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Staying Mentally Healthy While Working from Home


It’s quite common to work in an office and think about how much more relaxing it would be to work at home. The truth is, though, that working from home has some specific challenges that can make it difficult to maintain a healthy mind. To help you with that, we’ve put together a list of ideas and resources to help you look after your mental well-being.

 

Prioritize Your Mental Health and Well-Being


Mental health is at the center of your overall health and well-being. Unmanaged stress and other mental health problems can lead to more serious issues like burnout, low productivity, and even physical health problems.



Tips for taking care of your mental health while working from home:


  • Set clear boundaries between your work and private time to make sure you leave enough time for rest and relaxation.

  • Stay connected with your coworkers and friends so you don't feel isolated, and make sure you have social support.

  • Prioritize sleep to maintain good mental and physical health.

  • Mental and physical health problems are closely connected, take care of your body and your mind.

 

Develop Healthy Stress Management Techniques


There are lots of different things you can do to manage your stress levels, like taking breaks, exercising, practicing breathing techniques, and many more. We recommend trying out different techniques to find which ones work best for you. Then when you feel a little stressed you can pick from your favorites.


Try this 3-minute stress management technique and see if it helps you assess and control your stress while at home.


 

Getting the Balance Right


There are hundreds of models for building a happy life, but most people find the Good Lives Model (2011) by Tony Ward makes sense and helps them think about how balanced their lives are:



The Good Lives Model was originally designed to help criminals, so we have made some changes to make it a bit more useful for you! The idea behind the model is that happiness and comfort come from getting as much balance as you can in each of these important areas of your life. Let’s take a look at what each square means:

Life Square

Meaning

Relationships

Positive Romantic and Family Relationships

Healthy Food and Exercise

Eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise

Hobbies and Interests

Activities and interests that you enjoy taking part in and learning about

Agency

How much you feel in control of what you do

Spirituality

How much you feel you have meaning and purpose in life

Pleasure

Feeling good in the moment

Knowledge

How much you feel you know about and understand

Creativity

Expressing yourself through art, sound, music, dance, rap, woodworking...

Work Skills

How skilled and experienced you feel in your work or studies

Community

Relationships in wider social groups outside of romance and family

So, take some time to think about your life and how full each of the life squares is. Maybe you need to add more family time into your life, or maybe you would feel better if you started learning woodworking!

 

Getting Professional Mental Health Support


Recognizing when to ask for professional help for your mental health is a skill, and we often forget how important our emotions are by focusing completely on our work and our bodies. The different types of mental health professionals, and how they can help you, can be confusing too! In this section, we'll look at when and how to ask for help, different types of mental health professionals, and how to access professional and volunteer mental health support online.


When to Ask for Help


Here's some information to help you spot the signs and situations that show it's probably time to speak to a mental health professional:


  • Tired and sad - you feel down and worried most of the time, and it's getting worse, not better.

  • No energy - you find it hard to find the energy and motivation to do everyday tasks.

  • Out of ideas - you've tried different ways to feel better, but they're not working.

  • Quick to anger - you've been feeling very angry for a while now. Even when you are calm, the anger comes back easily.

  • Want to escape - if you think about hurting yourself, getting into an accident, or ending your life, this is very serious. You need to get help right away.



Where to Start Looking for Help


The best place to start for most people is to make an appointment with your primary care doctor. They can usually recommend a mental health specialist who can help you with your specific needs. And, although it is especially difficult to motivate yourself when you aren't feeling well, the sooner you get help, the better you'll feel.


If you can't get a referral from your primary care doctor, there are also ways you can refer yourself and get private mental health treatment. Use a search engine and search for qualified mental health professionals near you "<Qualified Therapist/Clinical Psychologist/Psychiatrist> near <your location>"

Note: You won't always match with the right therapist the first time. If you are having problems connecting with or trusting your therapist, ask to be moved to another therapist.

 

The Different Types of Mental Health Professionals


There are three main types of mental health professionals: counselors or therapists, clinical psychologists, and psychiatrists. Each type can offer you different mental health support, which is explained in the table below:

Type of Professional

Can

Make a Diagnosis?

Licensed and Regulated by Law?

Suitable for Serious/Severe Mental Health Problems?

Can Prescribe Medication?

Counselor / Therapist

No

No

No

No

Clinical Psychologist

Yes

Yes

Yes

No

Psychiatrist

Yes

Yes

Yes

Yes

 

Paths to Professional Mental Health Help Online


If you can't get a referral to a mental health professional through your primary care doctor, aren't happy with the professionals offering services in your area, or you'd prefer to have therapy online, you can also try the options below:


  • The International Therapist Directory - a list of qualified therapists around the world who speak English, with many also speaking other languages. Use the advanced search feature to look for therapist specialties and training, their location, and if they offer in-person or online therapy.


  • BetterHelp and Talkspace - online professional therapy platforms with qualified therapists who speak English and a variety of other languages. All sessions are provided online, and you are matched to a therapist.



Volunteer Mental Health Support Online


Would you like some non-professional mental health support while you are waiting to be seen by a professional? Maybe you don't need a professional, or you want extra support at the same time. Then you can try these listening services:



  • 7 Cups - an online platform with volunteers that support other users by listening to their problems.

 

Wrap Up


We are all used to looking after our physical health to keep us happy and able to support ourselves, but there’s a lot of room for improvement when it comes to our mental health. It’s vitally important that we prioritize mental health just as much as physical health.


To begin putting your mental health at the top of your to-do list, start by completing this list:


  • Plan mental health activities into your day.

  • Listen to your mind and body when they say you need support.

  • Look at the different areas of your life and see how full they are.

  • Learn about the different types of mental health support and what is available to you.


If you would like or need professional help, or just a little extra support, don’t be shy to reach out and get in contact, that’s exactly what they are for! Don’t be afraid to prioritize being happy.

 

Helpful Links


 

References

Purvis, M., Ward, T., & Willis, G. (2011). The Good Lives Model in practice: Offence pathways and case management. European journal of probation, 3(2), 4-28.


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