How to Look After Your Mental Health During Self-Isolation and Reduced Social Contact
Understandably, it is a time of concern and unease for everyone. The seemingly relentless changes to guidance and advice mean that adjustments are happening quickly and often raising more questions than they answer. Alterations to the way we live and work are underway and this might mean that you are now working from home or self-isolating in response to symptoms or government information. Finding yourself out of typical routine can be daunting so putting tools in place to smooth this transition can reduce anxiety.
Structure your Set Up
It is important that you feel equipped and resourced to complete your work at home and this can only happen if you are properly prepared. Talk to your employer about any policies that your organisation have relating to home working and identify any tools or access you will need to be able to complete your role effectively away from the office. Try to anticipate any issues you might face and consider how you would overcome these away from your workplace – this needs to include trouble-shooting for your work, but also for circumstances such as being away from others and what you will do if you feel you are struggling.
Although many of us will find ourselves in isolation or in reduced social situations, that doesn’t mean that you can’t communicate in other ways. Phoning people, talking over video messages or sending messages can help to reduce seclusion and loneliness. Agree regular check in times; make sure that you have up-to-date contact information for any key people,; and use different modes of communication to keep in touch – try video messaging, group phone calls or Facebook groups so that you have a wealth of support and interaction. These should be for both work and personal connections to make sure that you have a range of support available to you. For example, you could set up virtual coffee breaks so that people can catch up remotely and stay connected.
Where possible, limit the time you spend watching, reading or listening to news that could cause you anxiety or distress. Choose a specific time to check and stay informed by only using reputable news outlets, such as government and NHS websites – understanding the risks can help to make the situation less stressful. Where possible, avoid speaking to people who increase your worries and anxieties, and be honest with others about limiting information if this is something that will help you to feel calmer and less anxious. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, can be a good line of communication, but false news or speculation can do more harm than good so consider how you use these during this time.
Keep your Routine
This could prove quite tricky in some circumstances, but it’s really important that you continue healthy habits, such as exercise, a good balanced diet and keeping hydrated. You should try to stick to typical routines, such as when you go to bed and when you get up on a morning. Typical activities such as showering, having breakfast and getting dressed can help to bring some normality to the start of your day and help you to make the distinction from work to home effectively. Similarly, having a plan for your days, whether it is for remote working or during your personal time is important – consider scheduling your days to get a healthy balance of work and rest.
For work, make sure you factor in:
- Opportunities for fresh air, even if its sitting by a window or heading into your garden for 15 minutes
- Regular rest and toilet breaks, especially to keep up good hygiene for washing hands
- Time to communicate and check in with your manager and work colleagues
- Considering your own personal developments and progression – is there any additional research, activities or courses you could be completing?
For your personal time, make sure you include activities such as:
- Listening to podcasts
- Baking or batch cooking
- Exercising – running up and down stairs, dancing to the radio and chair exercises can all be used to keep up energy and fitness levels. Don’t forget you can also go outside to exercise in your garden or other public space, as long as you keep the recommended distance from others.
- Watching a series or film
- Tidying and organising
It is important that you keep talking to people around you and making your mental health a priority. Although these circumstances are unprecedented, your health and wellbeing is still, as always, a priority.
As a company, our vision is to simply see people flourishing in the workplace (whether home or office-based) and our mission is to help clients to support and develop good psychological health in their teams. That is because we believe flourishing people create thriving organisations.
We do this by providing specialist training and services to support mental health, resilience and wellbeing in the workplace and online.
Whether you are looking for face-to-face training, online learning or a blend of the two, we can tailor training on topics such as resilience, mental health and other developmental areas, perfectly suited to your organisation and team.