Self-care when working from home
How to take care of yourself and others #
Take good care of yourself. Self-management is more important than ever. Do what you need to do to get comfortable in this new situation. Don’t feel bad for taking a walk or if you need to take a few breaks. Remember that you are your own boss.
Take one day at a time. Focus on the here and now, this is the only moment we can actually change. Thinking too much about the past or future will only make you worry. If you need some time to think, at least limit it to for instance 15 minutes at a certain time. When the 15 minutes are up, start thinking about something else. You might find it helpful to do something that takes your mind elsewhere.
Help your manager be a good leader for you, by letting them know what you need in your new work arrangement, and what they can do. Leading employees who are all working from home, can be a new and challenging situation for your manager.
Adjust your ambitions to match your capacity. You might have to lower your ambitions for what you can deliver in a demanding situation working from home. Define new and realistic goals in consultation with your manager. If needed, you can ask your manager to help prioritise your tasks. Be clear on what you can realistically produce in your new work arrangement. This can reduce stress and the feeling of inadequacy.
If you have capacity to spare: Show initiative! Let your manager know if you have spare capacity. Ask colleagues if they need help to get things done. Use your spare capacity to do tasks for which you usually don’t have time. For example: Tidy up your email inbox or your files and folders, get up to date in ePhorte, learn a new digital tool (like Teams), read up on your subject / field of work, or take an online course that is relevant for your work.
Structure your workday as much as possible. Define your working hours and spare time as far as possible. Decide on the duration of your work sessions. Consider putting away your phone and turning off the sound and alerts when you need to concentrate, or when you want to relax. It can be a good idea to make a list of tasks and completing one at a time. Try to vary your tasks and work methods during the day. See also NTNU’s home ergonomics and NTNUs home office guidelines.
Keep in touch with your colleagues. Social support is important. It's important now that we have a low threshold for contacting colleagues, both for professional questions and informal reasons. You should make sure that you see at least one face every day. Take initiative to digital meetings, like a digital cup of coffee or lunch. It can be nice to find someone with whom you can openly discuss the challenges of this new working arrangement. Perhaps it can be both nice and useful to spend the lunch break taking a walk together?
Get in touch with colleagues you think might need some contact or support.
Take breaks, and go outside if possible! Fresh air and movement is good for both your mental and physical health. You should therefore get some fresh air during the workday – not only is it completely legal, it is very good for you.
Take breaks from the news feed if you need to. Keep up to date on important news, but consider taking breaks from the constant news feed.
When the working day is over: Try to keep your regular circadian rhythm. Go to bed and get up at the same time every day. Do things that are positive and meaningful to you. Stay in touch with others by phone or digital media. Go outside for fresh air, if you can. If so, be sure to follow advice and guidelines to prevent infection when you are outside your home.
Accept your own and others’ feelings. It is normal to feel sad, tired, confused, worried or angry during a time of crisis.
Avoid using alcohol or drugs to cope with stress.
Don’t be afraid to seek help or ask for support.
Remember that you can always contact Occupational Health Services at NTNU if you need to talk to someone.