How To Stay Sane Working From Home During Lockdown

by Jai Sappal

So… we are in yet another lockdown, with at least one additional week to go. Many of you are probably working from home, and many of you probably also have kids at home. Regardless of the circumstances, it is important to do what you can to keep mental and physical wellbeing a priority. Here are some tips, with the evidence to back it up, on how to keep sane during lockdown.

1. EVERYBODY CUT FOOTLOOSE

This is going to be the biggest piece of advice: Exercise is amazing and incredibly important for us as humans. Our bodies are designed to move, not sit for 8 straight hours. It can strengthen bones and muscle, improve quality of life, decrease risk of chronic diseases such as diabetes and cancer, improve lifespan, and assist in weight management (1).  You can always see instagram for our exercise programs for lockdown to help with this!

Exercise also helps with other, non-physical aspects. It can help with anxiety and depression, improve self-esteem, help with sleep, improves mood, and increase energy and stamina (2). Exercise is continually and evidently proven to be beneficial. Even just doing small bouts of physical activity per day can have benefits, so let’s get you away from that desk and move around!

2. BLUE EYES CRYIN’ IN THE RAIN

So, you’re spending a lot of time in front of the screen to the point where your eyes feel like shrivelled and dried apricots. Maintaining proper eye health is important to incorporate during lockdown.

Having your eyes exposed to constant blue light (at 400-500nm) can be harmful. Prolonged exposure also affects your circadian rhythms, which are involved in your sleep patterns (3). Something that has personally helped me is a downloadable app for your computer called f.lux (https://justgetflux.com/). They have research on their site as well for you to sift over. If you know of a different app to alter the lighting on your computer, feel free to use that.

Dry eyes are common as well. Learning to blink more efficiently (yes, that is a thing) as well as using eye-drops to help lubricate can reduce symptoms of fatigue, dryness and difficulty focussing. This can help with symptoms seen in prolonged computer usage (3).

3. I CHALLENGE YOU TO ALL OUT LIFE

We are going to get a bit philosophical with this bit so bear with us: Life isn’t meant to be all work and no play. It’s as simple as that. It is important to set aside a bit of time to go rest by doing relaxation related stuff or doing physical activity to help with fatigue and vigor. These effects can last as long as 20 mins when you start your work again (4)!

Finding joy in hobbies or new skills during lockdown can also be important. A study has shown that those who have more fun activities have better physical and psychological function. Subjects said they have better life satisfaction, better social support, and less bouts of depression. Having multiple fun things to do also minimises negative stress (5).

4. SWEET DREAMS ARE MADE OF THIS

Some of you may enjoy sleeping, others (such as your kids) may despise it. Sleep deprivation is no laughing matter though and getting restful sleep is important to overall well-being. Poor sleep can contribute to a variety of mental health disorders such as depression, anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, ADHD, schizophrenia (8). Not to mention effects on concentration, headaches and neck tension. Sleep also has a critical role to play in physical recovery for those of you who train a lot.

Establishing good sleep hygiene, adequate physical exercise, relaxation techniques and lifestyle changes (such as limiting alcohol and caffeine consumption) can all contribute to treating bouts of insomnia (6). Insomnia has been shown by a study to be a causing factor for psychotic experiences and mental health problems (7).

This is not an exhaustive list of stuff to consider. There are other ways to stay safe and sane during lockdown. Some of them might be strategies that you have found to work for you, even if they don’t work for others. Our belief is that as long as it is a modality that is neither harmful to you or someone else, it is worth incorporating if it improves your life.

The good news is if you need input from a physiotherapist, Peak Health Services is open for physiotherapy. We are happy to listen to whatever may be affecting you. Book in now at a time that suits you!

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/pa-health/index.htm
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6020759/
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6585675/
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2863117/
  6. https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5614772/
  8. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/mental-health


Jai Sappal
Physiotherapist
Peak Health Services.

Related articles: Three Quick Stretches To Help With Desk Related Posture & Pain