While working from home has obvious benefits, it’s not all fun and games.
Homeworking requires discipline and can come with its share of loneliness and stress as people struggle to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
So, how can you stay happy, relaxed and focussed if you work from home?
Stick to your usual routine
When it comes to homeworking, it’s important to establish a routine and stick to it – try to recreate a typical working day, as best you can, and keep to your normal hours.
Avoid the temptation to extend your working day – such as replying to emails and carrying on working after the children are in bed, or into the weekends.
Get lots of light
Sunlight, fresh air and spending time in nature benefit our mental health by triggering the brain to release the hormone serotonin – helping us to feel calm, boosting our mood and reducing anxiety.
If possible, put your desk near a window, draw the curtains back fully and keep the windows clean.
Take the opportunity to get outside in your garden or local green space in daylight – even if it means working a bit longer into the dark.
Keep a tidy workspace
Clutter can raise your level of the stress hormone, cortisol, by over-stimulating the brain which can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches and sleep disruption.
Keep your workspace free from clutter and distractions – have a clear out, get organised, and get some storage if necessary.
For many of us, the daily commute is now a short walk from the bedroom to the dining table or study, without involving any physical activity.
Yet exercise is a natural anti-anxiety treatment, relieving stress, boosting physical and mental energy, and enhancing wellbeing through the release of endorphins.
Make sure you keep active and remember to stand up and stretch regularly during the working day.
Whilst you might not have the usual commute home, it’s still important to put a clear boundary between your work and home life.
End your day by doing a regular non-work activity – anything which helps draw a line between your professional and personal life.
Going outside for some fresh air can give you time to unwind after a day working at home. Or try cooking – it can be relaxing, creative and something you can do with others.
The thing many people miss most about working in an office is the social contact.
But as we enter winter and socialising outdoors becomes harder, we need to try to ensure we still speak to and, where possible, meet friends, family and neighbours – so, perhaps arrange to meet another person for a walk, jog or bike ride