By Nina Collins, Auroch Digital
In a practical sense, we’re one of the lucky industries that has mostly been able to switch from working in shared spaces to working from home pretty seamlessly. People personally adapting to working from home is a different matter.
Working from home is a beast unto itself, and for some people it just doesn’t suit them. Throw a pandemic, self-isolation and shielding into the mix and you’ve potentially got a recipe for unhealthy, unhappy people.
I wanted to write this post as there’s some very simple adjustments you can make which can have a big improvement to your physical and mental health. I will say that I don’t have any formal qualifications in physical or mental wellbeing, however, as a gym fanatic, and lifelong depression and anxiety survivor, I felt damn prepared when I was suddenly told I couldn’t leave my house for 3 months!
So, here are some actionable tips that may help if you’re struggling with your mood, energy levels, cravings, or the multitude of other side effects of trying to not catch or spread COVID through self-isolation.
Before you skip this part, I’m not going to suggest you go on a diet! In fact I’m going to actively encourage you to eat that piece of cake! All I’m going to suggest about food is that you should be mindful about what you’re eating. Everyone is already under a lot of stress, so now is not the time to be starting some crazy new diet because you’ve decided you want to come out of lockdown as a sixpack-sporting butterfly - you’re only going to put yourself under more stress, fall off the wagon, order two takeout pizzas to yourself, and feel even worse than you did in the first place.
Ultimately, food is fuel. Formula 1 research labs spend millions finding the perfect combination of fuel to make the cars run their best. The human body is no different. Chances are you’re not a high level athlete, so you don’t need to go to an extreme extent but it’s worth taking note of what you are eating, how you feel after, and making adjustments where necessary. For example, I’m not gluten intolerant, but I know if I have pasta for lunch I get sluggish that afternoon and lose focus.
Top tips for food:
- Start taking a mental note of what you’re eating and how you feel after. See if you notice a pattern, and if you do, adjust.
- Have treats! You should definitely allow yourself to have access to treats, but in moderation, and do it consciously. Rather than suddenly eating half a pack of biscuits and feeling guilty about it (which also increases stress), make the conscious decision of when to have them. For example, Friday evenings you could have take-away as a reward for getting through the week. You’ve already made the decision to have it and planned for it, so there’s no inner argument, plus you’ll enjoy it a lot more.
- Use caution around alcohol. Anecdotally, many people have been drinking more during lockdown. For those that do consume alcohol, it’s perhaps not surprising - there’s not a lot else to do and it’s one of the treats we can still enjoy during these times. But again, and as always, use in moderation. Alcohol is a depressant and lowers your immune system, so if you’re already struggling with your mood, try cutting back on the booze.
Don’t go running for the hills (pun intended), I’m not going to suggest you start cycling 10k or start bench pressing your children or pets. Again, these tips are focused on simplicity, and not putting yourself under any more pressure than you already are.
Top tips for exercise:
- Walking might not feel like it does much, but it does! It slightly elevates your heart rate and gets you moving. Going for regular walks if you can, or even getting up every couple of hours and walking around your garden or living room for five minutes will still have a lot of benefits for your mind and body.
- A lot of us have terrible posture at our desks at the best of times, which is only compounded by sitting there for eight hours a day. Daily gentle stretching like in this video can really help alleviate aches and pains.
- If you want to start doing some more rigorous exercise with your saved commute time, but don’t know where to start, look for ‘body weight home workout’ on YouTube and just have a go at something you like the look of. This and this video are a great place to start, short and simple. Just always be mindful of working within your own physical limits!
Navigating Now and Beyond
This is part of our Navigating Now and Beyond in partnership with Sports Interactive series - guest articles and guides providing technical and practical advice for games companies to navigate working now and beyond the current Covid-19 crisis.
Find more articles at our Navigating Now and Beyond hub here.