Friday 24 May 2024

Remote Working: 5 ways to keep motivated

In this short blog, Emily highlights some of the common issues people have with working from home and suggests some ways to overcome these challenges.

- Emily

I graduated with my undergraduate degree a few years ago. I was in the midst of my second year when the world went into lockdown and, to begin with, I was placed on furlough and shipped back home to a condensed family life again. In the third year, we returned to the yo-yo of regulations that, had it not been for being a key worker, would have had me isolated back to my student accommodation for weeks on end, as we cycled through lateral flows and trekked for PCRs in the park. During my Masters, I worked full-time in my nursery, meaning I was out and about from 8-6 every day of the week - and I loved it! After our ordeal with COVID, I was grateful to be out of the house.  

I surprised myself, a few years later, by taking up a new role - a dream job… fully remote and working from home. Having always worked in an environment where I’ve physically been involved in the day, socially working with others, solitary working was a huge change for me. How would I cope with nobody to guide my routine? Would I get lonely? How would I keep motivated?   

I’ve not been at it for long, but here are some of my top tips for transitioning to a remote working environment.   

  • Make your own routine It can be difficult to get into a prepared routine when your office is a few steps away from your bed! Make a conscious plan to get up as you might if you were working elsewhere. In the sunnier weather, why not have a coffee outside, or take a quick walk before getting ready for your day?   

  • Find new spaces Working from home doesn’t have to always mean ‘home’! Look for other spaces you can utilise for your working day. This might be a library, a park or a cafe. Make sure to check with your employer regarding their remote-working guidelines to ensure this is possible.   

  • Keep a diary It’s important to keep track of your to-dos and to-bes but we’ve all been caught out! Working from home makes it much less likely that a colleague will remind you about that morning staff meeting… keep a clear diary that allows you to plan out your day in terms of meetings with others, tasks to do, and things to monitor.   

  • Set up a separate space It can be tricky to switch off from work when you’re working where you relax, too! Try and create a separate space for your working day that can either be packed away or shut a door on when you finish to ensure a healthy work-life balance.    

  • Keep to your times When you aren’t working to a timed routine with others, such as how a school day is structured with breaks, new classes, and lunchtimes, it can be easy for the day to roll into one. By the time you realise, it’s 4pm and you’ve not eaten since breakfast! Ensure that you take regular breaks that are really breaks: this means getting up from your space and doing something completely different. This could be something as simple as sorting the laundry, or as extravagant as a picnic in the park for lunch. Whatever you do, make every effort to govern your time and set your own scene.   

Working remotely comes with amazing benefits and can give you a great sense of independence and flexibility in your working day. But, it can be a challenge to transition to and it’s important to take the steps you need to make it work for you. 

Find out how you can get involved with the Student Minds Blog.

I'm Emily, part of the Student Minds Editorial team. I'm an Early Years Teacher and, when I'm not writing with the SM team, I'm content writing all about Early Years.

Monday 13 May 2024

Movement: Moving more for our mental health

Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 will take place from 13th to 19th May, on the theme of “Movement: Moving more for our mental health”. Following this theme from the Mental Health Foundation, the Editorial Team has come together to share how movement improves their mental health.

- Student Minds Blog Editorial Team

Movement will always be important for our mental (and physical) health but so many of us struggle to move another. This Mental Health Awareness Week, we want to encourage people to add movements to their daily routine as we understand that often this isn't too easy for so many reasons. Taking a walk, dancing around your bedroom or simply doing an exercise in your chair all count!

⭐ How does movement help you?
  • Taylor: Doing something small for your mental health like moving is so easily forgotten as we're swept up in the busyness of life. Going for a walk (especially as the evenings get lighter and golden hour shines through) is my favourite way to move! Not only can I get my steps in, but it's also a stress-free way to clear my mind and ground myself in the present.
  • Emily A: As a woman with a late ADHD diagnosis, I'm still getting to grips with how my body, and mind, work differently in terms of my activity levels and ways to organise my routine. On top of this, I've recently started a new job working entirely from you can imagine how that's worked out! I find getting out into new spaces really helps my mind to focus and allows me to feel productive in a different space. Whether it's continuous movement that keeps you engaged, or simply moving into a new space, think about how your surroundings might be impacting your thoughts, feelings, and drive!
  • Madeleine: Whether it's an in-person yoga class to help me fully focus on my body and not my thoughts, or simply having a dance around the kitchen, movement has always helped me get out of my head and into the present moment. This helps prevent me from getting overwhelmed by my to-do list or my thoughts that day. Movement helps me stay mindful and clears my head of stress or worry.
  • Emily T: Even during busy periods, I always try to clear some time in my schedule each day to take a walk. Rain or shine, alone or with friends! I find that walking to my favourite coffee shop in particular recharges my batteries and provides a reset after a stressful day of sitting at my desk and studying.

How are you getting involved during Mental Health Awareness Week? Share with the team - we'd love to hear from you!

Find out how you can get involved with the Student Minds Blog and the Mental Health Foundation this Mental Health Awareness Week.