Work and Wellbeing · 12 March 2020

How to cope with COVID-19 cabin fever

coronavirus-cabin-fever

As the period of COVID-19 “self-isolation” turns from days into weeks, you are probably finding yourself missing the daily work routine in your office, including the social interaction with your staff.

The coronavirus outbreak is not slowing down, and there are rumours we might not have even reached peak mass infection yet. While the Government is doing what it can to stem the virus, self-quarantine is still the most sensible thing we can all do to try to prevent further infections.

With one in five workers expected to stay home during the height of the coronavirus outbreak, the adverse mental health implications could be great. That’s why Business Advice has teamed up with consumer electronics and software-driven company, Activbody to find out what can beat the self-isolation blues while working from home.

1. Keep the mind occupied

For those spending extended amounts of time at home, it’s important to keep the mind busy to combat depression. There are hundreds of ways to keep the brain active when at home; from puzzles to word searches, online quizzes and mind training.

Maintaining an active brain will help pass time and keep negative thoughts at bay, this will also mean that when it’s time to work from home, you will feel rested and reinvigorated enough to do so.

2. Make the most of the time at home

We live in a fast-paced society, where home tasks such as organising clothes, cleaning or filing paperwork often get pushed to the bottom of the to-do list. Research shows that ignoring these simple tasks can increase stress, so taking care of these neglected tasks can not only improve long term health but also give a feeling of accomplishment. Getting fresh air, such as through an open window while completing these tasks is also a great way to maximise mind and body benefits.

3. Take a break

Those who find themselves working from home often feel more productive, less distracted and less stressed because they don’t have to commute to an office. However, the lack of social interaction can lead to feelings of loneliness and isolation.

However, there are a number of simple, easy ways to alleviate these feelings. For example, having the radio on or some source of ambient noise in the background can help stem feelings of loneliness.

Staying focused on work for long periods of time can also be harmful to mental health. It’s important to take breaks to stem any feelings of monotony including loss of productivity. Set a timer for every hour to get up and walk around, go out to the garden for fresh air or put some washing on. These activities can help clear the mind, leaving you refreshed and feeling ready to get back to work.

4. Make use of tech

For those working from home, video conferencing technology such as Facetime, Zoom or Google Hangouts can be used to communicate effectively with co-workers. Regular interaction with colleagues can help the working day pass quickly. These tools are especially effective for brainstorming or sharing ideas with others while working remotely. However, video conferencing isn’t just for work, it can also be used to keep in touch with friends and family. Social interactions are the best face to face but video conferencing is a great alternative when face to face interactions are not possible.

5. Get moving

Being at home and unable to go to the gym is no reason to miss out on the benefits of exercise. If available, a smartwatch can be used to count steps or flights of stairs climbed around the house. You can even go online and follow workout routines for a short session in your living room or kitchen during the mornings before work, or after.

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ABOUT THE EXPERT

Laura is the Junior Reporter at Real Business and Business Advice. She's the first point of call for any PR, business owner or industry insider looking to tell a story of entrepreneurial inspiration, retell some key advice, or a ground-breaking news story. She is the core ambassador for the brand(s) and can be found attending high profile events and meeting disruptive business owners across London – and beyond.

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