From 19 July, the government dropped its formal advice for people to work from home where possible, now leaving it up to employers to decide when their staff should return to the office full-time or, whether they will offer the flexibility to remain working from home.
We made big shifts in our daily lives when the coronavirus pandemic arrived and our behaviours changed too – from sleeping in till 8:55am to enjoying a cheeky Tuesday night tipple, we adopted coping mechanisms whilst contending with the stress, boredom, and uncertainty of lockdown.
Working from home has resulted in endless Zoom meetings whilst juggling childcare and ensuring the family stayed entertained. Minimal social interaction outside of our bubbles impacted both our physical and mental health.
So how do we overcome those habits as we slowly return to the normality of the workplace? Beth Riley, Content Manager, at OTTY Sleep reveals ways in which to re-build a more positive daily routine.
1. Lose the booze
From beers to spirits, supermarket sales of alcoholic drinks soared during lockdown as we became used to popping them into our trolleys alongside grocery staples.
A Public Health England report discovered that during lockdown, half a million adults increased their drinking. Whilst it might be true that maybe we ate a lot of banana bread (thanks, newfound home baking skills…), the less obvious culprit behind the nation’s weight gain was booze.
Choosing alternative low-and-no drinking options is a great way to experiment with new flavours and enjoy alcohol without having to worry about what it may do to our health. Not only does it reduce the symptoms of binge drinking, but the industry is growing at a rapid rate, and there are various (and delicious) options to choose from.
2. Reset your sleep routine
A total departure from our scheduled routines majorly disrupted sleep. Some of us may be sleeping more and some of us may be sleeping less as a consequence of the pandemic.
Studies found that the number of people experiencing insomnia rose from one in six to one in four, with more sleep problems in communities including mothers and essential workers. This shows our health and productivity could face serious problems as a result of these new sleeping habits.
An undisturbed sleep can help boost your immune system, increase productivity, and put you in a good mood to kick-start the working day.
3. Address your comfort eating
During times of high stress, it’s common to turn to the comfort of food. These cravings aren’t always the healthiest and often tend to be high in sugar and fat.
Findings from a recent YouGov survey saw lockdown boredom as the main culprit, with 63% of Brits admitting it was the trigger for eating worse.
So how do we combat this habit before it becomes an addictive pattern? Opt for foods that you know are good for you, as they’ll maintain steady energy and leave you feeling positive throughout the working day.
It’s fine to indulge now and then, especially if it brings a slight moment of joy, but ensure you keep a balanced diet moving forward so that it doesn’t impact your health in the long term.
4. Social media binging
With more time being spent at home, we’ve become immersed in our electrical devices. The world of digital has become an easy distraction from reality, with social media app TikTok coming to life and UK streaming platforms (Netflix, Disney+) seeing more than 32m people across the globe tune in during lockdown.
Mindless scrolling on these devices increases our exposure to blue light, which in turn can interfere with sleep patterns and sight deterioration.
Give yourself time out from checking social media – connect with friends in person and go for a walk or find a nice coffee shop to socialise. If the news is a trigger for anxiety, avoid checking those platforms before bed or first thing in the morning. Self-care is more important than ever, and it’s good to take a break from the media-hyped world.
5. A post-pandemic mentality
We’re all adapting the best way we know how but be gentle with the expectations you place on yourself.
Sticking to the above tips and tricks will not only help you reset but it’ll enhance your physical and mental wellbeing when returning to the office. Whether that takes a couple of weeks or even months, we need to remember that we’ve endured the most extraordinary and uncertain time of our lives.