Millions of people in the UK received a 'Stay at home order' last night; and many are now dealing with an all too familiar feeling experienced at the beginning of Spring 2020, when the UK entered its first national lockdown. Whilst lots of us have been working from home for many months now, the importance of maintaining our mental health and wellbeing, and taking care of both ourselves and one another is more important than ever.
Many of us are working from home, some are living alone and isolated from others, and some are also juggling work with homeschooling and childcare. Whilst we all may be experiencing this lockdown slightly differently, many of us will be feeling similarly. This blog post will outline some useful resources available online, to help with the next few months and beyond.
Top 5 Working From Home Tips
Source - Every Mind Matters (NHS)
1. Set and stick to a routine
Without steady schedules, the lines between work and personal time can get blurred and be stressful to get right.
Follow your normal sleep and work patterns if you can, and stay consistent.
Get up at the same time, eat breakfast and get out of your pyjamas. Try scheduling in your "commute time" and spend it exercising, reading or listening to music before logging in.
Most importantly, when your workday stops, stop working. Shut down, stop checking emails and focus on your home life. And at the end of the day, try to get to bed at your usual time.
2. Make a dedicated workspace
If you can, find a quiet space away from people and distractions like the TV (or the kitchen, when you feel snacky).
Get everything you need in one place, before you start work – chargers, pens, paper and anything else – and shut the door if you can. Even in a small or shared space, try to designate an area for work.
Lastly, get comfortable. While it might be tempting to sit on the sofa, it's much better to sit at a desk or table. Use the NHS guidelines to set up your workspace correctly, as much as you possibly can.
If you do not have office furniture like an adjustable chair, try using things like cushions to support you in your chair, or a box as a footrest.
3. Give yourself a break
Working at home can make us feel like we have to be available all the time. But just being "present" is no use to anyone if your mental health is suffering.
Making time for breaks is important to help manage feelings of stress – try to take lunch and regular screen breaks. Give yourself time to concentrate on something else so you feel more focused when you return. Even just 5 to 10 minutes of short breaks each hour can really help your productivity too.
4. Stay connected
While working from home has its benefits, you may also feel more isolated. But there are lots of ways to stay in touch with those who matter – boosting their mental wellbeing as well as our own.
In and out of work, human interaction matters so schedule video calls and pick up the phone instead of emailing. If you're struggling with working at home, speak to your colleagues or manager about your concerns.
And remember, your colleagues probably feel the same as you. Ask how they're doing and whether there are ways you can support each other.
5. Be kind to yourself
Remember, this is an unusual situation and things will not feel normal.
Be kind to yourself and acknowledge that you might not be as productive as you usually would be. Be realistic about what you can achieve given the circumstances, and relax when your work is done.
Top 5 Homeschooling Tips
Source - Lucidchart.com
1. Create a designated learning space
2. Follow a daily schedule
3. Set learning goals together
4. Take learning beyond the classroom
5. Collaborate with other homeschoolers
Top 5 (Free!) Homeschooling Resources:
1. Scholastic Learn at Home
Children's book publisher Scholastic dug through its considerable library of educational resources to produce Scholastic Learn at Home, a daily burst of reading and other unique activities that's a refreshing break from dry, textbook-style writing.
2. BBC Bitesize
All the activities and resources on BBC Bitesize are all tailored to support the National Curriculum, so you can be confident that your kids are covering the same material they would in class, with different content tailored for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. Once they've completed a particular section, they can test their knowledge with an interactive quiz to make sure it's stuck.
Khan Academy is a US-based site, and is structured around the American school system, but it's packed with a huge amount of content that crosses over with the National Curriculum in the UK. The site also has great online lessons – particularly for maths and science subjects
Live and pre-recorded video lessons from popular BBC presenters.
The Artful Parent is a site packed with fun craft ideas to get your kids thinking creatively. Many of them are well suited to younger children and are fantastic if your little ones are starting to get bored or anxious.