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Working from home .. and then switching off.

How much has changed in the last 9 months. Initially, everyone who could work from home was asked to. Then came the message where it was safe and you were able to do so, go back to the office. Now we are being asked to work from home again. It is a time of change with a need to be adaptable.

Throughout this Covid pandemic I have been fortunate to be able to work from home, in the main using cloud video platforms. What I have learnt about being able to switch off, and as result keep mentally well?

I only go into my workspace 30 minutes before I am due on line, that way I am not sat longer than need be for the video call. I ensure I have a glass of water to hand. At any break (no matter how small) I ensure I leave the room and am lucky enough to be able to walk into the garden. In a longer lunch break I again try and go outside or may, time permitting, go for a run. Having something to eat and drink is a must for me, although I try keeping it light and simple e.g.  my favourite boiled egg and marmite soldiers!

It has taken me several months of working from home to realise that the most important part of switching off is at the end the working day by immediately closing the office door and going for a very brisk walk ‘round the block’. It is hard not to look at the emails or WhatsApp messages that have come in. I find I need the ‘down time’ that the walk gives me, in order to start the switching off process. In the past, this space was created by cycling home from work; a time to process the day and leave it ‘on the road’.

This works for me, however you will find your own way of switching off, there is no right or wrong way. The following NHS web site expands on some of the ideas I use, as does the Health in Mind web site.

Jackie Scruton

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