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Worklife balance and mental wellbeing

By Valerie Gladwell | Oct 11, 2020

As a sports scientist, I know how important wellbeing is and one aspect that needs to be considered, especially now, is our mental wellbeing.

Getting a good work life balance is pretty tricky, even more so with the current situation (Covid-19 pandemic).

The lines blur between work and home; we are constantly contactable - we can check our email any time of the day or night.

We often feel we are on call and need to respond to the latest email that comes in straight away.

Allocating our time when working from home

It is particularly difficult when people are home working as there is no physical distinction.

There are many complex home situations.

More so than ever, with working parents having to look after their children when normally they would be at school; additional responsibilities of caring for relatives or neighbours; or living alone and thus not having the face to face contact (work sometimes is the main way they have such an interaction).

Many of us will be affected with a period of poor mental wellbeing in our lives.

It's going to become an even bigger problem following the Covid19 pandemic. We really need to focus on how we can help ourselves improve our mental wellbeing, and employers need to play their part in encouraging good practice for employees.

There are several things that we can we can do about that.

One of them is to look after our physical wellbeing. But the other thing to do is to really focus on taking time for yourself and ensuring there are still boundaries between work and home.

My good intention is to put my phone in a box on the side at certain points during the evening so I can’t look at my emails (or social media!). By doing this it may help with the next point.

An important thing to do to help our mental wellbeing is to really take notice of the things that are going on around us, and just using all our senses can help with that. 

You can’t do this if you are permanently attached to your phone or any other electronic device!

It might be as simple as watching birds in the trees, or even sitting still in a quiet place and listening to your own breathing.

Get social

The other thing that can also be really useful is to have social interaction through various activities, whether that is virtually or in a physical space.

Coming together for a common reason helps with a sense of belonging and this is important for our mental wellbeing.

Most people when questioned in a survey about being part of a club, said it was the social element that was really important for them as it helped spur motivation and made them more likely to continue to participate in that activity.

Keep learning

A final thing I recommend that can help our mental wellbeing is to keep learning. I feel like I have had to learn lots of new things recently due to the current Covid19 pandemic but what we can learn more about is ourselves and how to help ourselves.

This platform helps support your mental wellbeing by enabling you to be in contact with others, with a common goal. There are also educational elements on here to help you to keep learning, including a module on Mindfulness. 

When several elements work together our wellbeing is enhanced, and if employers can help their employees by encouraging them in developing good practices, everyone benefits.

Valerie Gladwell

Valerie Gladwell

I am a senior lecturer and wellbeing physiologist at the University of Essex, with a particular focus on workplace wellbeing. I received the English Cricket Board Coach Award, part of the University's team that was awarded for the University of Essex Highly Commended for Workplace Health for the Business in the Community (East of England).