Preserving Your Mental Health During The COVID-19 Pandemic
Travel bans. Large gatherings prohibited. Sports events cancelled. Stock markets plummeting and nothing but widespread panic about the repercussions of Covid-19. It’s been an extraordinary start to 2020. The government’s request for us all to stay in total lockdown until this all blows over has been a big ask, one that is mentally challenging for all of us.
The important thing to remember is that this will eventually all be over and that we’ll go back to our usual daily routines. But for now, we need to find ways of looking after our mental health and that of our friends and families.
Below we’ve outlined some tips that will help you adjust to the demands of your new confined space and routine.
Make goals and work towards them
Routines add structure and purpose into our daily lives, helping us to take our minds off all that’s happening around us. Working from home solves this issue but if you’ve been put on furlough, then find a hobby or an interest and set goals around it.
Ever wanted to learn more about digital marketing or stock investments? Then have a look at Lynda.com or Udemy. They have an abundance of courses for you to take advantage of. Look at this period as an opportunity to learn and sharpen your skills in areas that might increase your value as an employee once this all passes.
This might seem like a strange one, but the clothes you wear can affect you psychologically. Choosing to wear pyjamas whilst doing your job will affect your mood and attitude, as well as how you approach assignments. Dress as you would for work.
Stay connected with your friends and family
One of the comforting thoughts about the COVID-19 crisis is that everyone is in this together. Stay in touch with friends and family via social media and be open about your lockdown experience. Schedule virtual coffee breaks with your colleagues and keep talking to people so you don’t feel isolated.
Be selective with your information intake
Working from home makes you more susceptible to receiving a barrage of information from the tv in the background and social media. This can only elevate stress, especially on Facebook and Twitter, where a lot of these articles are for deliberately created for click-bait.
It’s important to stay informed but it’s equally important not to overindulge. If you feel compelled to be updated on what’s going on outside, limit yourself to sporadic doses. Spend 30 minutes in the morning listening to the news whilst having breakfast and then another 30 during dinner.
Tell your boss what you need
The transition from a traditional office to your home can be a bit of a shock so you want to make sure that it goes as smoothly as possible. To be able to fully adapt, it’s likely that you’ll need to invest in new software and programmes to maintain the same levels of efficiency.
Being at home, you may not have the same software or equipment as you would in the office, which will only make your job more difficult and stressful. Avoid this scenario by not being hesitant about asking your boss for the right support.
Create work-life boundaries
Working from home, you’re likely to mesh both your work and personal life together. Not defining clear boundaries between the two can make life overwhelming. Taking on every work assignment because you’re uncertain about when your workday finishes or agreeing to every household chore will build up stress and frustration over time.
Review what responsibilities you have from both sides and be willing to negotiate with your family members and co-workers when you feel overworked.
Create a timetable for your kids
One of the positives you can take from the current crisis is that you now have more time to spend with your kids, creating a real opportunity for quality family bonding. Choosing not to do so will make them feel neglected and dampen their moods, which will inevitably rub off on you.
Prepare a list of activities for you to get through in the evening with your kids and let them know about it so they’ll have something to look forward to. Striking this balance between work and family will help to boost morale and decrease stress.
Exercise is famous for producing endorphins - chemicals that induce happiness - making them an incredibly powerful way of reducing stress and anxiety. Being in lockdown means that we have to get creative with our workouts.
Right now, the entire fitness industry has shifted its focus into creating content for home workouts, so there’s plenty of material online that will help you find a routine that fits in with your current situation. Exercising daily is paramount to preserving your mental health during this pandemic, so make sure to prioritise it.
Seeing the positives
At times like this, it’s easy to be negative but by taking a more positive perspective on things, you’ll realise that this is an excellent opportunity to grow and focus on developing skills that you otherwise might not have had time for.
Working from home gives you more ownership of your life, forcing you to be focused and disciplined. This won’t last forever and if you take advantage of this unique scenario, then you’ll come out the other side a better person.