Updated: May 29, 2020
We’re into our second week of the circuit breaker, and already we’re seeing an increasing awareness of the society’s collective mental health. It’s not hard to see why, with our minds being consumed by worry about the Coronavirus and it’s impacts on our health, our loved ones, the economy and our careers. Add to that the stress of navigating a completely new landscape with remote work, and potential friction from spending way too much time either alone or with our family, it’s no surprise that we’re getting stretched mentally. So we’ve rounded up some tips for you on how to maintain your mental health and well being.
Manage your expectations
Go on literally any social media platform, and I’m sure you’ll be (or already have been) bombarded with how this is the perfect time for you to improve yourself, raise the bar and end the circuit breaker as a completely different person. But let’s be honest here. The reason we’ve got so much time to improve ourselves in the first place is because the world has found itself in an unprecedented crisis. One that would have an incredible emotional and cognitive impact. It’s completely normal to feel a bit more tired than usual, and for your productivity to be affected, at least for the next few weeks while you adapt to your new normal. So stop being so hard on yourself, and take that break (or nap).
At the same time though, there’s a fine line between not being too hard on yourself, and falling into a rut. While you shouldn’t blame yourself for being tired, or on things that are out of your control, being overwhelmed usually means thoughts like “This is impossible” or “I’ll never be able to do this” would arise. Don’t let that become a self fulfilling prophecy, and don’t be afraid to ask for help if you need it. If you can afford to, spread some of the compassion to others as well.
Try to Maintain Normalcy
We know that it may be tempting to let your schedules go wild while working from home, but trust us, and learn from the mistakes we made. DON’T. DO. IT. You’ll not only wreak havoc on your work-life balance, but your mental health will suffer as well.
The best thing you can do, is to keep to your set work hours and normal schedule to lay a solid foundation to your mental health. Prioritise your sleep, go to bed and wake up at your normal time (or well, slightly later works too, seeing as it doesn’t take as long to travel to your desk now). Remember to eat at normal times, and to eat something other than instant noodles and canned food. Getting a workout in, or just a walk also helps to keep stress down and allow you to better manage your emotions.
Follow your normal Routine
If your company isn’t normally remote, it’s likely that you’ll be working within your normal working hours. But, it may be tempting to deviate from that, and work later into the night so you can get more done, or if you feel like you haven’t been productive.
You’ll feel like you’re working 24/7 for one, and you do need some downtime to spend with yourself. A good guideline is: If you wouldn’t normally stay late in the office to complete it, leave it for tomorrow.
Stop Stressing Yourself Out
Real talk here guys. If you’re stressed out about Covid-19, please don’t go looking for more news on Covid-19, because that’ll just stress you out MORE. Same thing about if you’re concerned about your career. Going and looking for articles about companies that have laid off their staff is only going to increase your anxieties, get you more worried, and decrease your productivity in the long run.
Another thing you can try if you feel yourself getting too stressed or anxious, is to ground yourself into your current situation. Look around for 5 things you see, and then 4 things you hear, 3 things you’re touching, 2 things you smell and one thing you taste. This practice takes you out of your worry and makes you focus on something else.
No matter how introverted you think you are, if you’re getting minimal human interaction for an extended period of time, there’s no doubt that it’ll have an effect on your mental health. We’ve been asked to isolate ourselves socially, but that doesn’t mean we can’t call our loved ones, and spend some time having a meal or chats with them over video call. Just remember to pay extra attention to and check in on your more extroverted friends. They’re probably not doing well with all this isolation.
The current pandemic seems to be with us for the long haul, and adapting to the new normal is going to be an extremely stressful time. We want to take this opportunity to remind everyone to take care of your mental health, and well-being, so that you can take care of those around you as well. And if you ever need any help, our team has been working with a great psychologist who’s great at talking all of us down.