The pandemic has created a world of uncertainty for everyone and the constant updates and conversations around coronavirus can feel relentless. All of this is taking its toll on people’s physical and mental wellbeing, particularly those already living with mental health conditions. Now, more than ever, we need to protect our mental health and general wellbeing.
The importance of taking care of your wellbeing
Four in five adults have said they are worried about the effects that the coronavirus is having on their life, with over half saying it is affecting their wellbeing. While this situation is temporary and, for most of us, these difficult feelings will pass, prioritising both our mental and physical wellbeing is a vital part of staying fit and healthy, and can help us to feel more positive, especially in these testing times.
Taking care and focusing on improving our wellbeing has a huge number of benefits: helping to relieve stress, regulate sleep, connect us to others, and manage and adapt in times of change and uncertainty. Many organisations, including a number of our customers, are hoping to ease the burden on the public at the moment, offering a range of advice, support and activities to help you to improve your mental and physical wellbeing.
Looking after your mental wellbeing
The Every Mind Matters platform, produced by Public Health England, has launched new advice focusing on looking after people’s mental wellbeing during the pandemic. Developed in partnership with clinicians, academics and leading mental health charities and social enterprises, Every Mind Matters has a plethora of resources and activities to help individuals and loved ones. You can get started with a free ‘mind plan’ which gives you tips to help deal with stress and anxiety, improve your sleep, boost your mood and feel more in control.
Someone who has been previously affected by isolation is Julie McGann, our customer and CEO of digital wellness academy, Unicorn. After unknowingly self distancing when she first set up the business by herself, Julie had to overcome extreme loneliness and the impact that had on her mental health. Now Julie is hoping that her experience can help others to cope during the pandemic, sharing the lessons she learned along the way, as well as offering a wellbeing guide full of information and tips that you can incorporate into your new routine.
Staying active with limited resources
Now, no one is expecting you to become an athlete during lockdown - unless of course you want to - as there is already enough going on in our lives. But staying physically active has positive benefits for both your body and mind. Even just a quick walk can increase your energy levels, improve your focus and help you into a better mood.
If that’s not enough for you though, many fitness companies are offering free online classes that you can take part in at home. Our Bruntwood Works customer and wellness partner, FORM has developed ‘The FORM Lockdown’, offering a variety of different classes, live Q&As with its experienced trainers, yoga sessions, educational talks and a great community to train alongside you. Plus, they’re setting weekly challenges to bring out the competitive streak in you.
How can employers help colleagues
Even if you’re not in the office at the moment, there are a number of steps you can take to make sure you’re still focusing on your team’s wellbeing. Keeping in regular contact with people is key, especially those who you may know already suffer from mental health issues. Be open and transparent, acknowledging the uncertainty, so that people know you are authentic and sincere in what you say. It’s likely there will be questions, but these are best tackled head on, and admitting when you don’t have the answers, but promising to look into them.
If you provide access to support services through your company, make sure these are promoted well across the business and get in touch with the service to see if there is any additional resource they can provide. Alternatively, the Mental Health Foundation has put together this guide on how to look after your own and your colleagues mental health while working during the coronavirus.
Put a smile on your face
And let’s not forget that we can uplift ourselves and others through simply doing something that we enjoy. Whether it’s starting a new craft, reading a book or watching a television show or film you love, enjoying yourself helps to combat stress. Getting stuck into something that makes you happy can help you to forget your worries for a while and lift your mood.
Many of our cultural partners are offering resources and activities online so that you can enjoy them from the comfort of your own home (or garden!). Delve into the world of natural history with Manchester Museum, relive theatre productions from The Birmingham REP (this week it’s ‘Penguins’!), make the most of your time outdoors with the Woodland Trust, or host your very own micro-festival with Manchester International Festival’s ‘Festival in My House...And Yours’, every Wednesday.