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

Our daily lives can be regularly interrupted by inconveniences and turns for the worse, but, for many of us, the current Covid-19 pandemic is a disruption like no other, forcing change in our lives that would have been unthinkable only weeks ago. The speed at which this change has happened is, understandably, unsettling, and will raise many questions and concerns. To help navigate these choppy waters we have complied a number of tips to help protect and bolster your psychological health.

Give yourself time and space

The events of recent weeks has been a big shock for many of us and it is important to give ourselves the time and space to adjust, both mentally and physically. Generally, humans are very resilient. We usually overcome adversity and often grow stronger, but there often needs to be a period of adjustment to find our new ‘norm’ and find a new way to be. While this is happening, it is fine not to feel okay, to feel upset, low and perhaps scared. In fact, fighting with these feelings only causes them to stay around for longer.

We are what we eat

This adage also applies to the mind and the information it consumes. Fill it with negative information and negative feelings and behaviours are going to come out. When faced with a danger our natural reaction is to become alert to negative information as our instinct for survival starts to take over. To try banishing these instincts is impossible. A far better strategy is to manage them instead, accepting they are part of our genetic make-up and limit how much you feed them.

  • Limit the amount of exposure you have to the news. Perhaps set aside time twice a day to catch up if you feel the need.
  • Take your information from trusted sources like the NHS and Government websites.
  • Avoid social media rumours like posts that start with the phrase: ‘I know somebody who works in the NHS and they said… ‘ Such posts fuel people’s anxiety.
  • It may be worth considering muting certain social media apps or groups for a temporary period.

Sense of control

Having a sense of control in one’s life is important to good psychological wellbeing. People with a greater sense of control tend to be more successful in their endeavours and enjoy better health. Of course, as the Covid-19 pandemic demonstrates, our control over life is actually quite limited, but this doesn’t mean we shouldn’t look to exercise it where we can. Think about setting a plan, like a timetable, for work and fun so there is still a structure to your day, and so you spend appropriate amounts of time doing both.

In addition, are there any benefits to being in the current situation? Finding the upsides to the current situation can help create balance with all the negative news.

Emotions

Remember, your attitude is a product of your choosing. Whether you think it is going to be a good day or a bad day, it probably will be.

Keep a journal of your thoughts and feelings. This can have the same effect as talking with a friend in the office. It helps to bring perspective and healthy reflection on situations and your actions. It can be massively insightful.

Working from home might mean you receive less recognition than you might normally like. Come up with some ways to reward yourself when you complete a big task or know you have done a good job.

When there are many reasons to feel negative, it is important to take some time to remind yourself of what is important to you, what you value the most in life. Either consider, or write about why these things are so important to you.

Staying physically fit

Create a plan for looking after your physical health because if you do not it will impact on your mental health. Make time to be active i.e. going for a walk or following an online exercise class. Buy in healthy snacks and stay well hydrated. Also consider your new workspace – does it allow you to maintain good posture? If not, take regular comfort breaks to prevent aches and pains.

Staying connected

We are sociable creatures and need connection to maintain good mental health. Take advantage of technologies that allow you to stay in touch with family, friends and colleagues. It doesn’t have to be formal, why not meet up at lunchtime and virtually eat together?

Be there for yourself

The current information about the Covid-19 pandemic indicates we are at the start of tough challenge, and the end-point is unclear. Many people will have their mental health tested and surviving this time does not depend on being strong at all costs. This is how people burn out. It is more important than ever that you learn to be your best friend, to support yourself and give praise and encouragement. Talk aloud to yourself positively; it may sound silly but is has the same effect on your state of mind as somebody else saying it to you. When you know you will always have your own back, then the world starts to become a far less scary place.

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

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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]

A Dose of Calm: A Note from our Director

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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

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.

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

Embrace JOMO (the Joy of Missing Out)

Thanks to social media, we are now more connected than ever, yet this can actually create feelings of distance and disconnection. Being able to continuously check out where others are checking in, see the latest fads and favourites, and peer at ‘picture-perfect’ poses, the business and bustle of others can make us question if we too should be going out and joining in.

Escaping this ‘must-do’ mentality is essential to improving our mental health and wellbeing. Embracing JOMO (or ‘The Joy of Missing Out’) can be a positive step in reducing the feeling that you are obligated to take part and fit in, and this can reduce the additional pressure and stress in a number of different ways, including mentally, financially and physically. The emphasis on ‘JOMO’ is not that you are missing out, but that you have the choice to take a step back when you need to, to miss out on the ‘right things’ and giving you time to regroup, recharge and relax.

 

EMBRACING JOMO

1. START A DIGITAL DETOX

How often is your phone the first thing that you reach for when you wake up? How about sitting with your phone right next to you while you watch TV? Are you guilty of looking at your phone right before you go to sleep? Our phones, and by extension our tablets and other similar technologies, have become an essential part of our lives. Of course, they can help to minimise stress by keeping us organised, in contact and in the know. But their presence can also be a damaging distraction to our lives. Giving yourself time away from your phone is an important part of taking control of your wellbeing. Studies show that the blue light from your phone’s screen stimulates the brain so if you are using your phone as a tool to help you sleep, this could actually be having the reverse reaction. Downing your devices an hour before bedtime can help your body switch off and relax properly for a good night’s sleep. Ban phones at the dinner table so that you can focus on the people around you and use the time to catch up properly instead of being distracted by timelines and memes. Give yourself time to properly see and engage with the world around you rather than the electronic one in your hand.

2. SLOW DOWN

Life can feel like a treadmill of hustle and bustle. Often we find ourselves flitting from one activity to another, our days seeming to pass in a blur of work, appointments and commitments. Reducing the rush in our lives can give us time to recognise the things that are important to us, to invest and develop relationships with people we care about, and to reward ourselves for our hard work and commitment. In such a fast-paced world, think about the last time you sat down and actually did nothing. When did you go for a walk without having a reason or a time to adhere to? Scheduling time so that you have time to stop and appreciate the world around you is an essential part of JOMO – step out of the chaos into the calm when you need to.

3. SAY NO!

Often, we can be inundated with requests and invitations, and this can mean that we don’t have the time to stop and rest, even though sometimes we know that is what we should be doing. Being able to recognise when we need to recharge is essential. If your mobile phone was low in charge, you would either reduce your use of it to try to keep the battery going for a little longer until you could find a charger or you would stop using it immediately, plug it in and let it replenish with energy. Think about your body in the same way. Persistently pushing yourself physically and mentally with no time to rest will mean that you could eventually burn out. At the very least, it may mean that you are not able to work as efficiently as you usually would.

4. SCHEDULE ACTIVITIES YOU ENJOY

We are not always able to only do things that we want to. Different activities that make up our lives may not always be at the top of our list, but they fulfil an obligation or necessity. Planning things for you to do that brings joy means that you have a balance within your life and creates essential rewards for you completing the other activities. For example, you might dislike supermarket shopping, but obviously, it is an crucial chore meaning that you have the food and supplies needed to live. You could balance this activity by planning in some time afterwards to do something you do enjoy, such as putting your feet up and reading for a while. If your schedule is packed out, make sure you diarise time to complete a hobby, spend time with someone who makes you smile or just focus on some you-time to get that balance back.

 

 

GIVE YOURSELF PERMISSION TO MISS OUT AND DISCOVER THE THINGS YOU WERE ACTUALLY MISSING OUT ON ALL ALONG.

As a company, our vision is to simply see people flourishing in the workplace 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.

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]       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

How to Support Someone with Their Mental Health at Work

Mental Health in the workplace is a hot topic – and why not when research shows that one in four of us will experience a mental health problem this year. That means that it is more than likely that you work with someone with a mental health condition right now.

The Mental Health Foundation has recently completed research that suggests that on average we say “I’m fine” when someone asks us how we are fourteen times per week, but actually we only mean it 19% of the time! Knowing our colleagues can be hard when we have an ever-growing list of priorities to work through, but as we spend the majority of our week with them, why not make an effort to get to know who you work with? Social relationships are essential for promoting wellbeing so what can you do to support your workmates? See our handy help sheet to give you some tips

WHERE AND WHEN

If you want to offer support to a colleague who seems to be struggling, make sure it is not at a time that is very busy or time-limited, or in a place that doesn’t afford any privacy. Your colleague needs to feel comfortable to share their emotions.

ENCOURAGE THEM TO SEEK SUPPORT

Gently ask if they have considered seeking support or if they have someone they can trust to talk to. You could even offer to go to an appointment with them. Seeking help from Employee Assistance Programmes or their GP can offer them specialist support to give them tools to support their feelings.

LISTEN

Asking open-ended questions such as ‘How did that make you feel?’ instead of ‘Did that make you feel low?’ and really giving your work colleague chance to talk is one of the most helpful things you can do. Having someone listen to their concerns can be a positive step in the right direction to seeking help or feeling a little bit more in control. You don’t need to give solutions – just showing understanding and that you care speaks volumes about the support that they have even if they might not have realised it before.

LEAVE YOUR DOOR OPEN

Your colleague might not feel able to open up right away, but letting them know you are there for them and that your door is open (figuratively or literally depending on where you work) shows that you are there to support when they are ready – and that can make such a difference to someone who might feel alone.

BE KIND

Especially to those that might be showing signs of stress and poor mental health, but don’t forget that anyone at any time can be fighting a battle that we can’t see. Taking the time to say hello to people, making a cup of tea for someone or asking how someone’s weekend has been only takes a minute, but it can make a lot of difference to someone who may be struggling.

ALLEVIATE SOME OF THE STRESS

You may be able to help a colleague by doing a favour or small job for them. This doesn’t mean taking on their workload and adding additional stress to your own: something simple like running a small errand for them or washing up a tea cup are all little things that can make a big difference.

IF THERE IS IMMEDIATE DANGER, SEEK HELP

You don’t need to have all the answers. If you feel like someone has the potential to cause harm to themselves or if their emotions and feelings are threatening to overwhelm them, you can seek support from the Samaritans, their GP, a family member or your employer (either line manager or HR).

NON-JUDGEMENTAL

People with poor mental health can often feel like the world is a critical and disapproving place. They may feel vulnerable and self-conscious about how they are feeling. Listening and being neutral in your opinions and answers can help your colleague to share and explore their feelings in a non-threatening way and without worry. They may not always make the best decisions for themselves, but you can always encourage them to make sure they are looking after themselves such as checking they have taken some time to have a break, grab a drink and off load if they need to without the worry of judgement.

GIVE THEM SPACE FROM THEIR WORRIES

Being there for someone and remembering to ask how an appointment went or how they are doing is a vital part of supporting someone. However, it is important to give them space to work through their emotions, including giving them time away from thinking about them. Talking about other light-hearted topics can be a useful tonic and a way to take their mind off some of their worries.

Resilient People are here to help support your organisation through training and wellbeing services to build positive mental health in the workplace all year round. Our ‘RESPOND’ course has been developed especially for managers to give them confidence and knowledge in supporting their teams. This includes how to spot signs and symptoms, how to have a conversation with a member of their team and how to build resilience for challenge and change.

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