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How to protect your mental health in 2022 and be less pandemic-focussed

by Sellick Partnership | 2 February 2022

Three years since the discovery of Covid-19, the pandemic still presents twists and turns to everyday life. A constant feed of negative updates and implications of the pandemic is likely to take its toll on anyone, so there is no better time to put your mental health first.

Although the significance of the pandemic should not be taken lightly, it is important to ensure that your physical and mental health remain a priority, as the influx of anxiety and stress can have a negative impact that could affect your everyday life.

For many, working from home has added a level of stress to the already-strenuous circumstances, so it is vital that we use our knowledge from the past three years to better deal with the situation at hand. For those who have worked from home earlier in the pandemic, you will have been faced with new challenges and benefits. There are a number of surprise adjustments that need to be made, understanding that it takes time to adapt to this new rhythm.

Can you work from home in the legal sector?

Generally, the legal sector can be well adapted to remote working, but individuals in the sector can be affected by the solitary nature of the work. Those working from home - whether in the legal sector or not - should find ways to keep themselves motivated, focused and productive. This is especially true for those with children, a TV, partners, and any other potential distractions, like pets or housework.
 
Our tips below will help you to stay sharp and maintain a positive outlook on tackling work from home:

Maintain a structured routine

Maintaining your routine as much as you can may help you stay in control during unpredictable times. It is important to go to bed and wake up as you would usually, ensuring that you dedicate time to do things you enjoy doing. Why not use the time you would use commuting to go out for an early morning walk/run, or push through that book you’ve been meaning to read?

It is no surprise that the climate and seasons can affect your mood. The winter brings with it a reduction in serotonin and, for some, this can contribute to seasonal declines in mood. During the colder months, be sure to not let slip of the things that make you happy, no matter how small. Put yourself first - you’re the most important person in your life!

Set clear boundaries between work and play

When you are working from home it can be difficult to divide work-life balance so consider setting yourself some realistic boundaries, and make sure you stick to them.

TIP – Stick to your daily schedule! Get up, get dressed, eat and drink plenty of water and - most importantly - take regular breaks throughout the day. 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! It could also be enticing to work longer than you need, so be sure to set yourself a daily limit and not surpass it.
 
In building a routine, have a dedicated place where you can work that is separate from any other activity you would do there outside of your working hours. This will also help you mentally, as it will separate work from your personal life, aiding productivity and your ability to switch off after you have finished working.

If you have children and a partner, take turns to look after them

Children are bundles of energy that bring a host of distractions. It’s a difficult task to juggle working from home and looking after children. Therefore, if you have a partner, take turns being ‘on duty’ to look out for the kids. If you don’t have a partner, and if there is no one else who can help, be sure to openly communicate with them about the situation, explaining that you have to work, but will dedicate time to ensure they are getting the attention and nurturing they need.

Check-in regularly

In times of communal isolation, communication reminds you and others that we are all in this together. Set aside time to check in with your family, friends and colleagues via video/phone call. Don’t be afraid to reach out, as the person on the other line will most likely be as fulfilled speaking to you as you are to them.

Maximise productivity

Whether you are back in the office or still working from home, it’s important to think about your productivity. Start by identifying your most productive times of the day, and use these times to tackle the important tasks. Build lists of priorities, ensuring you adhere to the time it would normally take you to complete them - and if it doesn’t, don’t be afraid to reach out.
 
For many legal professionals, work involves the drafting of documents and occasional telephone calls, so take advantage of the quiet time to apply yourself. Some courts across the country are postponing hearings based on positive Covid-19 cases, so it is important to practice remote court appearances/conference calls instead, where possible. When this isn’t possible, be sure to take all necessary precautions. In light of an increase in vaccinations, most businesses and industries remain open, with particular regulations appropriate to the business.

Is 2022 a good time to find a new job?

It is important to remember that we cannot control the circumstances of life, but we can change how we choose to see them. If you are still working from home and struggling with adapting to a new work/life balance, be sure to reach out to the help of professionals who can guide you to maintain a healthy lifestyle and outlook.
 
The complete transformation of a working environment can sometimes lead people to realise that they are not on the right career path. With restrictions easing, more and more businesses are beginning to introduce working from the office so it might be worth considering a career change if you’re really not happy where you are.

If you are considering a career move, or would like to take advantage of the ever-changing world to seek new opportunities, get in touch today on 0161 834 1642 or by email at manchester@sellickpartnership.co.uk to speak with our career specialists, who have extensive experience in helping people find the career that’s right for them.