Back in March when most of the world went into lockdown, I don’t think anyone thought that we’d still be battling with Covid-19, and the knock-on effect it’s had to our lives and society as a whole, some 7 months on.
Whilst we’ve seen some positive things come out of that time, Covid-19 has put a massive strain on our day-to-day lives. Periods of isolation, restrictions on our social circles, job uncertainty and at the worst end of it all, pain and sadness.
The worry, stress and constant change that’s been thrust upon us is going to impact our mental health and wellbeing. It’s inevitable. And arguably, this strange transition period we’re currently trying to adapt to is only going to add to this even more.
Mental health and wellbeing have always been important topics. And with World Mental Health Day just around the corner, now is a great opportunity to take time to reflect on how we’re doing So what skills can we continue to develop and maintain to keep on top of our mental health and wellbeing?
Change and uncertainty can bring out many different emotions, including fear and anxiety. So learning to respond in the right way will help you build resilience.
It’s a natural instinct to try to control scary situations, but that’s not always practical. Instead, try to accept that there are always going to be things you cannot control, and focus on the things you can do to improve your situation.
An important part of building resilience is knowing your own warning signs – can you spot when you’re under stress or starting to burn out?
When we’re stressed or uncertain, things can quickly escalate. Understanding the situations that may trigger these emotions in you means you can take steps to mitigate a negative reaction and practice a little self-care.
Improve work-life balance
Sometimes easier said than done, but achieving a good work-life balance can really benefit your mental health. Reflect on your current situation – if you feel like your work-life balance may be off-kilter, simply acknowledging that is a good first step.
Next, it’s about looking at what you can do to make a change. It may be nothing right now, or it may just be something small. The important thing here is that you’ve recognised an imbalance and you’re starting to do something about it.
And remember, we are still living in a very strange time. If you don’t feel overly productive one day, don’t beat yourself up. Working late into the evening in an attempt to compensate isn’t going to help. Draw a line, switch off and start the next day afresh.
We didn’t adjust to lockdown overnight, and no one’s expecting you to have a handle on this new situation right away, either. It’s going to take time to navigate this ever-changing landscape and reconnect with our lives.
But don’t get yourself down if you feel uncomfortable or uncertain – it’s a natural reaction to what we’re all going through. Facing each day with a positive mental attitude will help you adjust and adapt.
Start each day with a new goal – maybe you want to feel more confident today, or maybe you just want to feel less anxious walking into your local supermarket. Then make a plan for how you’re going to get there. At the end of the day, take time to reflect on if you achieved that goal. If you did, great! If you didn’t, that’s okay. You can try again tomorrow.
We all deal with stressful times differently. It’s important that you don’t pressure yourself or judge yourself against what others are doing.
The main thing to remember is that you have to feel comfortable with the choices you make and the situations you put yourself in. It’s okay to say no to a social situation, but equally it’s okay to initiate one.
And on the flip side, don’t judge or pressure others. Just because you do or do not feel comfortable doing something, that doesn’t mean that someone else is making a wrong decision.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help. We’ve heard it a million times, but these really are strange times. So be kind to yourself. If you do find yourself struggling, there’s no shame in asking for help.
You might find some of these links a good place to start:
- How to look after your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
- Coronavirus and your mental health
- Tips for coping with uncertainty coming out of lockdown
- If you’re worried about your mental health during the coronavirus outbreak
Interested in subscribing to THRIVE’s microlearning catalogue of 130+ modules that’s already helping brilliant businesses like Nando’s, Card Factory and Morrisons maintain their mental health and wellbeing? Find out more.