As another lockdown looms for employees here in the UK, businesses need to dig-deep to find solutions and support to help their employees navigate the month(s) ahead. The added blow of a cold, dark winter replacing the spring sunshine we were blessed with last lockdown will make this next lockdown a mental and emotional challenge for many. Whilst there’s no magic ‘quick fix’ solution to the challenge that lies ahead, below we’ve pulled together some of our favourite advice from the past 6 months of mental wellbeing webinars. We hope these will provide some ideas and inspiration to support your colleagues during the on-going crisis.
Frequently remind employees of the support available.
Whether it’s your EAP, mental health first aiders or company counselling services – keep on reminding and repeating what is on offer. All too often, new starters are told about support available, only to forget about it months in to the job. We also find a reluctance for people to reach out to these services until things get ‘really bad’. We use the mental health continuum below to help ascertain where you sit on the scale. Anyone in ‘crisis’ should seek help immediately. Below is a list of national helplines.
Rethink Advice – 03005000927
Mind Infoline – 0300 123 3393
Samaritans – 116 123
CALM zone (Male suicide prevention charity) 0800 58 58 58
The Mix UK (Helpline for under 25s) 0808 808 4994
Don’t give in to Guilt Traps
Whether it’s re-decorating our home, making the perfect banana bread or smashing some fitness goals, there can be a huge amount of pressure to make lockdown productive. There is no manual for making it through lockdown, so be kind to yourself and let go of the ‘shoulds’. The clinical psychologists who deliver our ‘Living with Lockdown’ and ‘Mental health During Covid’ webinars share their tips for minimising guilt traps:
– Good days, bad days– Levels of productivity and how you feel day-today will vary. On some days accept that just getting through the day is enough.
– Inner voice– Be aware of that harsh, judgmental self-critic that is finding fault in what you do. Consider what you might say to a good friend who is having a hard time and try saying that to yourself.
– Permission to feel the way you do– We may feel guilty about feeling unmotivated or sad because we believe we SHOULDN’T when there are others worse off than us. But it is kinder to yourself to accept how you are feeling at that moment in time.
– Limit your access to social media– Remember that the snapshot we see of other people’s lives on social media may reinforce our belief that “everyone is coping better than me”. Those people will have challenging times too.
– Keep perspective– We are living in exceptional circumstances trying to understand the right way “to be”. Having difficulty functioning right now is not a reflection of how you will behave once the crisis has ended.
– Be kind to yourself – Practice self-compassion by easing the pressure you may put on yourself. Prioritise YOU at times.
– Be gentle and CONSIDERATE to yourself AND remember you did the best you could today.
Look after your Wellbeing this Winter.
It is estimated that to 6% of the UK population may have symptoms that would meet the threshold for a clinical diagnosis of SAD. Be aware of the symptoms of SAD (fatigue, low energy, negative thoughts, struggling to concentrate) and try some of the solutions below:
· Try to get as much sunlight as possible such as taking a brief walk.
· Engage in positive activities that boost mood. Even though you may not feel like it, doing some exercise will really help. Even better if you can meet (your permitted) one other person for a walk and engage in some social interaction at the same time.
· Increase your experience of competency related tasks that give you a sense of
· achievement, e.g. performing a task well, or learning to do something new.
Have some fun
Whilst it’s hugely important to keep the mental health conversation going, we also need to grab as many laughs as we can during this time. Admittedly everyone may be a little Zoom Quizzed-out by this point, but there are plenty more ways to bring colleagues together for something fun. Our virtual cooking classes have been deemed the new ‘after work drinks’ of 2020 and if you’re looking for some real-life drinks, we have virtual cocktail and mocktail masterclasses, along with wreath and terrarium workshops in our virtual Christmas Party package. Inviting inspiring speakers, or people from within your company to talk about anything other than Covid will also lift spirits.