Time for a tea break...
March feels like a very long time ago when a full lockdown began.
9 October 2020
March feels like a very long time ago when a full lockdown began. At the time there was a whole host of excellent information in the public domain offering support and guidance to employers and employees to adjust to the enforced home working situation.
Now nearly seven months later, it’s as important, perhaps even more important, to keep an eye on your own personal well-being. So why not put the kettle on, make yourself a hot brew, and spend a few minutes thinking about YOU.
Unfortunately, there are no easy solutions to the current situation, but please find below some thoughts, guidance, and resources that you might find useful to help you keep on top of your mental wellbeing and cope with how you may feel now and in the coming winter months.
World Mental Health Day - Saturday 10th October
Mental health problems can affect anyone, any day of the year, but 10th October is a great day to show your support for better mental health and start looking after your own wellbeing.
World Mental Health Day 2020 is the most important one yet. The months of lockdown and loss have had a huge impact on us all, and prioritising mental health has never been more important than it is now.
That's why this year we want to bring everyone together to mark the day by each doing one thing for better mental health.
Making positive change can seem so hard, especially during uncertain times. And sometimes, it can be hard to know where to start. Take the opportunity this World Mental Health Day to find out more about how you can start with one thing.
Find out more here: https://www.mind.org.uk/get-involved/world-mental-health-day
Connect with others
Maintaining healthy relationships with people you trust is important for your mental wellbeing. Think about how you can stay in touch with friends, colleagues and family while you are at home – by phone, messaging, video calls or online – whether it's people you usually see often, or reconnecting with old friends or neighbours. Lots of people are finding the current situation difficult, so staying in touch could help them too.
Talk about your worries
It is quite common to feel worried, scared or helpless about the current situation. Remember, it is OK to share your concerns with others you trust – doing so could help them too. Or you could try a charity helpline or webchat. The NHS lists numerous approved mental health helplines
Our physical health really affects how we feel. Try to make sure you and your family eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water and exercise regularly.
Avoid smoking or drugs, and try not to drink too much alcohol. It can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour that end up making you feel worse. Get outside for a walk or a run if you can, even take the dog on an extra-long walk, or try an online workout.
Stay on top of difficult feelings
Concern about the pandemic is perfectly normal. However, some people may experience intense anxiety that can affect their day-to-day life. Try to focus on the things you can control, such as how you act, who you speak to and where you get information from.
It's fine to acknowledge that some things are outside of your control, but if constant thoughts about the situation are making you feel anxious or overwhelmed, there are some things you can try to help manage your anxiety. The NHS has a helpful mental wellbeing audio guide here.
Create a workspace
Although it's tempting to head to your sofa, those who successfully work from home agree that you're best off setting up a station. If you don't have a desk, use your dining room table. Besides making you feel like you're at an "office," this helps you maintain good posture, avoid distractions, and leave your work behind at the end of the day.
Don't just sit there
Sitting all day isn't healthy even if you're at the office, but working from home means you skip your commute and have fewer reasons to get up from your chair throughout the day to stand up regularly to stretch or move around.
If you've gained an extra hour or two from not commuting, it's a good opportunity to exercise, either by working out at home or going for a walk outside. A lunchtime walk can also help you feel like you're not stuck inside all day.
Carry on doing things you enjoy
If we are feeling worried, anxious, lonely or low, we may stop doing things we usually enjoy.
Make an effort to focus on your favourite hobby if it is something you can still do at home. If not, picking something new to learn at home might help – there are lots of ideas online.
Take time to relax
This can help with difficult emotions and worries, and improve our wellbeing. Relaxation techniques can also help deal with feelings of anxiety.
If you notice increase worry or anxiety, you could try the Apple Technique:
- Acknowledge – notice the uncertainty as it comes into your mind
- Pause – pause and breathe (don’t react at all)
- Pull Back – tell yourself that it’s just the worry talking. The apparent need for certainty is not necessary or helpful. Thoughts are not always facts.
- Let Go – let go of the thought or feeling. It will pass. You don’t have to respond to it. Visualise it passing by like leaves in a stream.
- Explore – explore right now. Notice your breathing, and then what you can see, what you can hear, what you can touch and what you can smell. Then shift your attention back on to what you were doing or on to something new. (Anxiety UK)
Stick to daily routines as far as possible
Think about how you can carry on your normal routines, and try to do things that are useful or meaningful. For example, if you are working from home, try to get up and get ready in the same way as normal, keep to the same hours you would normally work and stick to the same sleeping schedule.
If you cannot do this, think about how you can create new routines and set yourself goals. You could set a new alarm for the morning, do a daily home workout, and pick a regular time to clean, read, watch a TV programme or film, or cook.
There are plenty of things you can do and places to get more help and support if you are struggling with your mental health. The NHS pages on stress, anxiety, sleep and low mood have lots more tips and specific advice.
Look after your sleep
Good-quality sleep makes a big difference in how we feel, so it's important to get enough.
Try to maintain your regular sleeping pattern and stick to good sleep practices.
Keep your mind active
Read, write, play games, do crosswords, complete Sudoku puzzles, finish jigsaws, or try drawing and painting. Whatever it is, find something that works for you.
Information provided by https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/
Working from home can also pose challenges for people. Even if you are used to doing this on a regular basis, doing this long term can be quite different. So if you're self-isolating, social-distancing or working remotely, what's the best way to stay efficient and keep your spirits up?
Get some fresh air
As we need to limit contact with people, you're likely going to spend a lot of time indoors. Open your windows to let in as much natural daylight and fresh air as possible, and take short walks if you live in an unpopulated area — and be sure to wash your hands as soon as you return home.
Further useful links
Easy Read Coronavirus guidance
keeping your mind and body well
NHS Mental health helplines-Whether you’re concerned about yourself or a loved one, these helplines can offer expert advice.
Guidance for the public on the mental health and wellbeing aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19)
Taking Care of Yourself When Managing Others
Healthy Workplaces Gloucestershire have produced a Covid-19 guide
Make home working work for you with top tips for individuals from Active Gloucestershire reminding us all to stay active and healthy and focus on what is important. http://hwglos.org/media/1339/active-glos.pdf