Mental Health, Happiness and Coronavirus
by Shannon Walsh
30/03/20Back to insights
Well, we all know what’s going on, so I’m just going to leave that particular elephant in the room. What I am going to say is that the future right now can feel overwhelming, daunting and uncertain.
Our basic drive for happiness is universal, it’s just the ways in which we achieve our own personal brand of satisfaction that differs. The challenge at the moment is in adapting what made you happy in your “normal” life and re-tuning it into something that works in a more limited environment.
So how do we maintain a sense of our normal selves and keep our mental health strong? There’s advice coming out from everywhere, an abundance of news and so much information. Let’s take a step back and look at how to maintain that important sense of normality.
Work and Schedule
Self-fulfilment and a sense of purpose are crucial to wellbeing and Mazlow’s hierarchy of needs supports this view. With work feeling a bit different, and varying pressures on your attention and time whilst working at home, it is important that we keep focussed and feel like we are being productive during this time. Being strict and disciplined in how we approach work will be a major contributor to our wellbeing.
When it comes to working from home, treat it like going to work. For most people this means shower, get dressed, set goals and have a schedule for your day. Set yourself a proper lunch break and turn your computer off when you’re not working. Have a workplacewhether you’re lucky enough to have a separate room, or whether you’re like me and have a desk set up in the corner while you desperately try to keep a toddler entertained. Turn off distractions (unless the distractions are loud, small and human and don’t have an off switch) and achieve what you can.
Get those endorphins going. Do something to keep you moving, even if it’s some star jumps. The great thing is there’s loads of online classes on the likes of Facebook and Instagram now with famous faces like Joe Wicks doing inside classes that everyone can participate in and it can help to make you feel part of something. Have a look at Joe Wick’s Instagram – there’s loads of tips and advice to get you started. Walking once a day, or leaving the house for exercise is still encouraged – just stay away from busy areas.
For some people relaxation can be as simple as having a bath, or playing a video game, but if you’re feeling particularly stressed there are apps that have your relaxation and mental health in mind. Freedom is a great app to use to block certain distractions and apps on your device for a set period of time so stop you from constantly being tuned into the news and social media. There are also plenty of mindfulness apps; well-known apps like Calm and Headspace require you to pay a small amount for them, however, Smiling Mind is a great free app and there is plenty of free content on YouTube.
Unfortunately, this one is a little bit harder, but with new Apps like Houseparty at least you can pretend to be with your friends and family. Daily calls and checking in with relatives can really help take your mind off wider events. Houseparty even has some games to play together which has given me a few good laughs over the last few days. Netflix has also introduced a “party” mode where you can watch films at the same time as your friends and have a virtual film night.
It’s easy to start to feel a bit stale when all you do is stay home so this is a great time to bring out an old hobby or even start a new one. For me, this means I’ll be needle felting cats (don’t ask) and doing some baking. Anything to give me that little extra dose of positivity. Whatever this means for you, make some time for it if you possibly can. It’s a great way to avoid the news for a bit too.
The key to all this is keeping the balance as much as you can. We are extremely lucky at Tile Hill as the public sector and local government continue to be busy and the opportunity to continue working is not only fulfilling, but a great distraction from current affairs. In these times, we must stick together and we continue to be here for you if you’d like to talk or if you are looking for new opportunities.
Good luck and stay home if you can! We’re all in this together.
To schedule a call with Freya, please visit her Calendly page.