Welcome to the first of Queensland Rugby League’s #WellbeingWednesday series, providing some handy tips and helpful advice to improve overall wellness.
Each Wednesday, Luke Archer, from QRL’s wellbeing and education team, will cover a hot topic that people may need some further guidance on.
This week, it’s all about working from home.
Working from home
During the COVID-19 pandemic, a lot of people are working from home. Here are some handy tips to help with this.
#WellbeingWednesday with Luke Archer: Working from home
Ensure your work space is ergonomic
What does that even mean?
Being ergonomic means to be more efficient and comfortable in the working environment. This will hope to lower stress and reduce injuries caused by awkward positions and repetitive tasks.
A few small and simple changes you can make include:
Make sure your desk is setup at ‘elbow height’ so your elbows can rest on the top of your desk – this is for both standing and sitting desks
Make sure your computer monitor or laptop screen is at eye height – so you’re not constantly looking up or down to focus on it
Try and position your body in an anatomical position so your spine is neutral – that way you aren’t leaning back nor hunching forward
Give yourself some space on your desk – you should be able to use both your keyboard and mouse comfortably
Make sure you have adequate legroom underneath your desk
Have a healthy mindset
Make your desk a happy place to work.
This may include ensuring you have adequate lighting and in a space that is positive for you.
Try and make your desk as similar as to what it would be at work – this may include hanging up photos of family and friends on the wall, or a photo of your favourite sports team (the Queensland Maroons, of course).
Don’t forget to get up and move during the day.
Frequently stand up and walk around often – this may include a short walk to another room or outside. It might even include making yourself a cup of tea or coffee regularly.
A good rule of thumb is to leave your desk for one or two minutes at least once every hour.
Keep your routine
Even though you’re working from home, it’s really important you try and keep a similar routine to the one you had when you were at your place of work.
Although your location of work has changed, your work routine most likely hasn’t.
This may include dressing for work and preparing for work. It may also mean trying to keep the same times for your breaks each day and starting and finishing at similar times.
How often is it that we get to work from home?
There are a range of benefits that come with working from home:
You get to see your loved ones more regularly
You don’t have to travel to and from work (and battle the traffic if you live in the city)
You get to have your lunch break at home every day
Look at the upside of getting to work from home during this period – it’s a luxury that a lot of us probably take for granted.
Alice Morse Earl once said … “every day may not be good, but there is something good in every day”.
The current COVID-19 pandemic is evolving and changing moment by moment, bringing with it a range of uncertainty to not just rugby league, but life.
NRL consulting clinical psychologist Dr Lyndel Abbott and the Queensland Rugby League wellbeing and education team have some tips to help you maintain your mental health during this challenging time.
1. Control the controllables
Focusing on things outside our control can have a negative effect on our mental state. This can negatively affect your motivation to train / work, your energy levels and your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Whilst it’s important to acknowledge the things that are outside of your control, it’s important to refocus on the things that are within your control.
2. Stay structured and remember self care
Looking after yourself includes exercise, making healthy dietary choices, having a healthy sleep routine and maintaining structure in your day.
People are used to, and generally thrive on, structure and routine. Schedule in specific times to exercise, intentionally connect with family and friends (within the boundaries of the government’s social distancing guidelines), and do things you enjoy or find purpose and meaning in.
3. Know your strengths and values
Use your character strengths and core values to guide your decisions and actions.
In a time of uncertainty, the most certain things you have are your values. Rather than being guided by worry or unhelpful thinking styles, think about what’s important to you (values) and ways to cope that you would be proud of (strengths).
Be guided by the question ‘what is helpful right now?’ and remember, mood is contagious. Think about what the most helpful way of thinking and acting will be not only for yourself but for your family, friends, teammates and community.
4. Worry is normal – choose helpful worry strategies
Try to use problem-solving (helpful) worry rather than unhelpful worry which goes around in circles and doesn’t reach a solution or conclusion. Problem-solving is structured, solution-focused and logical.
Questions to help you apply a problem-solving approach to worry are:
What am I worried about?
Is the outcome, or any part of the outcome, within my control?
If yes, what can I do about it (what actions can I take)?
What are the pros and cons to each possible action?
Which action makes the most sense and how/when will I implement this plan?
5. Focus on short-term goals
There are multiple reasons you feel uncertain at the moment – these may include uncertainty about your career, finances, studies, your own and your family’s health, the timeline of the pandemic.
In times of uncertainty, realistic short-term goals are important. Think about what you’d like to achieve over the next week and how you’re going to achieve that.
You can have multiple goals across a range of areas including social/family, community commitments, physical, self-development (for example, learning a new skill, studying).
You may also write a list of things you’ve been putting off and start to tick them off (whilst still following the social distancing policies of the government).
6. Stay connected
Social connection is important for our mental health, so think of other ways you can connect with friends and family whilst adhering to medical advice to distance yourself. This can include technologies such as video calling (for example, FaceTime, Skype) and instant messaging, but don’t be afraid to get creative in ways to stay connected throughout this challenging time.
7. Practice gratitude
Experiencing a range of emotions is completely understandable at this time; but there are still ways to use gratitude to keep things in perspective.
Gratitude practices can be as simple as listing the three best moments of your day, or the three things you’re most grateful for about today.
Paying attention to the things that we have can be a useful strategy at any time, but particularly in times of uncertainty.