With the social distancing measures becoming more and more restrictive at such a fast pace, daily life has changed dramatically for pretty much everyone in the UK. Some people can take this situation in their stride, but it can also take its toll on mental health and wellbeing a lot more quickly than you realise.
Being completely honest – I’ve suffered with various different mental health issues throughout my life, with my first diagnosis being made at the tender age of 12. Why do I feel the need to share this? Because we’re all reading things online from people who are seemingly A-Okay and sharing the usual “think positive” snippets… it’s just not simple – am I right?
Secondly, if I can’t talk about my mental health, then I wouldn’t be doing this piece of writing any justice.
Another thing I’ve seen is an abundance of infographics about how to make the most of working from home, including a home workout at 9:30 AM, yoga at 3PM and a run at 5PM. Whilst this is amazing advice and can certainly work for a lot of people, I honestly wouldn’t be able to fit this in with trying to keep myself as productive as possible in my job at the moment. I’m pretty much sat at my new makeshift desk from 8.30am-6pm aside from making myself A LOT of tea and popping outside at lunchtime – unfortunately I don’t have a garden or balcony, so it’s the car park for me!
Needless to say, the recruitment industry, just like every other industry, is going through a weird phase right now. This can be quite worrying and overwhelming in itself, let alone the fact that I haven’t got the excitement of a night out with the girls, or a day trip at the weekend to keep me going! With that in mind, I thought I’d share some things I’m doing to help keep me going whilst I’m self-isolating alone in my little flat (aside from fantasising about getting a hamster for emotional support – that’s a separate story!).
- Recognise and accept the fact that you’re NOT always going to be at your most productive right now. There’s a global pandemic happening, and it will have an impact on you.
I think it’s so important for us to take the pressure off a little and recognise that things are going to be a bit choppy. You might not be at your peak performance every single day, and that’s okay! However, it’s important that we do our best to self-motivate to keep things ticking, and this leads me nicely to my next point…
- Set yourself between 3 and 5 S.M.A.R.T objectives to achieve each day.
I’m a great believer in a list, I’m not embarrassed to say that it genuinely makes me happy when I get to tick an item off my list. However, I would like to point out that filling lists up too much just to make yourself feel busy isn’t smart either. You won’t complete it all, and it will add to how overwhelmed you already feel.
SMART stands for – Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Timebound.
So, for example, I set myself the target of getting the first draft of this blog post completed and submitted to our lovely marketing guru to check for my terrible grammar by 4:30pm today!
- Plan your day – and PLAN your breaks!
This ties in well with my previous point – once I’ve worked out what I want to achieve each day, I then plan my day out.
So, I’ve been breaking my day down into 2 hour chunks, with 5 minute breaks and my lunchtime written down on my plan between chunks.
I then look at where my objectives for the day fit into each chunk. It helps me to not spend too long on one task and mess my timings up for the rest of the day.
- Chat to people!
Make sure you’re speaking to people. Whether it’s checking in with your colleagues or giving your best friend a call during your lunch break, it’s so important that our contact with the outside world isn’t just through emails and messages.
You don’t need to talk about “the virus” or work, or anything deep and meaningful if you don’t want to, but just having that contact with another human being, and hearing the voice of someone you know is incredibly beneficial.
I’ve been using a variety of platforms for video calls including Whatsapp and Facebook messenger on my phone, and Odro and Zoom on my laptop.
- GET OUTSIDE – I can’t emphasise this enough!
We are allowed to leave the house for exercise and essential shopping, so if you are well and not displaying any symptoms, I strongly suggest that as soon as your work day finishes, or during your lunch break, you get outside.
If you’re isolating completely, even just standing at your doorstep and taking in the air for a few minutes will really do you a lot of good.
For me getting away from my computer for my allocated 5 minute breaks helps my mind reset so that I can come back in with a fresh head ready for my next 2 hour chunk of work.
So that’s it from me. I hope my 5 simple steps helps at least 1 person feel better about the current situation, and if anyone would like to share how they’ve been coping during this strange time, I’d love to hear from you, just pop me a message on LinkedIn.
Stay safe everybody!
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