Managing Your Mental Health In Challenging Times

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week 2020 – which takes place from 18-24 May – we have put together some tips on working from home, increasing your productivity levels and generally protecting your mental wellbeing during COVID-19.

Managing your mental health in challenging times

We all have physical and mental health and they can both vary from time to time. We know what poor physical health can do, but do we know what poor mental health looks and feels like? Some examples could be: poor sleep, struggling to stay focussed, low energy and general worries.

So, how do we protect our mental health and build resilience?

  • We need to invest in ourselves, make sure we get enough sleep, get some physical exercise, give yourself something to look forward to, put yourself first.
  • Have some “me” time, not always easy to do when working from home.
  • School children are always given playtime, we need to ensure that as adults we also get playtime!
  • Take a break between tasks, get some physical action, get some fresh air and hopefully sunshine, make sure you have some social interaction.

Hints and tips for working at home

  • Leave the house everyday, even if it is just standing on the doorstep to get some fresh air.
  • Move around the house. Don’t stay in the same place all day, shifting to a new zone can re-energise you.
  • Put boundaries around your work, give yourself a start time, a lunch time and a time to shut down, factor in some playtime.
  • Stay focussed, switch off distractions, especially if you are easily distracted by kids or pets.
  • Have some social interaction, chatting with a colleague can really help, especially if it is face to face via Microsoft Teams or something similar.
  • Know what YOU need to do to have a good day. You know yourself better than anyone else.

Suggestions for protecting your mental health during COVID-19

  • Limit the time you spend watching items that aren’t making you feel any better as they will drag you down.
  • Decide a specific time to check the news.
  • Stay informed by using a trusted source of information.
  • Social media can be overwhelming. Mute WhatsApp and hide Facebook posts if you find them too overwhelming.
  • Stay connected with people.
  • Have some down time, take some annual leave to give yourself work-free days.
  • Exercise, eat well and stay hydrated.

Mental Health Foundation

The Mental Health Foundation is a charity specialising in research and policy development, with a focus on preventing mental health problems. They are not able to advise people directly on their personal circumstances.

Mental health problems can affect anyone, at any time. If you are concerned that you are developing a mental health problem you should seek the advice and support of your GP as a matter of priority. If you are in distress and need immediate help and are unable to see a GP, you should visit your local A&E. There are also a number of mental health organisations that provide helplines.

If you would like advice about looking after your mental health during COVID-19 visit this page.

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