Maintaining Good Mental Health During COVID-19Posted in : Supplementary Articles NI on 6 April 2020
The impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) on our society is undoubtedly proving stressful for us all. The fear and anxiety that surrounds disease can be overwhelming and evoke strong emotions in many, which can be tough to manage. It may be difficult, but being able to cope with it will make you, the people you care about and your community stronger. Here are some tips on how to stay happy in troubling times.
The Five Ways to Wellbeing
It’s more important than ever, whether you are a keyworker, self-isolating or working from home in order to social distance, that you look after your mental health and well-being. The Five Ways to Well-being provide five key steps that you can take as your mental health ‘five-a-day’ to contribute to your overall well-being. These steps remind us to connect, be active, take notice, keep learning and give. When practised regularly, they help build resilience, boost well-being and help to offer protection from developing mental health problems. They’re beneficial for everyone, whether you have an existing mental health problem or not. Given the restrictions that are currently in place, AMH Works have created a toolkit (linked below in the 'Additional Resources' section) with lots of creative ideas for each step; Will you take them on?
Learn steps and strategies to manage stress
Times such as these can cause our resilience levels to dip, but there are plenty of things you can do to get through this difficult time and build resilience. It’s important to find something that works for you! Try to keep a positive attitude and learn to accept what is out of your control. You may be surprised by the number of pressures and stressors in your life which you can reduce and take control of. Create a daily routine with clear and specific goals whilst respecting your own limits. Prioritise sleep, it can improve concentration, productivity and your immune function. Exercise regularly and try to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, pilates and mindfulness. Would you let your car run out of petrol? One of the most important contributing factors to a long and healthy life is a healthy balanced diet. Ditch the high sugar snacks and give your body and mind the nutrients it needs - healthy foods make us feel physically and psychologically better. Check out AMH Works ‘Steps to relieve stress and regain control’ toolkit (linked below in the 'Additional Resources' section) for additional useful guidance and tips.
Creativity and expression are great for our mental health. It’s important to ensure that we are keeping mentally, as well as physically active. Take time to try something new or read that book you haven’t had a chance to! Play games, do crosswords or try getting arty and start drawing or painting. This could be the perfect opportunity to focus on a project you feel passionate about at work. This time might also allow you to connect with employees you don’t often interact with and create cross-department collaboration. Variety is the spice of life; you might even discover that you have a hidden talent! In a time where physical restrictions are in place, free your mind.
Manage the news
We live on a notified and anxious planet, so try and limit the time you spend on social media and watching the news. Stay informed, but decide on a time slot that is dedicated to this. Set time limits on your social media apps and only visit reliable sources such as, national and regional news organisations, the NHS, Public Health Agency or World Health Organisation. Staying connected (via phone or through video conferencing) with family, friends and loved ones is key to maintaining positive connections, but conversations can still sometimes turn negative. Although we cannot control the situation, we can control our behaviour; try to balance negativity and appreciate the benefits of social media.
Maintaining a Work-Life Balance
Whether you are a keyworker, self-isolating or working from home in order to social distance, it is more than likely you are facing many challenges as a result of COVID-19. It’s important to prioritise self-care - you don’t work 24/7. The line between work and home life can quickly become blurred. Ensure you take regular breaks to relax, using these as an opportunity to try some mindfulness, go for a walk or simply call a friend or family member to see how their day is going. We are living in unprecedented times, so learn ways to accept not being perfect and instead being ‘good enough’. Creating a ‘good enough’ mindset that isn’t filled with unrealistic expectations will help you cultivate a sense of well-being. Ensure that you set yourself a strict ‘switch off’ time and do not slip into working outside of business hours. This will help to reduce stress and promote a greater sense of peace and control.AMH Works have developed a useful toolkit linked below to help home workers stress, less when working at home (you can find this toolkit in the 'Additional Resources' section below).
- Five steps to Well-being Toolkit - Click here to download this
- Steps to relieve stress and regain control Toolkit - Click here to download this
- Stress less, when working at home Toolkit - Click here to download this
Legal Island Training Resources
[New] Protecting Yourself when Home Working in Northern Ireland eLearning training course (limited time offer available)
The unprecedented situation that COVID-19 has created in Northern Ireland has meant more employees than ever have been asked to work from home. Many employees will never have experienced working outside of the office and these employees should know how to protect themselves from injury and ill health during this time.
The purpose of this course is to provide all employees in your organisation with an overview on how to protect their physical and mental health whilst home working.
This article is correct at 06/04/2020
The information in this article is provided as part of Legal-Island's Employment Law Hub. We regret we are not able to respond to requests for specific legal or HR queries and recommend that professional advice is obtained before relying on information supplied anywhere within this article.