Working from home is the dream, right? You can roll out of bed at ten-thirty, work in your pyjamas, take breaks all the time and no one tells you what to do!
Now, if you’ve actually worked from home, I’m sure you’re cringing at the idea of what I just suggested (except maybe the working in pyjamas part!)
Working from home comes with its own heap of mental strains that you might not encounter in the office.
Loneliness is a prime example. You are not surrounded by colleagues as you would be in an office. These are people who can provide a network for support, guidance or just be someone to help you vent your frustrations. Another example is working with clients who can ask you to do work beyond the 9-5 time limit. This makes it harder to switch off and leave the work behind at the end of the day.
With this in mind, I’ve thought about the things I do and have around my office at home to help support my mental well-being while I work. Here are a few of the things I have come up with:
1. Notebook and Pen
I found a really cool notepad in a stationary shop once – it has ‘Brain dump’ written across the top and a space to scribble little thoughts throughout the day. I’ve got a notepad handy for a similar thing – negative thoughts, positive thoughts, ideas, little doodles, to-do lists, all of these things find their way into my little notepad. It’s a great way to organise the one thousand thoughts going through your head which sometimes can lead to a nasty headache!
2. Mina the Plant
To be more specific – Ficus Benjamina the plant. She (yes, I’ve given it a gender) is a ‘weeping fig’ that I recently bought from IKEA. She now lives on the desk next to me. It might not seem like much, but she brightens up my office and brings a little bit of nature to my desolate corner of the room. Also, she is nice to talk to and water when I am taking a break.
3. Organisational boxes
I am guilty of letting my desk get into a crazy mess. But sometimes, the mess reflects my state of mind and can leave me feeling mixed up and overwhelmed. Therefore, I have a set of boxes on my desk to help me organise when things get a bit out of hand. Sometimes a tidy desk (or the act of tidying the desk) can improve my day significantly!
4. Allowing yourself to take breaks
This one can be tough when you are a freelancer. Sometimes you just work and work and work until the headache kicks in an you have to force yourself to stop. I have a timer for every hour that I work. At the end of the hour, I take a five minute break to make sure that I have a glass of water and to stand up and walk around. Also don’t forget to eat lunch!
5. Go outside
Sometimes you have to get away from the office to appreciate the office. Coffee shops dominate town centres nowadays, and most come with free wi-fi as well! I have my favourite spot in the local coffee number one where I can break out to for a few hours if the going gets rough – and I don’t have to feel bad about missing work because I can take it with me!
6. My weekends are my own
I try not to work on weekends. I’ll admit, I am really bad at this one. I try, for at least one day a week, to turn off the computer and do something for myself. This might be a walk in a forest, watching a film on Netflix or just baking a cake. We all have the right to step away from work for a while, an many of us don’t exercise that right enough.
These are just a few of the things I do/ have to improve my mental well-being around the office. Do you have any of your own habits that you think help you as a freelancer?