Tips for all staff on maintaining good physical and mental health while at home during the Coronavirus pandemic.

We’re all facing uncertain and unusual conditions at the moment. It’s really important to do as much as we can to maintain good physical and mental health throughout this time.

Alongside the recent tips on working from home, we’ve gathered together some more advice on maintaining your physical and mental well-being during this time.

Create your work space

It's vital to create a safe and comfortable space while working at home. Here's how to do that with what you already have lying around the house:

  • Use cushions or folded towels to support your back and feet, making your seat comfortable if you don’t have an office chair.
  • Make sure your ankles, knees and elbows are at right angles so that you’re sitting in a comfortable position.
  • Work in the sunshine, but out of direct sunlight. To protect your eyes, you’ll need to be in a well-lit space while avoiding avoid glare and squinting.
  • Use a folder to create an angle for your laptop if you don’t have a stand.
  • Create a makeshift mousepad with a piece of paper or a placemat. If you’re used to have a wrist support, try to experiment with a ball of socks or similar to brace your write while allowing free movement.
  • Hunt out that old mouse from wherever they’ve been hidden instead of using the trackpad on your laptop.
  • Clear your desk/table of unnecessary clutter. Stock it with work items, then put everything away in a designated storage space, so home goes back to feeling like home outside of working hours.

Take breaks

  • Set alarms for the start and end time of your working day. Also set reminders for your lunch and any breaks, so you’re making sure to move around regularly.
  • Don’t eat lunch at your ‘desk’. Make sure you get up, go for a walk, or do a few stretches. You can even indulge in delicious lunches from the comfort of your own home.
  • Stay hydrated! Keep up your fluid intake with water, herbal tea or juice as well as your usual caffeine.
  • Alternate your working location regularly if you can’t make your seating position comfortable. You could try standing, working on the floor with your laptop elevated, trying out the sofa. Just make sure your body isn’t getting aches and pains.

Stretch it out

While we're staying indoors, it's more important than ever to keep our bodies – and minds – active and limber. Try out these easy stretches.

Desk stretches video

Desk stretches webpage 

Desk-based yoga

Active break video

Physical and mental well-being

During times of pressure and uncertainty, it’s natural to feel anxious. This resource from a therapist explains the physical reactions to stress and offers some ideas for managing your worries.

It’s also important to stay connected and active to reduce stress while we’re staying at home - whether we're at work or on furlough:

  • Check in with at least one colleague or friend each day by video conference, Skype messaging or phone calls. Find a way to communicate beyond your emails, so that you can share support and make each other laugh.
  • Take advantage of time to look after yourself while you’re not juggling work and other commitments. A soothing bath or shower, cooking a healthy meal, knitting or reading, listening to music or podcasts. Find what feels good.
  • Avoid consuming too much social media and news. Turn off notifications. It’s not a healthy substitute for real world communication.
  • Let someone know if you’re struggling. You can ask someone to virtually check in on you if they haven’t heard from you in a set time period, or you can call a helpline (see below).
  • Keep active and, if government guidelines say it is safe to do so, get out of the house into an open space once a day. It could be a walk round the garden, some government permitted exercise or a necessary trip to the local shops.
  • Remember that this will pass. The situation is temporary and normal life will return again in due course.

Advice for staff on furlough

We've put together a range of ideas and advice for maintaining routine and a sense of purpose that is specifically aimed at staff who are on furlough. Find them here.

Please do share any other ideas with Anna and she'll be happy to add them.

Resources on mental health

UK: and

The NHS Mental Health telephone line 0300 303 1320 provides round-the-clock support for adults and children seven days a week.