Mental health and wellbeing — Learning from home

Covid-19 has changed the way we all work. All Organisations and institutions including higher education.

With the majority of students learning from home, taking care of your mind as well as your body is really important.

During this time, they may begin to experience a range of emotions including boredom, frustration and loneliness. They may also feel ‘low’, anxious, or depressed over issues such as health and finances.

Whilst it is important to remember that this situation is temporary, the tips and suggestions listed below are things you can do now to help you keep on top of your mental health and wellbeing.

Encourage healthy sleeping 

Workers should try to have plenty of sleep.  This can help workers to stay healthy, be more productive and to recover if they develop or have had symptoms of COVID-19 or other illnesses.

Stand regularly

It is important that you take regular rest breaks and to stand up often to experience health benefits.

Extra movements including stretching and physical exercise can enhance the health benefits. For more general information on standing when working and the associated health effects, see here.

Partake in controlled breathing exercises 

Deep and controlled breathing can help you to relaxThe process also switches brain activity to a different section of the brain which encourages more rational decision-making processes. 

Allow ultraviolet (UV) light into rooms 

UV can help people to feel less isolated and can help eliminate feelings of loneliness.

Plan your upcoming financial situation 

You may need to adopt and plan for short-term lifestyle changes to consolidate or utilise finances more efficiently. The IOSH Student Member Bursary may be a source of help, find out more here.

Motivate students through praise

Ensure that students feel rewarded for their work. Students may be naturally fearful, and a morale boost can help to raise wellbeing to a more positive stateA simple ‘well done’ or a ‘smile’ (whilst on a teleconferencing call for example) can make a difference.

Allow flexibility 

To help workers manage their own health and that of others allow them to take extra rest breaks if required and to address other concerns or issues alongside their remote working. Ensure that work deadlines and timescales are reasonable as this will help to reduce stress.

Do not use derogatory, damning or social labelling terminology

Individuals should not be referred to as ‘COVID cases’, ‘COVID victims’, ‘COVID families’, etc as this can have negative social effects. It can also cause individuals to feel victimised, social outcasts and isolated in a time of isolation.

Be compassionate to yourself and others 

This will provide them with self-reward and will offer support to others. This can allow them to lead by example and inspire others to do the same.

Encourage peers to support each other 

This not only includes other peers, but family, friends, vulnerable people and others. This can encourage unity.

Keep in regular contact

This will help to avoid feelings of isolation and loneliness. It’s a good way to ensure that workers are well and that they understand information and instructions presented to them.

As well as phone calls, texts and social media engagement, video calls may be a good way of talking, as 70% of communication is non-verbal.

Disability support 

Ensure that your institution is aware of any support requirements that may occur throughout this lock-down period. You should send photographs to highlight any potential issues or adjustment queries to your institution representative, so they can better support you.

Set boundaries between working and non-working hours 

Have set learning hours and avoid sending communications during this period unless it is absolutely necessary. This will allow you to continue a healthier work-life balance.

Credit: IOSH