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

Weather The Storm

Living in such an uncertain time can have a great impact on your life and of those around you. As well as experiencing anxiety and low mood, symptoms you might also experience include physical effects such as pain, appetite change and sleep problems. The global situation isn’t just a storm in a teacup so how can you look after yourself come rain or shine? Read our tips to help you weather the storm:

Don’t Forget Your Umbrella!

There are some things you just can’t change: if it rains, there is nothing you can do. But you can make a difference to how you cope. You can take an umbrella out with you. You can button up your rain coat. You can pull on your wellies. You don’t have to face the stormy weather without waterproofs, just like you don’t have to cope with this situation without support. This might be in the form of talking to a friend or family member; a peer support group; or advice from organisations available to support you with your wellbeing and mental health. Building your support network in what ever combination works for you as an individual can give you the shelter you need from the storm and make a vital difference.

Shower Yourself with Self-Care

If you can feel a gathering storm, take refuge in looking after yourself. Completing an activity you enjoy, catching up on sleep or just shutting the curtains and having a PJ day can be just what you need to brighten your day.  Being able to spot your own signs and symptoms can help to put self-care in place in the early stages. Self-care should be part of your routine: even the sunshine has a little rest day now and then so taking time out for yourself can play a part in improving the forecast and your mood. Sometimes you need to take a rain check and focus on yourself.

Throw Caution to the Wind

Changing your routine or trying something new can be a benefit to your mind and body. Learning a new skill, achieving a challenge or re-engaging with an existing hobby can improve self-esteem, increase wellbeing and give access to new learning and friends too! Any activity that promotes the release of endorphins or ‘happy hormones’ can be a real benefit to your mental health because it stimulates your mind and body as well as encouraging mental development and growth.

Sunshine on a Rainy Day

It can be easy to fall into a pattern of thinking that is quite negative. Instead of asking yourself ‘Why does it always rain on me?’, try to think more positively about the circumstances you are in. Although coping with the new and difficult situation we face can be challenging, research shows that gratitude is powerfully and reliably linked with greater happiness. Thinking about the things that you are grateful for nurtures positive emotions, helps you to recognise good experiences and supports in fostering strong relationships with those around you.

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A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

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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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Let’s Put the ‘Men’ in ‘Mental Health’

One in four people experience a mental health condition every year, yet talking about mental health carries a greater stigma than talking about health issues. The facts speak for themselves: 1 in 8 men suffer from a common mental health condition. Suicide is the biggest killer in men under 45. In the UK, men are three times as likely to take their own lives than women and it has consistently accounted for approximately three-quarters of all suicides in the UK since the mid-90s.


Seeking or accepting help for a mental health condition can be a real challenge. Admitting that they need help can seem like a sign of weakness to some men and this can mean that they feel unable to ask for help. This is perpetuated by sexist phrases, such as ‘Man up’ or being told to ‘Be a man’. Phrases like this suggest that showing emotions such as sadness or sharing their feelings is unacceptable for men. There is a false stereotype of a ‘real man’ where the characteristics isolate and force them to hide their true emotions. Unfortunately, it is this concealment that can lead to serious mental health problems and in the worst case scenario, suicide.

Instead of seeking support, often they turn to unhealthy ways to cope with their mental health, such as through substance abuse, anger and violence or self-medication through alcohol or drugs. This is why men are twice as likely to meet the criteria for alcohol dependence. Worryingly, alcohol can exacerbate depression and can increase impulsive behaviours, making it a risk factor for suicide.

Other risk factors include workplace pressure and the responsibility that some men may feel for their families and their ability to protect them by being the ‘breadwinner’ of the family. In addition, it can be that men may find themselves isolated because of their circumstances and unable to reach out. The director of a company; a retired, widowed man; a young apprentice: all of these people can share the same sense of loneliness and isolation, regardless of their background, class, experience or financial status. Someone who is experiencing depression or other mental health conditions may be at risk of suicide, but this is not always the case.

Suicide has a devastating ripple effect on family, friends and communities who may struggle to understand why someone has decided to take their own life. They may not have been aware of the suffering that the person who has completed suicide may have been in and this can make it incredibly hard to come to terms with.

Suicide is distressing, but it can be prevented by knowing the warning signs and being proactive in supporting with someone why may be presenting these. Some of the signs to look out for are:

  • Expressing the intent to hurt or kill themselves
  • Writing or talking about death
  • Hopelessness
  • Showing feelings of rage or anger
  • Acting in a reckless way without consideration of the consequences
  • Increasing alcohol or drug use
  • Isolating themselves from friends, family or society.
  • Trouble in sleeping
  • Saying goodbye or ‘putting affairs in order’
  • Significant changes in mood

This list is not exhaustive and someone who completes suicide may not present any of these signs at all. If someone you know or care about is presenting some or all of these signs, make sure that you talk to them directly about how they might be feeling. You could suggest visiting the GP with them to support them. If you think there is an immediate danger to the person, phone 999 and do not leave them unattended. If you yourself recognise these signs in yourself or want to access help for a mental health condition, read below for some advice about where to find advice and support.

HOW CAN YOU ASK FOR SUPPORT WITH YOUR MENTAL HEALTH

Ignore the old adages to ‘man up’ or to ‘grow a pair’. The strongest thing a man can do is seek help if they are struggling with their mental health. This can sometimes feel like a great obstacle. It is common to feel unsure of who to ask and what reaction will be received. It’s ok to ask for help even if you are not sure if you are experiencing a specific mental health condition. See below for some sources of support that you could access:

YOUR GP

Your GP can help identify support that is appropriate to your needs. They might refer you to other services, such as talking therapies; they might prescribe medication; or they might give you advice and information to help you.

A Family Member or Close Friend

Because they know you so well, it is likely that they will have already spotted that you might not be coping as well. Talking to someone who already knows you can relieve some of the worries about judgement. They might be able to support you with errands or responsibilities to take some of the pressure off you in the short term.

Trained Therapist

You might be referred by your doctor or in some cases, you can contact therapists directly. Therapists are trained to discuss and explore individual issues in a confidential environment. For some people, this feels less threatening than discussing their emotions with someone close to them.

Peer Support

Some communities have peer support groups for like-minded people or people who are experiencing the same condition. They meet regularly and this can be a source of additional information as well as a place to find out strategies to help you cope.

Workplace Support

Some workplaces have EAP (Employee Assistance Programmes) or support groups where you can access information support and help in a completely confidential setting.

We have a range of services to support mental health and wellbeing in your organisation. Please get in touch for more information: [email protected] or 01977 210220

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

The Importance of Sleep in building Resilience

One in three Britons suffer greatly from inadequate sleep. With things such as; stress, phones/IT and taking work home being the most common contributing factors.

However, the cost of all those sleepless nights is more than just bad moods and a lack of focus – I’m not talking about the potential pile of online shopping bills that mount up either! Regular poor sleep puts you at risk of serious medical conditions including obesity, heart disease and diabetes – Which can potentially shorten your life expectancy. People take sleep for granted but in reality a good solid night’s sleep is essential for a long and healthy life.

Most of us need around 8 hours of good quality sleep a night to function properly – but some need more and some less. What matters is that you find out how much sleep you need and then try to achieve it. In order to do this, make it a general rule that if you wake up tired and snappy and find yourself wanting to swap the keyboard for a pillow by lunch time, its time to listen to your body and give it what it needs even if that means missing your favourite nighttime programme.

Take a moment to step back and really think about your lifestyle. Answer this question honestly – do you check your smartphone for messages before you even get out of bed?? If so this means we are starting this whirlwind that is life from the second we open our eyes. We put on the radio or television to be given the news as it happens and when it happens, we check our emails constantly throughout the day; we sit at our computers and/or watch television late into the evening. It barely stops, with all these things around us it is no wonder we find it difficult to switch off and wind down, and so it is clear to see why many of us are having trouble sleeping.

Here are some simple tips you can do in order to help you wind down before tucking in:

  • Having a warm (not hot) bath can help your body reach a temperature that is ideal for rest.
  • Reading a book or listening to music instead of watching the television or trawling through pages of social media will help to relax your mind by distracting it.
  • Make your bedroom a relaxing place. The bedroom needs to be dark, quiet, tidy, smell fresh and be kept at a temperature of between 18c and 24c. Have a lamp with a low watt bulb at the side of the bed for reading.
  • Do not go to bed too hungry or too full. Try to eat something light before bed to keep the pangs of hunger at bay until morning.
  • What you drink before bed is also an important factor. Try not to drink anything with high amounts of caffeine; so if you normally enjoy a warm drink before bed, try a Horlicks or a hot chocolate rather than a coffee or a tea. However try not to drink just before turning in as this could lead to disrupted sleep due to waking in the night to empty your bladder.
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine. Regular physical activity can help you sleep better. Be careful though, timing is everything when it comes to exercise – too close to bedtime and it could make you too energised to fall asleep.
  • Consider healthy ways to manage stress. Start with something as simple as getting yourself organised, set your priorities and delegate tasks that can be delegated. Don’t forget that you need to take a break too so go out for a walk or share a coffee with a friend. Before you shut your eyes for the night make a list of all the things that are on your mind and then set it aside for tomorrow – doing this physically will put it out of your mind so that you are ready for sleep.

When it comes to changing your lifestyle in order to enhance your wellbeing we understand that sleep is one of the most difficult things to tackle as some people will quite rightly say you can’t force yourself to sleep. However if you take on board the above tips, which are just common sense things to do you will give yourself the best possible chance of getting a good night sleep. We wish you sweet dreams Zzz…

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