Whether you’re spending time in the garden, venturing out for walks in open space, or creating a tranquil place to live and work from home, we all need to protect and safeguard our mental wellbeing.
While our homes can provide a sanctuary, the changes to our day to day lives also present us with significant challenges to health and happiness. We caught up with Jill Mead, co-founder and managing director of TalkOut, specialists in breaking down stigma surrounding mental health in the workplace, for some expert advice on how we can keep our minds fit and healthy while at home…
How might lockdown affect our wellbeing?
Many of us are creatures of habit and don’t welcome change too warmly, but it’s important to recognise that change will always be a part of our lives. We can usually navigate our way through, but when things like CV-19 crop up out of the blue, change can suddenly feel very overwhelming. It’s important to recognise how this might impact your mental health and wellbeing, and talk out about it.
Creating a safe and inviting home environment is a great way to calm any nerves and ultimately help you accept your new circumstances. Recognising and accepting how we feel is also a crucial step. It’s OK to feel anxious, so try not to block out these feelings. There are, however, some ways you can manage them to avoid feeling overwhelmed.
How can our homes help us?
Well, positivity breeds positivity and often shifting your attention elsewhere can help you feel more positive. You can do this effectively in the home by engaging in hobbies such as listening to music while looking out of the window, watching a film, or perhaps reading a book in the garden.
Gardening is a fantastic way to reduce anxiety and improve overall wellbeing, not to mention broadening your skillset. If your garden is already beautifully decked out, you should use this space as much as possible – for outdoor exercise, relaxing or reading a book. Don’t worry if you don’t have access to a garden, simply opening windows to let fresh air flow through your home can help, as can letting in natural daylight; small things that can go a long way to helping you maintain good mental health.
What’s your advice for staying productive and positive?
Working from home is likely to have an impact on productivity one way or another as well as on work motivation. It’s important to let go of what you cannot control from home and focus on the things you can, such as keeping up with your routine, having short and regular breaks, and maintaining regular communication with colleagues.
Take the time to focus on the things you don’t normally have time to do in your home during your normal day to day life and identify a short term purpose for yourself. This could be a project you’ve been putting off for a while. Start by creating a plan in order to set some goals and move it forward. This might involve sourcing tools for a new hobby or doing some research on the next step you want to achieve in your life, such as a career or house move.