Staying sane: Keeping yourself mentally healthy during a pandemic

During the Coronavirus pandemic outbreak, one area that has hit many people hard has been their mental health. In my previous blog post, I touched upon how some women are struggling with their mental health and the impact that this is having on their overall lifestyle and work/life balance. I wanted to spend some time in a post giving you some strategies for what you can do to improve your mental health if you are one of those suffering at the moment.

During a recent call with a mentee, they mentioned that they were really struggling with the isolation aspect of the pandemic and didn’t feel like their voice was being heard so we spent the time looking at strategies and ways to improve their mental health and ways to work with their team/management to be heard whilst working remotely.

When my stress levels were rising, I really took a moment to analyse what I could actively do to reduce down my stress and what was within my power to change. It can be really difficult when you’re stressed to think rationally so this was a tough thing in itself! I started off my turning off my watch notifications that I was not reminded every 30 seconds about an email, notification or news update. I focused on my concentration and tried to give myself solid ‘blocks’ of time to concentrate on one single project or aspect of work. If you’re unable to do this, try to limit the amount of time that you’re doing ‘everything’. This can be really difficult, especially outside of work when I’m managing a dozen different things at once.

Here are a few things that have helped me and I’d love to hear from you about what you’ve done to reduce the stresses in your life in the past few months.

Mindfulness:

This has been a really popular topic in the past few years and there are hundreds of courses, workshops and apps available to keep you ‘in the moment’. For me, being mindful is allowing your mind to truly focus and not just hop between the hundreds of different tasks that you do every day.

Stress Relief

I run. I like to run several times a week with my dogs or pushing my children in my running buggy. I am currently taking part in a virtual running event across Tennessee which is helping my motivation and it’s been a lot of fun to keep me out running and getting some fresh air as opposed to being inside. It’s a great incentive for me and it is doing something I enjoy so it’s really helping my stress levels. If you can do some exercise, you will find that it will have a really positive effect on your stress.

Picture courtesy of White Star Running

Expectation Management

I find that I am one of the biggest stressers and I feel extremely bound by the committments that I give to others. This has also been a way that I’ve been able to manage my stress and expectations with my team and others. If there’s anything unrealistic, I flag it immediately and start a discussion for what we can do to reassess the deadline (if possible) or where I might need more support.

Resources available: The WHO has a list of resources that you might find useful.

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