Looking after your mental health
Dealing with remote work and physical distancing can leave us feeling isolated and lonely. These feelings can take a toll on our energy levels and mental health.
Looking after our wellbeing and mental health is more important than ever and below are a few simple to tips, tools and resources to help.
Create clear boundaries between work and personal time in remote settings
- While home is work and work is home, it is especially important to set boundaries and make sure we switch off when the workday is done. This helps create a proper separation mentally, even if physically we are still ‘in the office.’ Not having physical separation between home and work can leave you feeling ‘switched on’ all the time. It can be detrimental to your mental and emotional wellbeing if work creeps into your life.
Make use of wellbeing and mindfulness apps
- There are several free apps available that focus on areas such as mindfulness, stress reduction and better sleep. Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) have collated a list of apps that they recommend.
- Showing empathy and offering support to our colleagues is an easy and powerful way of showing care for each other. When talking with our colleagues, before we get down to business and discuss work, ask how they are doing. It used to be a formality, but now it is an important thing and cannot be discounted.
- The University’s Employee Assistance Program is also available for anyone, who needs targeted one‑on‑one support. Book a session and explore available resources here.
Staying fit and well
- Engage in healthy activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. Try to maintain some physical activity and avoid or limit news and social media if it’s not helpful for you.
- Follow good nutrition, like you were at work. It’s easy to forget your routine and either skip meals or snack all day. To stay healthy, you need to have a well-balanced diet. Check out foods that boost immunity and some tips on healthy meals you can make from the pantry or freezer.
- Use outdoor spaces, such as your garden or balcony if you have them. Even 15 minutes in nature and fresh air can improve your mental health.
- Incorporate some exercise in your day. If you need some inspiration, MU Sport has compiled a range of resources to stay healthy and active. Benestar also has some helpful tips on staying fit while working from home.
Focus on what’s in your control. Sometimes, our feelings of anxiety may come from a place of wanting to make sense of uncertainty, which is a perfectly human thing to want to do. We all have a limited amount of energy, and sometimes we drain our energy focusing on things that are out of our control. Make a choice to focus on things within your control.
Self-directed mental health checks
It’s a difficult and challenging time for everyone and keeping a check on how we are feeling is important.
- There are some helpful and free external resources that CAPS recommends for checking in on our own wellbeing and mental health. You can explore a list of these mental health online resources.
- The Black Dog Institute has developed a fact sheet on how to check in on our personal mental health. Try their personal mental health check-in template.
Resources and support
Employee Assistance Program
Counselling and Psychological Services
Safer Community (report sexual misconduct page, including speak safely tool)
Principles for Respectful Supervisory Relationships
Appropriate Workplace Behaviours policy
Appropriate Workplace Behaviours Compliance training
Research Integrity and Misconduct Policy
Graduate Research Training Policy
- Make time to reach out to colleagues and check in with them. In these difficult and challenging times, it’s important to listen well and show empathy in our conversation with colleagues, friends and family members. The tip sheets below provide some helpful tips about how to approach these conversations.
- Building and maintaining resilience
- Coping with feelings of anxiety and worry during a challenging period of uncertainty
- Having supportive mental health conversations with colleagues
- Maintaining a healthy mindset during a period of uncertainty and prolonged isolation
- Addressing loneliness and building connection
- This podcast from the Resilience Institute provides some helpful hints and practical examples for staying well while working remotely
- Focus on what’s in your control. Sometimes, our feelings of anxiety may come from a place of wanting to make sense of uncertainty, which is a perfectly human thing to want to do. We all have a limited amount of energy, and sometimes we drain our energy focusing on things that are out of our control. Make a choice to focus on things within your control.
- Find additional Wellbeing Resources via the Staff Hub.