Set up a routine
Whilst this is not always possible in social care due to shift patterns and covering hours at the last minute, having a routine is vital. Think about your start and finish time and your breaks to make sure you schedule these in throughout the day, so you have time away from work and bedtime routines etc.
Know your limits
It’s important to know your limits so that you’re taking care of your body and mind. Only you will know what you’re capable of and how far you can push yourself, but it’s vital you don’t overdo it. When we don’t know or set our boundaries, you can be taken advantage of and it can lead to burnout, resentment and poor mental health.
Learn to say no
Saying no isn’t always the easiest thing to do, but it’s important to say it to protect your mental health and stop yourself overworking. You should be saying no when:
- What’s being asked of your only benefits someone else
- You want to say yes out of guilt or fear
- You already a heavy workload.
Reignite your hobbies and personal interests
Having hobbies or personal interests help focus your attention and make sure you take time to do things outside of work. They can also help you relax, take your mind off pressure elsewhere and connect you with friends or likeminded people.
We hear all the time how exercise is good for us. If you’re like me, your mind will take you straight to the gym or going for a run (send help!) but exercise does not have to be this extreme. Just getting outside and going for a walk, going for swim or dancing is enough.
Make to-do lists
Don’t sit at work trying to get everything done – you’ll never win. It’s okay to let things roll over to the next day, so make sure you have a to-do list, prioritise what needs actioning first and let things become a priority on another day.
An old manager I had used to write an exit list which was all the things she needed to do next week but used to say it helped her get work matters off her mind. She was also great at delegating tasks to others so she knew that things had been done.
Get out of your work clothes and into something else. Even better, have a bath in-between to relax. Changing out of work clothes can help your mind put work aside and relaxation mind into play.
Set app boundaries
Do you use apps for work that are on your personal device? If so, make sure notifications are turned off when you’re not at work so that you’re not led back to the work mindset. Refrain from checking emails or logging on to do one thing just quickly, as one thing leads to another, and before you know it, you’ll be sat there for an hour or so working.
You could go one further and have a digital detox which has been proven to increase your attention and boost creativity. Sadly, I can’t help with this as I’m terrible for being able to put my phone away!
It wouldn’t be a tip list if nutrition and hydration didn’t feature on it. Make sure you’re well hydrated and that you’re eating a balanced diet. I must admit, I love to bake cakes and puddings as I find it means I put down my phone and my mind is focused on the job in hand. I love dropping cakes to friends, family, or neighbours which in turn increases social interaction.
Plan your day off
There’s nothing worse than sitting inside and achieving nothing, so make sure you plan days off to do something you enjoy so you get a sense of achievement, something to fill your mind and distract you from work.
Utilise annual leave
Make sure you take time away from work and utilise annual leave to get the rest your body needs. Make sure when you’re on leave you put on an out of office and try not to check emails and contact people. Your colleagues will be okay and understand you’re not in the business.
One top tip is to put your out of office on a day before you go so you have the last day without being distracted. The same goes for when you get back – leave it on for a day or two to give you time to come back to work, catch up with your peers and to respond to emails.
There you have it
Understandably, this list isn’t exhaustive by any means but is a great starting point to help you unplug and unwind. If you have any ideas that you’d like to add, don’t hesitate to get in touch with me on Twitter. Oh, and if you're interested in the Buffer survey, here's their state of remote work report.