BACP accredited private psychotherapist Jasmine EL-Doori provides advice on how PAs, EAs and other office support professionals can look after their mental health while working from home during the Coronavirus pandemic.
Most PAs, EAs and office support workers will be feeling like their life has changed overnight with the unprecedented health and economic crisis that Coronavirus has thrown us into.
The pandemic has the potential to affect the mental health and wellbeing of large numbers of people. It’s a time of uncertainty with many stressing about their job security, finances, health anxieties and daily concerns about accessing shops and vital services. The changes are far-reaching - many of us are now working remotely from home and parents are juggling work demands with childcare now that schools have closed.
Most of us will be feeling the vacuum once filled by regular face to face contact with friends, family and work colleagues – now only a remote version of these relationships is available to us.
It’s essential that we can preserve a sense of balance in our lives to restore some calm during this storm. Being adaptable and finding ways to readjust to the new routines of life will bolster resilience during these challenging times.
Here are some ways of taking care of your mental health and holding onto yourself in this constantly changing world.
Looking after your mental health while working from home
- Maintain balance
- Don’t get angry about things you can’t change
- Remember that this won’t last forever
- Focus on the present
- Avoid spending too much time looking at the news
- Make the most of your free time
- Appreciate the little things
- Think about the bigger picture
Working from home may be a new challenge and it’s important to be able to delineate the boundaries between work and domestic life. People have reported working longer hours from home without the interruptions of office life. Devise a routine that works for you; without that early commute, you have time to begin the day with exercise or take a lunchtime walk to break up the day.
Don’t get angry about things you can’t change
To keep your mood stable, it helps to be able to accept that you have no control over the current situation. It can be damaging to hold onto anger that fights against the “new normal” and wishing for your old life back.
Remember that this won’t last forever
It’s important to accept that this new routine is for now and that it will not last forever. Dwelling on “when will this end?” can exacerbate anxiety and depression.
Focus on the present
Do not focus on timescales. Making plans for the future weeks and months ahead can feel heavy in a climate of uncertainty. Instead, focus on today, knowing this will get easier.
Avoid spending too much time looking at the news
Ration your engagement with the media. It can feel like an itch that needs to be scratched, but too much absorption in the news can magnify anxious feelings.
Make the most of your free time
Away from the rhythm of usual life, you now have the space to appreciate the enforced downtime. We’ve all said to ourselves that we wished we had more time to catch up on reading or favourite TV shows, do yoga and meditation, clear the garden, or spruce up our living space.
Appreciate the little things
In the midst of chaos, small details and experiences can come to life – the feeling of the sun on your face, the blossom on the trees, cooking your favourite meal or catching up with friends remotely. We need to feel connected more than ever now our lives have been pared back.
Think about the bigger picture
Remember that we are making short-term sacrifices in order to save lives and guarantee that we’ll get to the other side sooner – there will be light at the end of the tunnel.
About the Author
Jasmine EL-Doori is a BACP accredited private psychotherapist with 20 years’ experience. She formerly practiced in the NHS at Guy's Hospital and specialises in:
- Anxiety & Panic Disorder
- Low Self Esteem
- Eating Disorders
- Anger Management
Jasmine is currently offering Skype and telephone consultations/sessions ideal for PAs, EAs, VAs, Office Managers, Secretaries, Receptionists and any other support professionals struggling with mental health issues.