Reinventing our wellbeing while working from home
We have all faced many changes in the past few months, and adapting to these might feel overwhelming: working from home, home schooling, feeling ‘stuck’ at home, grief... Let’s not forget our wellbeing though! If we don’t look after ourselves first, we will not have the mental, emotional and physical energy to look after our professional responsibilities or look after others. Without minimising the impacts on mental, emotional and physical health of the current situation depending on our circumstances, in all circumstances, it is key to fill up our cup first.
If I do not look after myself, no one will handle my responsibilities and duties when I have no energy left.
To support you in these times, here is a very practical blog article to support you in assessing your current wellbeing and reinventing your wellbeing strategy, because even in the ‘new normal’, there are options worth exploring to make sure we remain well!
1/3 Assessing your current wellbeing
The first step is to assess your current wellbeing. Has your wellbeing improved, stayed the same or deteriorated during the past few months and since the pandemic? You might already have an idea of your overall wellbeing state at the moment, but let’s break it down using our Wellbeing Toolkit. How would you assess each area regarding the evolution of your wellbeing in the past few months? Feel free to use the table below:
The areas where you have assessed a deterioration are the ones you might want to focus on right now. And you might say ‘Yes, but I cannot do right now what I used to do before!’, such as going to the gym, going out with friends or going to the cinema... And this is where our concept of ‘Grey Zones’ comes in.
2/3 Exploring the ‘grey zones’
Frustration can occur from not being able to do what we took for granted, anymore. As we shared in a blog post with Ground Up for My Business Leeds Website (direct link to come), there are options ‘in the middle’ between fantasizing about our pre-lockdown life, versus feeling down and apathetic because of the full lockdown. Because it is not all black and white, we should avoid thinking in ‘all or nothing’ ways in our daily life as well.
It is not totally sure that we will be back to ‘normal’ anytime soon, so it is important to embrace our ‘new normal’ and redesign our individual coping mechanisms, and to explore these ‘grey zones’.
For instance, you used to go to the pub in Leeds City Centre with friends on Friday evenings, and you cannot go anymore. What are the options between ‘going’ and ‘not going’? Are there any ways to meet your friends outside in a safe and socially distanced way to maintain this human connection that is important to your wellbeing?
These grey zones exist everywhere, personally, and professionally. Let’s be creative to make things work for us individually!
And to be creative, let’s look at the Wellbeing Toolkit one more time.
3/3 Reinventing your wellbeing toolkit
Looking at the list of areas within the Wellbeing Toolkit again, here is our question: what did you used to do before the pandemic in each of the areas, and used to work well for you?
For instance, in the ‘Being Active’ area, did you used to go to the gym twice a week? Again, it is not all or nothing here, there are many options between ‘going to the gym’ and ‘stop exercising all at once’. Here are some ideas:
Book a socially distanced bootcamp session in a park on a Saturday morning. Leeds List has a list of the best bootcamps in Leeds here, some of them outside;
Go for a run in your neighbourhood, and if you have never run before, University of Leeds shared their Couch to 5K programme for free, which can get you up and running (literally!) in 9 weeks.
Hire a personal trainer for some sessions instead of paying your gym membership. They usually bring the material and you can practice outside in the park or in your garden;
Find something new you have always wanted to try (that would be also valuable for the ‘Learning new things’ area!) and you can practice in your living room. If you want to practice for the Leeds West Indian Carnival next year for instance, RJC Dance in Chapeltown, Leeds, have amazing videos and a weekly live programme of free online classes on their Facebook page, full of positive vibes, energy and great workouts too!
And we are not all about exercising (trust me!), so let’s take another example from the ‘Breathing’ and ‘Disconnecting’ areas: going to the cinema. Again, it’s not all or nothing here, from ‘watching a carefully selected arty movie in a local cinema’ to ‘binge-watching a bad series all night long’. Again, Leeds is full of support here: Hyde Park Picture House share a weekly selection of movies on Leeds Inspired website, most of them accessible for free, and all of great quality.
(These examples are from Leeds, obviously, but valuable and accessible from everywhere)
There are many options to avoid frustration!
Please take a moment to assess your wellbeing activities from before, and how you could reinvent them to fit into our new reality.
And please, don’t forget the ‘Disconnecting’ aspect! As professional and personal lives have merged in a unique space while working from home, it might feel challenging to disconnect from one or the other: disconnect from personal circumstances while working or switching off from work in the evening to have some necessary downtime. Try to be creative in your disconnection as well: no phone in the bedroom policy, headphones on while working to ‘isolate’ yourself, stop email notifications on laptop and phone to ensure focused work… Many options here as well!
We would love to hear about your findings and how you managed to reinvent yourself! Feel free to drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org