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.

Keep Connected

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.

Disconnect

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:

  • Reading
  • 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. 

Resilient People      

www.resilientpeople.co.uk                 [email protected]

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A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

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When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

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SPOTLIGHT ON… Looking After Your Own Mental Health

Being able to talk to a loved one, friend or colleague about their mental health is really important, but make sure you don’t forget about self-care and looking after your own mental health and wellbeing too! Read our top tips below for how to look after your own wellbeing:

1.    Keep active

Physical fitness has long been on people’s agendas, but you may not realise that as well as the physical benefits to exercise, it also offers benefits to your mind and mental health as well. You might keep active by joining the gym, but you could also enjoy a bike ride, sports activity or walks – all of these would equally contribute to physical and mental fitness.

 2.    Eat well

Food and mood go hand in hand so make sure you are choosing foods that give you energy, are good for you and don’t rely on sugar bursts to boost you – because then you will experience a dip in energy and feelings of fatigue. Regular snacks or food will keep you fuelled throughout the day and give you energy to take on whatever life throws at you.

3.    Ask for help

As much as we might not want to admit it, we can’t always handle everything on our own. Whether this is balancing our time, sharing our feelings or letting someone with more experience or knowledge guide us, reaching out and communicating with people can help to relieve pressure. Don’t be afraid to trust the people around you to help you.

4.    Take a break

A busy life can catch up with us and it is important to learn to recognise the signs and symptoms that tell you that your body is ready for a rest, or preferably know when to take a break to prevent our body and mind getting to a point where it is being negatively impacted by stress. Make sure you schedule in some down-time to rest and recharge.

5.    Do something you’re good at

Being successful and accomplishing our goals give us a ‘feel-good’ boost. Choosing an activity that you enjoy and can be successful at can help to balance out negative feelings if you have not been successful in other aspects of your week. It is also chance to do something that you enjoy and that is an essential ingredient for good mental health.

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

Top Tips For Supporting Someone on Your Team with Mental Ill Health

Did you know that mental health problems affect one in four people? When people experience a mental health condition, they may feel isolated, ashamed and worthless. They may feel that they have no one to talk to and no one to turn to. Mental health is something that we all have and, just like physical fitness, it can be good or poor. So why is it such a taboo to talk about it?

Mental health conditions are something that can affect anyone at any time. Being able to talk to people about mental health can make a significant different.

Top Tips To Support Others in the Workplace

It can be daunting when someone is returning to work after an absence because of mental ill health. They might feel unsure of how people will treat them or they may be nervous about returning to work. As their colleague, you can play a part in welcoming them back.

1.    Check in
Keep a kind eye on them and see how they are doing throughout the day. Just a friendly ‘hello’ at lunch time or a ‘how are you getting on?’ during the day can give them the opportunity to ask for help if they need it or reassure them that they aren’t alone.

2.    Listen and don’t judge
They might want to talk about how they are feeling or they might share their experience with you. That’s ok and letting them talk can be all the outlet they need. Active non-judgemental listening is really important so give them time to speak without jumping in, stop what you are doing so they know they have your full attention and ask questions to prompt them if needed.

3.    Treat them in the same way
Coming back to work might be a way for them to experience some normality so being the same friendly colleague is just what they need. There is no need to be wary or fearful of someone because of their mental ill health. They are still the same person.

4.    Ask twice
It’s easy to just reply ‘I’m fine, thanks’ when we are asked how we are and often people will automatically say this even if they aren’t feeling 100%. Asking twice can give the person the opportunity to be honest about how they feeling.

5.    Don’t forget little gestures can have a big impact.
Making them a cup of tea; carrying something for them; asking them to join you for lunch; these small actions can make such a big difference to someone who might be feeling a little vulnerable and overwhelmed. Don’t underestimate the difference you can make to someone by including them and showing that you’ve thought of them.

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

Build your career resilience

How would you deal with career disruption? How resilient would you be to a change of direction? The author of this article proposes six steps for building your career resilience. These steps will help you deal with any unplanned career changes, whether that’s being laid off or experiencing a major life event which affects your career choices.

Be adaptable

Being open to change is important for career success. Some behaviours that help develop an open mindset include proactively learning new skills, believing in your ability to succeed and taking risks.

Use and apply your skills

After attending training, do you typically forget the new skills when you return to the workplace, or do you try to put the new skills you’ve learnt into practice? It takes grit to continuously practice and hone new skills to achieve a goal. The author cites work by Angela Duckworth, a Harvard University researcher who has identified ‘grit’ as one of the key traits that predicts success in life.

Build a strong network

The author points out that starting to build relationships when you’re unemployed is too late. She references a 2001 report by Monica Higgins and Kathy Kram who found a strong network needs quality and diversity. Quality is not just about building relationships with influential people; it’s also how good these relationship are. Diversity means having a wide-ranging network of people at different organisation levels and from different sectors to provide alternative perspectives. The author makes the point that networking isn’t just about adding connections on LinkedIn, but it’s about meaningful relationships where you also contribute ideas and provide support.

Maintain your health and balance

Looking after your own well-being during any major life transition or event needs to be your priority. You need to take time to rebuild your strength and your buoyancy. Changes can be unexpected and may be a result of a family event affecting your professional life. Don’t underestimate the need to focus on your health and the importance of addressing any negative self-talk.

Follow your instincts

The resilience literature highlights the importance of self-efficacy and self-perception to a person’s career success and their willingness to try new things. What does your instinct tell you is the right avenue for you at the current time and where you want to be in the future?

Control yourself

Angela Duckworth identified self-control as another predictor of success in life, alongside grit. Being able to regulate your behavioural and emotional impulses is vital, but needs to be paired with a determination to succeed in what you do. Overall, to be career resilient, we need to have self-discipline, take opportunities to develop, be mindful of the need to be adaptable, build a strong network and believe in our ability to weather the times when we get blown off course.

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

30.03.2020

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

30.03.2020

When the unexpected happens ………. How to maintain positive Mental Health during challenging times

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working

30.03.2020

Remote Reassurance: Caring for your Employees’ Mental Wellbeing During Self-isolation and Remote Working