Taking care of your mental health while working from home

woman sat on a chair in the middle of the room, anxierty, mental healthOver a year on, and restrictions are taking their toll on even the most upbeat people and although lockdown was difficult in summer, one in the darker months brings its own specific challenges.

Working from home is not easy for everyone and the disappearance of boundaries between work and home can really take their toll.

Much as we may hate our morning and evening commute at times, it serves us well as a distancing tool. On the way in, we leave home life behind and can get ourselves ready to face the day. In the evening we have the time to filter out the stresses of the day so that we arrive back ready to engage with our families, or our own self-care. Remove those and we remove the full stops on our working day. And that means that our mood loses its ability to reset.

Even in the most difficult circumstances there are always things we can do to help keep our spirits up. The top priority for me is always to spend a little time outdoors because nature is always the quickest, easiest and cheapest way to improve our wellbeing. Being in nature has been shown to reduce our stress levels and improve our mood and a good brisk walk can increase our endorphin (feel good chemical) levels in the brain. In winter, getting some daylight every day is crucial for mood and if you suffer from SAD (Seasonal Adjustive Disorder) a daylight lamp will allow you to expand your daylight time even more.

Next, stock up on essential supplements to keep you healthy through the winter. Make sure you take vitamin D, the sunshine vitamin that both combats SAD and boosts our immunity. Magnesium is also beneficial when we are feeling anxious and it can improve our quality of sleep and Vitamin C helps our immune system to function effectively, helping us ward of coughs colds and other bugs that can make us feel even worse.

Lastly, rather than reaching for the same old cuppa, try to turn your next cuppa into a supportive medicine for your body by drinking a herbal brew instead. Tea companies have produced a wonderful array of herbal infusions in the past few years that taste and smell delicious while supporting your health. I know because as the Twinings herbalist I’ve been helping them! If you’re feeling stressed, caffeine will only exacerbate that, whereas a calming blend can help you to feel better overall. Look for blends with names like relax or calm.  For times when you do need to be on your toes, there are blends to help boost your energy without the caffeine or delivering caffeine in a slow release form that is less likely to give you the jitters.

You can download my free guide to caffeine alternatives with more information here and I hope you will look after yourself this winter.

Pamela SpenceAbout the author

Pamela Spence is a medical herbalist, writer and educator and runs a successful clinical practice from her home on Scotland’s beautiful west coast. She is the Twinings herbal expert and teaches internationally both informally and on professional herbal training courses.

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