By now, I’m sure you’ve read plenty of articles about how to successfully work from home, what devices you need for successful collaboration experiences, or how to manage balancing work and kids 24/7. But, what about you?
I’m sure we’ve all been taking precautionary measures to sanitize surfaces, stay six feet apart, shelter in place, or wear gloves when we leave the house to protect ourselves. But, what about our mental health? Naturally, humans need interaction. Whether you are in introvert or extrovert, humans thrive on connection with others. For many, sheltering in place is quickly becoming a frustration. And, with everyone needing to be home all the time, tensions may be running high.
Let’s take a moment to shift the conversation to maintaining or even improving our mental health and well-being during this unprecedented time. Read on for a few manageable practices to protect your psyche in the face of a global health crisis.
Now, we’re not talking about anything risky here, but humans need sunlight to maintain their health. Sunlight and fresh air are proven to increase endorphins and make you feel happy. Even with shelter in place, walks or runs outside are still allowed. Take advantage of that, but still try to avoid obvious routes that might be full of others with the same idea. Fresh air and sunlight are good for the soul so step out into your backyard, onto your balcony, or take a walk around the block and get that vitamin D!
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again — humans thrive on connection. Thankfully, Poly is a company that powers human connection and collaboration with our extensive portfolio of devices. In this new age of technology, we are fortunate to have platforms like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and FaceTime to stay connected. Utilize them. Start your day with a virtual coffee meeting with a friend or co-worker that would have taken place naturally in your company’s dining area. Take virtual ‘water-cooler’ breaks with team mates just to chat, and at the end of the day or week, grab your drink of choice and host a virtual happy hour.
While working from home, it’s easy to feel like you are disconnected. Don’t let this happen. Utilize your resources to maintain conversation, relationships, and of course, make sure you’re not missing any deadlines. If your family members or roommates are sheltering in place as well, plan a time to sit down and have lunch together. If you live alone, have a virtual lunch with a friend to check in!
If you’re like me, scrolling through my phone, switching between apps gets old. So, I’ve decided to be proactive and change that by revisiting old projects I need to finish, or hobbies I love to do. Here are a few of my favorite ways to keep my mind and body engaged.
Reading: Pick up a book you’ve been meaning to finish and finish it. Perhaps now would be a good time to start a book club with your friends or colleagues and have monthly virtual book club meetings. Now you’re hitting two birds with one stone! Give your mind a rest from all the negative media and zone into an alternate reality or learn something new with a non-fiction book.
Cooking: …Or baking — whichever you prefer! Now is a good time to try out some different recipes. Not only can it be fun, it’s something you can practice and get better at, which will help you ward off feelings of stagnation and instead evoke the sense of progression. When you’re done, share your recipe with your teams, family, and friends and exchange recipes with each other. Ensure you feel calm and connected to yourself through the process.
Play music: When was the last time you gave a nice pluck at your guitar strings or pressed the keys on your piano? Use this time to show your instruments some love and get back to playing those songs that make you happy, work on some rusty ones, and express your talent. Music is a great way to keep your mind stimulated and make you feel happy.
Listen to music: I don’t know about you, but I’ve been known to hit a plateau when it comes to my playlists. After listening to the same set of songs for a while, it’s time to change it up. Do a deep dive into discovering new artists and genres and share with your family and friends! But first, you need a solid set of cans to listen with. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered.
Pick up a craft: Always wanted to learn how to paint or perfect your woodworking skills? Maybe you have an old car in the garage that needs some parts replaced or some plants that are craving attention. Whatever it is, getting your hands and mind working to learn new things is how we keep our brains engaged while feeling gratification with ourselves.
Practice mindfulness: Start or end your day with reflection by writing in a journal. Since the start of the year, I’ve been keeping a positivity journal where I write good things that I see, hear, feel, or do that makes me happy during the day. With so much negative media, this can be a positive way to focus on the little things that make you happy and check in on your emotional and mental health. Practicing yoga or meditation is also a powerful tool. The act of reflecting and connecting with yourself is a surefire way to set yourself up for a positive and successful day, and a great way to wind down and express gratitude at the end of the day. The effects of this practice on your mind is unparalleled, bringing many positive benefits to you and those around you. If you’re new to meditation check out Headspace or look for other guided practices on YouTube or the Peloton app.
Move your body: Maybe yoga or meditation isn’t your thing, and that’s okay. If you’re able, go for a walk or run outdoors (fresh air and moving your body is a win-win). You can even hop on YouTube to find at home HIIT workouts which get the job done in a timely (but hardest 30 minutes of your life) manner. Whatever you fancy for physical activity, I guarantee you will feel refreshed and accomplished once it’s completed.
Spend time with your pets: Did you know that petting a dog or cat has been proven to increase endorphins and make you feel calm? So not only is it good for you to show your pet some love, but they’re sure to love it too!
Cut Yourself Some Slack
In all honesty, if you are binge-watching Netflix, or spending your free time playing video games, listen to your body is telling you what it needs. If you need to lay in bed all day on a Saturday rather than cleaning your house or apartment or picking up a new craft, do it! These are confusing and uncertain times and we all need to focus on being human. If you’re a parent with kids at home, there may be this pressure to come across professionally while life is happening in the background. Be kind to yourself and each other during this unique situation. Your team members are in similar situations and are not looking for perfection. Rather, we should be looking to support one another during these unprecedented times and express positivity and gratitude towards each other.
So, check in with yourself and prioritize your mental health and well-being. Listen to your body and do what you need to do to achieve connection, collaboration, learning, and growth.