It goes without saying that the COVID-19 crisis is a really hard time for everyone. I take a very direct and honest approach to life and to say this is getting me down is an understatement. I luckily haven’t contracted the virus however my mental health is suffering.
Like many people in Dublin, I am renting my accommodation so it’s not the mansion I someday envision myself occupying. The small space is now my home office, my gym, my social space and where I’m spending a good 20+ hours every day.
With that said it’s not all bad and there are little things we can all do. I’ve decided to take this as an opportunity to share my top tips on minding your mental health and staying sane within your own home. I hope even one of these tips helps you stay that bit saner during these times.
Staying Sane While Working from a Small Space at Home
Set yourself up for success:
You need an actual working space when WFH, this is where we must get creative. If you’re like me and don’t have a home office (or even a dining table) you need to be as creative as possible when setting up your workspace.
I have a coffee table in my bedroom which usually holds my tv and PS4 but during working hours I have my pillows as my chair on the floor, back against my bed and laptop set up in front of me.
I chose to stay on the floor as I was leaning over too much elsewhere, and my back was suffering. I think in this instance its whatever works best for you.
Colleagues of mine are on their couches, have put together a desk from materials they found at home and I’ve even heard of the new ironing board desk alternative- the future of office furniture! The point is, we are all adapting here and if it works for you then great!
Get some fresh air
Our movements have become heavily restricted however we are allowed some lovely clean free fresh air! Leaving your 4 walls even for a very short period will help you stay sane within them.
Get out of the house once a day if possible. Stretch your legs and breath in the Irish air. With social distancing in place, once this is safely adhered to, enjoy what’s on your doorstep.
I live in the city centre and it’s surreal at the moment. There is a great community vibe emerging, no matter who you are and where you come from, we are all in this together. The walks I go on are very humbling lately and something I’d really recommend.
Exercise is great for mental health. I am no marathon runner by any means but I’m missing the Pilates class I attend in Cpl and my walks home from work.
Luckily for me, this is a common theme and there are some amazing online workouts available. Katie Taylor has been putting up unreal videos via twitter and I’ve been trying to follow them. Who knows, we all could emerge from isolation beach bod ready!
It’s important to do all we can for our wellbeing while being stuck at home so do try so get in some light exercise and enjoy the endorphins that come from it.
Virtual coffee breaks:
While working from home it can be difficult to stick to your normal office routine, well at least it was for me and it was starting to drive me crazy. I want to be as proactive as I can within these 4 walls for my job but it’s important to take a step back every once in a while and reset.
I love a virtual coffee break! This is where I arrange a google teams meeting with my usual lunchtime crew from work and we have a coffee and a chat, just like we would in the office. This to me is so important. It’s so exciting to see your pals, catch up and most importantly rant out anything we need to!
A problem shared is a problem halved and I truly believe this. Take a step back and allow yourself to virtually socialise. Be creative – have a virtual dinner party, an online quiz or bingo party or my mother is keeping it old school writing letters to her American relations. Whatever works for you, keep social distancing but becoming virtually closer.
Allow yourself to binge TV
I’m finding this whole crisis overwhelming. Staying sane within your 4 walls can be tough. Keeping your workload as productive as possible all while adapting to this new way of working can be exhausting.
At the end of a hard day on the bedroom floor/home office I find myself drained. I’ve answered all my emails, went on a walk, linked in with everyone and enjoyed some light exercise. It is at this stage I allow myself to have a good chill out session.
Working from home and dealing with this crisis is challenging so I think it’s vital we all allow ourselves some down-time to relax. Turn off the news and watch something light-hearted, read a book or do a puzzle. I find myself pushing through the last few hours in work knowing I get to chill out and watch some of my favourite shows.
Indulge in whatever food you like
We’re stuck at home and the fridge has become a cool hangout. Go on and allow yourself to have that extra biscuit, feel fancy with some cheese and grapes or whatever your favourite indulgence is.
It’s only natural that we’ve all increased snacking. If there was ever a time to loosen the reigns it’s now. There are so many worse outcomes of the COVID-19 crisis than putting on a few LBs from that extra bar or the multipack of crisps that only lasted one day, let yourself enjoy it.
I think doing small like things like this is so important for our mental health. We are all in this together, so I encourage everyone to share their own top tips on how to do so.
In Ireland we have always had this amazing ability to overcome obstacles and its our fighting spirit that drives my motivation daily.
Take every day as it comes, cry, laugh and do what you need to and we will all come out the other side of this with a new sense of value for the 4 walls we occupy.
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