It's Friday, the weather has been great, work has hopefully been rewarding and you're about to finish for the day. But yet, you won't have your normal routine of breaking away from the office and settling into the weekend.
This week was Mental Health Awareness Week, which is why I wanted to draw attention to its end. Our previous habitual routine of commuting Monday to Friday into our place of work, mid morning coffee breaks, after work gym routines and gearing up for a break on the weekend, have been drastically altered. And so now more than ever, it is important to focus on how you can put your work week to the side just as we did prior to lockdown.
Although awareness around mental health is now, thankfully, receiving greater attention in most work places, this particular week should be taken as an opportunity to focus on one important aspect of our daily lives. The topic of this years Mental Health Awareness Week is something which I hope most of us show every day, kindness. This is normally directed at people displaying nurturing qualities to one another, conversely it can also be interpreted to be kind to yourself. In doing so you can also provide the same kindness to others.
In the past I have spoken openly to friends, family and colleagues about personal mental health, but recently the people around me have asked about mental health and discussing their own. Some people have faced what they considered to be their first failure, from failing an exam to not getting a job/promotion. For coping in this period of disruption it's important to get your first win, just like you would have done in your normal routine. The smallest of wins can be the most powerful since they are more likely to stick with you every morning, these can be referred to as atomic habits; also a book directed at the power of improving 1% . From waking up at your alarm time and making your bed to tying your shoes laces ready for a run, these can have a profound effect on your mental efficiency for the rest of the day. The more of these atomic habits you build, the more ready you are for your day ahead.
To help you separate your work and home life this Friday here are some atomic habits. The following suggestions are from friends and colleagues who have implemented one of these into their own weekly routine:
- Pack your laptop away, clear your workstation and hide everything from Friday evening to Monday morning.
- Protect your commute by setting out for a walk as soon as your work day ends. This will give you a much needed change of scenery and when you step back through your door it will feel like arriving after a long day at work.
- Before you start to prepare dinner or what other chores occur after work give yourself a 10 minute break to do nothing.
- Dial into a video call with friends and/or colleagues and celebrate the end week over a drink (if you don't have screen fatigue).
- Write a list for what you look to achieve in the weekend.
- Roll out a mat or a towel before you finish work and when the time comes, change into your gym gear and find an exercise or yoga routine on YouTube.
From doing one of these, you'll come into another weeks worth of work after feeling like you used to from a well spent weekend break.
We all have so much going on in our lives - including competing strains and stresses – not to mention the current coronavirus pandemic. This can see kindness pushed to one side, in favour of what is urgent or trending now. It can be easy to signal kindness by posting online and following a trend, but harder to commit to kindness in our daily words and actions.