2020 has been an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. The uncertainty that everyone is experiencing from this health and economic crisis is like nothing we have ever experienced before. We have learned words like 'social distancing' and 'managing the curve', words which were never in our vernacular. We all need to look out for each other in these stressful times and ourselves. The old aeroplane analogy of fitting our own safety mask first rings true. I have pulled together a short list to help you stay on top of your mental health in these stressful times.
It can be difficult to stay positive with the media coverage about COVID-19, seeing the unemployment rates rising so rapidly and being away from our family and friends.
Reframing and changing our perspective can make a real difference. Turning a perceived problem into an opportunity and reframing that in our minds. Like the problem of working at home with your unruly kids is actually an opportunity to spend more focused time with them. Understanding what is in our control and what is out of our control is important. The reason that people are feeling so vulnerable right now is that there are so many things outside of our control. So ask yourself, what is in your control right now that you can focus on?
Changing the language around social isolation to physical distance can help us to reframe our mindset too. Words can be very powerful and can impact how we view ourselves, a situation and our perspective. It is only the physical distance that separates us, and creating social connections in this time has never been more important. We can still stay socially connected in times when we cannot be physically present. My girlfriends and I have been having a virtual vino over zoom so we can stay connected.
Every night around my family dinner table we practice gratitude by sharing what we are thankful for that day. My 3 and 6-year-olds always have at least one if not more things to say even in these stressful times. As I look at my family each night around the table I am immensely grateful for them and all of our good health. In these difficult times, it really puts what is important in perspective and it is a good time to slow down and be thankful for what we have.
There is strong evidence that shows that by writing down what you are grateful for, new neural pathways are created so that you naturally start to see and appreciate the things around you. I write down the three things I am most grateful for each day in a little journal and keep it on my bedside table. Sometimes it can be difficult to find three things to be grateful for and so it is about noticing the small things that can go unnoticed. By practicing this every day it will help your brain to have a positive outlook and remain happy.
Staying active - mind and body
Being active impacts so many facets of our lives. Get outdoors and go for a walk and find the type of exercise to work for you. I find exercising with a friend helps me commit. There are a lot of other online apps and YouTube videos of great exercise videos and lots of gyms are putting out virtual sessions. The key is routine. Find a time in your day when you will commit to being active.
This time is the best time to start practicing mindfulness. Yeah yeah yeah, I hear you say, I am not jumping on that bandwagon. But the health benefits of meditation have been widely documented and difficult to ignore. This is a practice that can definitely keep you calm and stress-free during this unprecedented time. I use the Calm app which is great with their daily reminders so you stay on track. There are also lots of free guided meditation videos on YouTube as well as other apps such as Headspace and Smiling Minds.
Stay positive, this soon shall pass. We are all in this together, even if we are afar. Stay connected with loved ones and check in with someone every day. Work out what works best for you and try to get into a routine.
Consultant, Coach & Facilitator at Thriving Culture
Claire is passionate about building high performing teams and people so that they can thrive. She is an accomplished HR Consultant, Coach & Facilitator and has over 15 years experience in Human Resources, Leadership & Organisational Development and Change Management. Claire works with businesses on their People Strategy to develop their leadership capability, embed a purpose led-culture and build a high performing team. She holds a Masters of Business (Human Resource Management), a Bachelor of Behavioural Science and is a certified Facet5 (personality assessment) practitioner. With over 500 coaching hours and an accreditation with the Institute of Executive Coaching and Leadership, Claire is well qualifies to work with clients as an Executive/ Leadership coach, career and small business coach.