Work and Wellbeing · 12 March 2020

How to cope with Corona-Cabin Fever

It was probably music to your ears, Monday 6:30 am your employer sends out a mass-email to the team, telling employees work from home, “avoid contamination” amidst the UKs coronavirus crisis. You smile, roll back over in bed and treat yourself to a cheeky extra 30mins of sleep (you don’t have to be online till 9 am anyway). 

That half an hour has accidentally spiralled into a full 90min snooze. But you don’t fret quickly you brush your teeth, make yourself a coffee and fill your bed with crumbs as you munch on a slice of toast whilst reading your work emails. This is the life. 

But as the “self-isolation” day turns into a week, you are probably finding yourself missing the daily annoyances of office life.  You would happily hear the voice of your fellow colleague ramble on about their broken washing machine or even Claire from accounts relay the story of her “surprise valentines engagement” for the fifth time in one day… 

No stop yet

Coronavirus is not slowing down, and there are rumours we might not have even reached peak mass infection yet. The UK is doing what it can and quarantining yourself from the public (even if you have as much as a tickle in your throat) is probably best practise to protect vulnerable members of society.

Hopefully, most of us will never have to experience the physical effects of Coronavirus, but few of us will be left unscathed by the emotional battering our psyche takes when we live through a pandemic.

One in five workers could be forced to stay home during the height of the coronavirus outbreak, prime minister Boris Johnson has said. But how does this affect us on a mental level? isolation has a profound effect on the brain, we must not forget that humans are social beings.

Teaming up with consumer electronics and software-driven company, Activbody. We have complied some of the top tips necessary to fight WFH cabin blues…

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.

2. Make the most of the time at home

As a harried society, home tasks such as organising clothes, cleaning or filing paperwork often go unattended to.

Research shows that clutter from 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 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.

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

Staying deeply focused on work for long periods of time can also be harmful. It’s important to take breaks to guard against monotony and 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.

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 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.

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 or unable to get 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. Or even an online exercise video can be used for 5 minutes in the morning.

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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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