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28 days ago by Silvana Hawkes

Looking after your mental health has never been more important

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A lot of us will be working from home at the moment and all routine would have faded from our memories after 6 weeks of lockdown. For those who struggle with their mental health those routines would have been even more important. The interaction with colleagues, knowing pretty much how your day ahead was going to look, or simply giving reason to getting yourself dressed and out the house.

And for those who have been furloughed the loss of all of this will be even harder. If you have had to take the difficult decision in furloughing your employees, or yourself or your colleagues have been furloughed, it is so important to check in with them. How are they coping? Do they live alone and are struggling with loneless in isolation? Have they got all the essentials they need if their mental health has been affected?

Here are some things you can do to help yourselves, your colleagues or your employees who need you now more than ever:

  • Connect with each other - set up a video call with your team, or even an old fashioned phone call with someone you know may be particularly struggling. Self-isolation is difficult and relationships are key to promoting good mental health. Reach out to each other and arrange virtual book clubs or watch parties: each person can choose an e-book or netflix film/series to read or watch and then you can catch up weekly on what you thought of it.
  • Be physically active - encourage one another to do some form of exercise every day, whether it be going for a walk, doing a YouTube workout video, or taking time for some midful yoga. Help each other by setting goals and praising your peers when they have achieved it.
  • Keep mentally active - the current situation is causing a rise in anxiety, even from those who normally have good mental health; the uncertainty and worry can overtake and spiral out of control in particular for those who already suffer. Being mentally active and keeping your mind occupied can help ease anxieties. If you are not working currently you may have a skill that can help others; many are currently home schooling and would welcome your knowledge via a skype call! Dust off a jigsaw puzzle from the back of the loft and exchange them with neighbours/friends/colleagues once you have completed them. Or how about a card game? "Solitaire" has been my personal go-to!
  • Learn a new skill - do any of your colleagues have a skill you would like to learn? Why not teach each other virtually? I think we have all attempted baking something so far this lockdown (some with more success than others!) - video call a peer and share your baking knowledge. Or do you know a colleague had some DIY jobs they were waiting to be done - can you provide them assistance overe the phone - reach out and help each other keep busy and motivated.

We would love to hear any heart-warming stories of how you and your teams have supported each other so far. If you have a designated Mental Health contact in your organisation remind your peers that they are available even if it is just for a chat during these times. Useful links:

https://mentalhealth-uk.org/

www.anxietyuk.org.uk

www.thecalmzone.net

www.menshealthforum.org.uk

www.mind.org.uk

www.nopanic.org.uk

Here are some snaps of how we have been keeping ourselves busy and our brains occupied! (*Disclaimer* A lot more binge eating has been done than necessary but no one needs to see that!)