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Looking after your mental health throughout a pandemic – stay motivated and productive

by Leah Edgar | 30 March 2020

Coronavirus panic has gripped the nation and whether this be from the news or social media, you will be acutely aware that every other post is about the virus and its spread across the world. Although the fear of the global pandemic – which we know very little about – should be taken seriously, the influx of anxiety and stress can have a negative impact on all our mental health.

Many businesses have also been forced to ask employees to work from home which has added another level of stress to the situation for many people, and we need to be aware of how we can handle this and support people where possible.

Working from home definitely has its perks, but it also requires a few adjustments and can take some getting used to if you have never done it before. Generally, the legal sector lends itself well to remote working, but it can be quite a solitary job to do. It is therefore hugely important that lawyers – and everyone else that find themselves currently working from home to find ways to keep themselves motivated, focused and productive; particularly with children, TV, partners and even seeing jobs that need doing around the house!

But don’t worry, take a look at my top tips below:

Maintain a structured routine

Keep your routine as normal as you can, this will help you stay in control during times of uncertainty. It is important to go to bed and wake up as usual, plus taking the time to do things which you enjoy. Why not use the time you would use commuting to go out for an early morning walk/run?

I would strongly advise doing this, especially now we have hit the spring mornings and it acts as a psychological boost and keeps your positive energy up for the day.

Set clear boundaries between work and play

When you are working from home it can be difficult to divide when you are working, and you are out of hours. It is important to set realistic work-life boundaries.

TIP – Stick to your daily schedule! Get up, get dressed, eat and drink plenty of water, and most importantly take breaks. You might be tempted to lounge around on the couch or stay in bed with your laptop to work, but this is something you must avoid!

Make sure that you build a routine and have a dedicated place where you can work. This will also help you mentally, as it will separate work from your personal life.

Take turns to look after your children – and give someone a break

Inevitably, you are going to get distracted. If you and your partner are working from home whilst your kids are off school, it can be like a second job trying to entertain them. It is important to take turns on who is on ‘look out’. If you don’t have a partner, is there anybody else who can help with caring for your children whilst you are working?

Check in regularly

During this time, be mindful of your communication – remember and remind others that we are all in this together! Make time to check in with your family, friends and colleagues via video / phone call. This will help to maintain your daily routines and will avoid you feeling really isolated.

Maximise productivity

With employees being forced to work from home, it is essential that you try and carry on your work as usual. Pay attention to the time that you would usually be commuting to and from the office, it is thought that this is the time you are most efficient. Identify your most productive times of the day and use these times to tackle the important tasks.

For many legal professionals, the work involves drafting of documents and occasional telephone calls, therefore take advantage of the quiet time to concentrate and analyse! It has been highlighted that some courts across the country are postponing hearings, therefore it is important to promote remote court appearances/conference calls instead, where possible.

The pandemic has led a lot of questions, but it is important to remember that we cannot control the circumstances of life, but we can change how we choose to see them. Most businesses remain functioning as ‘business as usual’ with only a few limitations to what they can do. Remember to stay in touch with the people you usually speak to throughout the week and stick to a daily routine to keep your mind active and to remain motivated.

If you are stuck at home and struggling to stay motivated, give me a call. I would be more than happy to have a chat with you.

Alternatively, utilise your time wisely. Check out our latest jobs or have a look at our blogs for the latest goings on in the legal sector.