With many now working from home, how can we keep well?
I often coach people suffering pain who have to think about their working life. The approach uses the working day as part of the way a person can overcome pain by creating a plan and a structure to follow each day. Within this we build skills of being well as they work towards recovery and a better life.
Here are some of the common practices, which maybe useful at a time when people are unexpectedly having to work from home. Many will have some kind of set up, but there will be those who are not prepared. Some will have to share kitchen tables with other members of the household or create a space in the bedroom. Whatever the scenario, there are a few things to consider. Here are 5 tips:
1. Keep the routine
To remain focused and in a work mode, you can choose to get up at the normal time that you would if you were going to the office or workplace. Maintaining this creates a sense of familiarity that is calming and gears you up for what you must do.
Get dressed in clothes that you would work in, even if it is the casual version. Brush your hair, shave and all the other things you do to get ready as normal.
If you exercise before work, figure this into the routine before you get ready. This maybe adapted or different, but there are plenty of options: walk, run, cycle, body weight exercises etc.
2. Identify your workspace
If you can, allocate a space for your work, even if you have to pack it all away at the end of your day. There is something positive and healthy about putting it away so you can focus on something else. In a sense, you are creating a boundary, which is often missing these days.
Choose which room you will work in and stick to it. Your home is your safe sanctuary. We blur the boundaries of work and home by bringing our phones, computers and iPads into every room. One of the most important rooms is the bedroom. Sleep in one of the most important needs for humans and many already struggle. This is one place where work should be excluded, otherwise your brain simply does not know the difference between a place to recoup energy and the office.
My workspace is ……….
3. Take breaks
We all know that to keep our performance up we need energy. Taking breaks through the day is the way to do this as we take a few moments or longer to re-energise.
A break should include some movement but there are many other things we can do to lift our energy. For example, put in some music, get some fresh air, have a shower, connect with someone, watch something funny, breathe, visualise a place that we love and much more. At this point, you could make a list of things that bring you positive energy.
5 things that bring me positive energy are ………….
I have mentioned movement and exercise, but this is worthy of it’s own section. There is not much we can achieve without movement. We need it to think clearly, to be well, to survive and more. Reduced movement is threatening as it affects our survival chances and hence triggers the biology of protect. This has many consequences on our health and the chances we will feel anxious or pain for example.
Simple and regular movements through the day, which are low strain and nourishing, does wonders for our mood, mobility and overall health. Beyond this is daily exercise at a preferred and convenient. You can consider this a skill of being well, and much like cleaning our teeth, it must be consistent to be effective.
5. Make a plan and write it down
If we have a plan that we follow, it makes it more likely that we will take action. At the top of your plan, write down what really matters to you in life.
To periodise your day like an athlete ensures that you prioritise the important tasks and activities. You can tick them off if you like. This will include work periods, rest periods, exercise, breathing, lunch, time for something joyful etc.
At the end of the day, you can jot down three good things that have happened, switching your radar towards the small, yet positive events. We know that the more you notice these, the more you notice. The momentum builds.
What we are talking about is the creation of new healthy habits to build upon what you already do successfully. There are many ways you approach your work that deliver results, in particular when you play to your strengths. In this time when uncertainty, which was always there, has become especially apparent, we need to create new structure to our day and be creative in our thinking to keep moving forward. Together we can.
Richmond specialises in persistent and chronic pain, helping people understand their symptoms and how they can improve their life and achieve the results they desire. For the past 10 years he has pioneered Pain Coaching that draws upon the latest pain science together with modern and effective coaching practices (i.e./ strengths based and peak performance) to give people a way forward. Many of these practices simply help people achieve their best.
Contact Richmond here if you suffer persistent or chronic pain and would like to start a Pain Coach programme or if you are interested in building your wellness for peak performance.
If you have any questions, do drop me a line.
Skype/Zoom sessions are available (I have been using Skype/Zoom for some years to work with people across the globe as it works very well for Pain Coaching).