Life during lockdown: How to maintain your mental well-being in the time of COVID-19

Posted on March 25, 2020

Many UP employees may be experiencing a degree of anxiety about their health and well-being, and about how COVID-19 may disrupt their work and personal lives. Fear, panic, misinformation as well as adjusting to a new working environment can generate even more stress. Making a point of looking after your mental well-being during this time will help you to cope better. Dr Rina Buys, Head of UP’s Employee Well-being Programme (EWP), offers these tips to stay healthy, connected and fully supported while you’re away from the office. 

  1. Build well-being into your new workspace:
  • Ensure that you take regular breaks.
  • If possible, separate your working space from where you relax within your home – even if that’s just using a different chair or table.
  • Set clear start and finish times to keep a line between work and personal life.

2. Prioritise your health and wellbeing:

  • Eat healthy, well-balanced meals and get plenty of restful sleep.
  • Exercise regularly to de-stress, even if it’s just a walk in your garden, stay hydrated and practise social distancing.
  • Get as much direct sunlight and fresh air as you can.
  • Find ways to relax and be creative.
  • Focus on positive thoughts and experiences.
  • Identify what is within your control and direct your energy towards what most worries you.
  • Wash your hands and practise respiratory hygiene.
  • Isolate yourself and contact a medical doctor if you feel ill and suspect that you have been exposed.

3. Stay connected and maintain social networks to guard against loneliness:

  • Regularly check in with colleagues, and take the time to ask how they are doing.
  • Talk to friends and family about your needs, feelings and concerns using technology.
  • Use family meals as a time to connect with one another

4. Adjust to a routine:

  • Some adjustments have to be made; this includes helping young children get accustomed to seeing their parents work from home. Negotiate regular breaks to spend quality time with them.
  • Establish a routine and structure at home that is similar to the one you have at work in order to stay focused.  

5. Seek help:




- Author Dr Rina Buys

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