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How to look after your mental health during COVID-19

30th March 2020, 12:03
News
Covid 19
Mental Health Support

These are unprecedented times....wherever we can, we need to support our businesses, we need to support each other and we need to look after ourselves. Here’s a few thoughts for a Monday morning that will try to help us look after our mental health.

 

Dealing with Anxiety

Less news is good news

It can seem difficult at the moment to limit the amount of news you take in, but simply consuming a little less of it can have a big positive impact on your mental health. Stay informed, but set yourself a limit on the amount of news you watch or consume each day. Avoid stories or footage that you recognise are making you feel anxious or sad.

Take control

It may feel that a lot of situations are beyond your control at present, and some of them are. Worrying about events or situations you have no control over only leads to more worry, so try to put these things to one side in your head and focus instead on the things you can make decisions on.

Focus on the good things

Try to focus on the things you do have, rather than the things you don’t. Lots of psychotherapists recommend keeping a daily ‘gratitude list’ to give your mind focus. They can help us to frame things more positively, even during difficult times. At the end of each day, make a list of everything around you that makes you happy and think about these things, rather than the things you don’t have or cannot currently do.

Think positive

The power of positive thinking can go a long way when it comes to boosting your mental health. We are living in unsettling times, and it’s OK to acknowledge this and to feel emotions such as sadness and fear. But try to spend time too thinking of positive scenarios, for example, some of the things you will be able to enjoy once more when the time comes.

Take time to breathe

Take some time out each day to meditate or try some breathing exercises – both of these are fantastic activities for helping to manage worry, anxiety or stress. There are lots of apps and resources online which can guide you. Create a structure to your day by setting aside a specific time to do a soothing activity you enjoy, so that you look forward it.

Do something that makes you smile

Create a routine that includes one fun or enjoyable thing each day. If your current situation means you are at home with family, do something together that makes you smile. You could try out a group yoga session or run an impromptu art class. If you’re on your own, call a friend or loved one for a cup of tea and a chat, or lose yourself in a good book for a couple of hours.

Appreciate the small things

Notice one good thing each day, no matter how small. It could be reading about an act of kindness in the news or appreciating an evening sunset now that the days are getting longer. At times like this, we may need to work a little harder to appreciate the good things in life, but when we do it is worth it for that little mental boost.

 

Support your mental health when working from home

Waking up

Although you may have some extra time in bed without a commute, aim to wake up around the same time every day. This helps stabilise your internal clock and improve your sleep overall. You’ll feel less tired, more refreshed, and find it easier to concentrate throughout the day.

Getting ready

Keep to your established morning routine if you can – get ready, washed, and dressed as if you are going to the office. This will help you get into the mindset that you are at work

Setting up your workspace

Try to set aside a work area separate from your sleeping area, as this will help to prepare you for work mode and make it easier to switch off at the end of the day. You don’t need a home office to do this – a small desk set up in a corner of your room, or a laptop at the end of the kitchen table can do the trick. If you’re working with a small space, you could try setting up temporary ‘zones’ by hanging blankets or screens to visually separate your work area from your bed or living area. Clear your work surface of clutter and set up your equipment to avoid physical strain

Get moving

Including some movement into your work from home routine will help maintain your physical and mental health. You’ll feel more awake and alert, and your concentration and sleep will improve.

Indoors

If you’re indoors, look online for an activity that suits you, such as a home yoga video or a fitness class. Some gyms are now live streaming their classes, so you could even join a fitness community in your local area. No matter what exercise you choose, try to take regular screen breaks and stretch throughout the day. Try to take a clearly defined lunch break and move away from your workspace.

Adapt your working style

Make sure you keep communication open with your team, as often and frequently as possible. Here are some suggestions that we are trying: - Video calls instead of emailing - Short check-in and check-out calls between managers and their teams, at the start and end of the workday - Optional Q&A sessions for colleagues to dial in and chat through any concerns or queries they have about working from home.

Write a daily to-do list

Set out a list of realistic, achievable tasks to keep you focused.

Mental health helplines

Samaritans offers free, confidential support 24 hours a day on 116 123

 

The Gloucestershire Growth Hub network are running a number of online workshops and 1-2-1 sessions which could also help

To see all upcoming free online workshops and webinars, click here

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