Whether you’re returning to the office, or you will continue to work from home for the foreseeable future, one thing is universal: Caring for ourselves helps us serve our clients and families and keeps us healthy.
Working from home has been a transition for many of you. You’ve had to deal with ergonomic issues that may not have seemed significant if you were only working from home a few hours a month but are very significant when you’re working from home nine or ten hours per day. When we work in isolation, we often find ourselves sitting for longer periods. We forget to move and take stretch breaks. With gyms and yoga studios closed you may be feeling stiff or sluggish.
5 Best Practices to Consider When Evaluating Your Ability to Care for Yourself and Your Clients
1. Learn How to Relax. One method to consider is the Practice of Mindfulness.
What Is Mindfulness? Mindfulness is a state of intentional, nonjudgmental focus on the present moment. Mindfulness techniques are often incorporated into other practices, such as yoga or meditation. It is often thought to include the following elements:
- Awareness – Being tuned in to what is happening in the present moment, including sights, sounds, smells, or physical sensations you might usually ignore.
- Focus – Paying attention to the present moment, without thinking about past or future events.
- Acceptance – Accepting whatever you might be feeling or thinking, without judging it or trying to change it or your reactions.
- Observation – Recognizing unpleasant sensations, thoughts, and feelings as temporary and fleeting, observing them objectively without reaction or judgment.
What Are the Benefits of Mindfulness? Mindfulness has been studied for many years. According to recent research, it has several benefits for physical and mental health. Some of the strongest health benefits include:
- Improves mood – Mindfulness training may reduce depression and anxiety. One study found that mindfulness training was as effective as antidepressant medications in preventing a depression relapse.
- Reduces stress and its consequences – Mindfulness can lead to less intense stress responses. This has many health benefits, such as lowering your blood pressure and strengthening your immune system.
- Improves coping with pain –People with chronic pain who practice mindfulness meditation report less severe pain and pain-related distress. They are also more active despite their pain.
- Improves brain functions – Practicing mindfulness helps build your ability to pay attention and focus. Over time, this training can sharpen memory and improve mental performance.
- Helps with weight management – Some mindfulness techniques have been shown to reduce overeating and obesity.
2. Connect with a Support System
Don’t forget to continue to connect with your worksite and your friends. It is worth the effort! Your employer may have an Employee Health Department, an EAP provider or a Human Resources representative. They are there to help you come up with an effective plan for managing your stressors, so you can perform your best on the job.
Your friends can also be a wonderful support system but also keep you accountable if you choose to begin a program to increase your fitness level. Grab a buddy and get out there! You are more likely to keep that commitment as you won’t want to let the team down.
3. Track Your Stressors by Journaling.
Keep a journal for a week or two to identify which situations create the most stress and how you respond to them. Record your thoughts, feelings and information about the environment, including the people and circumstances involved, the physical setting and how you reacted. Did you raise your voice? Get a snack from the vending machine? Go for a walk? Taking notes can help you find patterns among your stressors and your reactions to them.
4. Take Time to Recharge.
I am sure you are finding yourself working at all hours of the day, during this “Stay at Home, Work Safe” timeframe. It is much harder to switch off when your office is in your home.
The APA suggests: To avoid the negative effects of chronic stress and burnout, we need time to replenish and return to our pre-stress level of functioning. This recovery process requires “switching off” from work by having periods of time when you are neither engaging in work-related activities, nor thinking about work. That’s why it’s critical that you disconnect from time to time, in a way that fits your needs and preferences.
Don’t let your vacation days go to waste. When possible, take time off to relax and unwind, so you come back to work feeling reinvigorated and ready to perform at your best. When you’re not able to take time off, get a quick boost by turning off your smartphone and focusing your attention on non-work activities for a while.
5. Establish boundaries.
In today’s digital world, it’s easy to feel pressure to be available 24 hours a day, especially when you have been working from home. Establish some work-life boundaries for yourself. That might mean making a rule not to check email from home in the evening, or not answering the phone during dinner. Although people have different preferences when it comes to how much they blend their work and home life, creating some clear boundaries between these realms can reduce the potential for work-life conflict and the stress that goes with it.
CompAlliance is proud to also offer our clients additional resources to maintain your health and well-being.
CompAlliance has partnered with Restore and Renew to bring you a series of free, twice-weekly yoga virtual classes.
These classes vary in length from 10-minute, quick breaks that can be done from your chair, to 30-minute sessions you can enjoy during your lunch hour or even before or after work. Each class is offered with instruction suitable for beginners or the seasoned yoga practitioner. You’ll walk away feeling relaxed, refreshed, and with renewed energy levels. You’ll be ready to serve your clients and maintain your health and vibrance. Click here to register for these sessions.
CompAlliance Resources to Maintain Your Health and Well-being and Assist Your Recovering Workers. Following are links to some of these resources.
Virtual Ergonomic Training – Keeping Your Newly “Stay Home, Work Safe” Employees’ Worksite Safe
24/7 Telephonic Coronavirus (COVID-19) Nurse Triage – Helping to clarify and offer alternatives
Hypothetical Employability Evaluation – Assisting in determining the potential for a Recovering Worker’s Capabilities to Return to Work
CompAlliance is honored to be your Managed Care Services Provider during these trying times.