Our lifestyle is now so busy, that none of us are used to being at home for more than a few hours. When Covid-19 hit, we had to protect ourselves from the disease, and many companies decreed that ‘working from home’ would start immediately in line with the lockdown. This was a great idea to protect our physical health and keep us away from peak hour public transport. However, nothing could have prepared us for the Mental Health implications of isolation, and not being able to have the daily contact and buzz of the office that usually goes on around us. For those living alone, and not absorbed by the buffer of family life, it delivered an unforeseen impact and for many a real sense of isolation and loneliness.
Many of us are ill-equipped to spend long periods of time alone and felt a real disconnect when lockdown commenced. Even before lockdown, there were lonely people but the new normal has delivered a double Mental Health shock to many who have had to adjust to online work without any of the support and motivation available in an office environment. Staying mentally healthy during working from home /lockdown is going to be more of a challenge than we thought.
Now here are some of the ways you can do on how to keep yourself mentally healthy while on a lockdown.
Get into a routine
Designate your working place and hours of work, routine will help you get through! Keep your workspace tidy. Where possible stick with a workday routine, for example; dress up, have breakfast, start work. Use teleconferencing, Zoom where possible during work time, in order to see others. Set tasks and goals for your workday and meet them. Take your normal lunch break, and if you can walk to the park or shop, exercise is important. Finish your workday at the usual time and pack everything away.
After Work Tips
Try to go outside again, we at least if you have a yard or a garden. if you can’t exercise from home (see tips online using a chair and Resistance Bands, buy online). Have a virtual glass of wine with a friend or a family member. If you have children, spend time with them and debrief about their day. If you have a garden, cook a barbecue and eat outside.
Phone your parents speak to them every day so they dont have to worry about you or about anything.
There has never been a better time to do a course or to do further online training, we may be in lockdown for a year, use the time to get a qualification.
Practice cooking, we can’t go out to eat, so master some new recipes, organize a recipe folder.
Get a new pet, you are at home, so get that furry companion that you have been promising yourself, they are great company. You will have plenty of time to settle your new pet into your family.
Do all the things around the house that you have been promising, painting, fixing and extra cleaning.
Landscape the garden and get it ready for the next season, build the children a tree house or a cubby.
Counselling And Support
If you feel you can’t cope with the isolation seek support. Many workplaces have employee assistance programs (EAP), which is free for you to attend.
Otherwise, book to see a Psychologist, many people feel the same way and it will help to talk the problem through with a professional.
Book something nice to do, maybe a trip to the hairdresser or nail bar, we all need something to look forward to. Go to the Beach for a swim. Don’t use Public Transport without a mask.
How To Stay Mentally Healthy During Lockdown
Our Mental Health has become extremely important, and many people have lost their jobs and become lonely, isolated and vulnerable. They really want to connect with others but are sometimes not sure how to stay connected.
Stay connected on Facebook, most of us have wide networks. Find out how everyone else is doing.
We are constantly told ‘that we are all in this together’, so make a conscious effort to support others. Take ‘mindfulness’ training, in order to help others, we usually feel better when we are helping other people.
Focus on young people who are more vulnerable as they often lack resilience, and offer support where needed.
I feel particularly concerned for this years school leavers as they have not had a normal final year at school with many hardly attending face to face class. For some, this lack of support will prove devastating and they will have difficulty in coming up with the inner reserves to complete their exams and embark on a University degree, or move into the workforce, many will slip through the cracks. Most of their rituals like school formals and presentation days and trips away with friends have been cancelled due to virus fears, leaving them feeling more isolated and restricted.
The economic crisis resulting from lockdown has compounded their future job prospects, and it will take the country a few years to recover.