2nd November 2020
2020 has been a difficult time for us all. From not being able to see our loved ones, to having to work from home and miss out on all life’s usual pleasures. We all looked to Christmas as a milestone for hopefully things getting back to normal but in reality, we are now preparing for a second wave of Covid-19 and looking after our mental health and wellbeing is more important than ever.
As we move into the darker and colder winter months, with a second lockdown and the reality that Christmas may look a little different this year, it’s important we remember all those things we have been advised to do over the past few months and ensure we really are looking after ourselves.
Here are some useful tips to ensure we stay resilient, happy and healthy as we enter this next phase of the pandemic.
Don’t be fatigued by wellbeing.
‘Here we go again! How will I cope with a second lockdown?’
We all did what we were told during the first lockdown, we concentrated on keeping our minds and bodies active, exercised and tried to keep some structure to our days to ensure we didn’t let the new way of working adversely affect us. This time is no different!
In fact, this time will be easier because we know what’s coming. The first-time round was so alien to us, we were anxious about having to spend so much time indoors and had no idea how we would cope. But we did! We survived. And we will do it again.
Think about what helped you last time. When you were having a bad day, did walking help? Talking to a friend? Baking that banana loaf? Whatever is was that picked you up, will pick you up again. Try not to feel as though you are going through the motions again and really concentrate on what makes you happy.
If last lockdown meant a lot of eating and falling into bad habits, switch it up. Make this lockdown a healthier experience. Exercise more, keep your mind and body active, release those endorphins and make yourself feel good.
If last time, you really struggled, just think – this lockdown will be much shorter, remember why we are doing this - keeping our friends and family safe so we may be able to have a semi-normal Christmas.
Routine is KEY!
One way to live a positive, happy life that is healthy and supports wellbeing is having a routine. Everything is so uncertain at the moment but one thing you can control, is how you live each day.
If working from home is your reality right now, think about how you can make your days more constructive. A lot of organisations are being flexible with working hours, so think about what would make your day even brighter? If starting at 10am instead of 9am and getting in that morning run or having just a bit of you time before you start the day would make you feel better– then speak to your manager. This could be an option and make a real difference to your day!
If you don’t have a designated workspace – MAKE ONE! Being able to differentiate between your working day and your evening down time is essential to being able to switch off after work. Even if its just a chair at the kitchen table, make that your space and pack your things away when you clock off- this end of day ritual will allow your brain to go from “work” to “home” without a commute.
How are you structuring your working day? Are you in back to back meetings? Ensure you have regular breaks and let your team know if you need to switch up the day.
We all know working from home used to be considered a luxury but for a lot of us, we miss the office and the people. Try and organise a weekly virtual catch up with your colleagues, where you don’t talk about work but instead just catch up and talk about things that give you a bit of a break from work. A lot of people will also miss the casual socialising from the workplace, too!
If you are a key worker and things have not really changed for you in terms of your working day, that doesn’t mean your routine has stayed the same. Is there anything you are missing? Those monthly work nights out with the team? Going to see your parents after work? Why not try to substitute some of these activities with virtual ones? Advances in technology mean we can be anywhere we want to be at a click of a button, it’s just a matter of getting a little creative.
Don’t be afraid of how you are feeling
Everyone is feeling anxious, scared, uncertain and worried and it’s ok. Don’t think you are in this alone, even the strongest of characters are struggling during this crazy time. Let yourself feel those emotions and remember, this is a really rubbish time and you are normal to be having those feelings.
It’s important we recognise exactly how we do feel and if things are getting a bit too much, remember you are not alone and if you did need to reach out to someone, there are a number of charities working with people every day with exactly the same concerns.
Remember, talking helps! Whether that’s with family or friends or sometimes its easier talking to someone you don’t know. Here’s some useful numbers, just in case:
Samaritans - Confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair.
Phone: 116 123 (free 24-hour helpline)
CALM - The Campaign Against Living Miserably, for men aged 15 to 35.
Phone: 0800 58 58 58 (daily, 5pm to midnight)