations below.
- One Door Mental Health
This is an organisation that helps those with mental illness or that are struggling mentally during this Coronavirus period. Their mission statement is one of fairness, value and equality. They also offer bilingual support services for those who find it hard to express themselves in English. You can find more information on their website. https://www.onedoor.org.au/
- Reach Out
Another helpful website is Reach Out. They have articles and tips on how to cope with COVID-19 as well as practical approaches to incorporate mindfulness into your daily life. You can find them here https://au.reachout.com/
- Smiling Mind
Smiling Mind aims to provide accessible, life-long tools to support healthy minds. They offer mindfulness programs especially catering to young people. They offer programs for kids and adults. More information can be found on their website https://www.smilingmind.com.au/
Lifeline is a non-for-provit organisation providing 24/7 emotional and suicide prevention support. You can call them on 13 11 14. For more information head to https://www.lifeline.org.au/
- Beyond Blue
Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health. They provide support over the on 1300 224 636 or you can access support via web chat. For specific information on mental health related to coronavirus visit https://coronavirus.beyondblue.org.au/
- Suicide Call Back Service
The Suicide Call Back Service provides support for people affected by suicide. You can get support over the phone via 1300 659 467 or contact support via web chat or video call online on https://www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au/
Maintaining your physical wellness can benefit your mental well being
Doing regular exercise can benefit not only your physical health but your mental health too. Your body releases chemicals like endorphins and serotonin while you exercise. The chemicals are known to improve your mood even if you are feeling good. Exercising outside like walking, running or cycling get you out of the house, get sunlight and fresh air. Exercise can help you connect with other people. It is ok to go for a walk with a friend or family member, as long as you keep 1.5 meters distance.
If you like to know more, read our blog on physical health.
Wellness at Work
When you are ready to come back to the office you may like to continue your newly acquired mindfulness skills. United Co. provides an extensive wellness program for members which includes yoga classes and a multi purpose quiet room for prayer or meditation. Read more about our wellness program HERE →
About United Co.
United Co. is a wellness focused shared workspace. We offer innovative solutions to help you work better and embrace work-life balance.
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