This blog is both easy for me to write and difficult at the same time. Easy, due to the fact I am speaking about a topic area I am very familiar with. Difficult however, for the same reason. This is arguably the most important blog I will write in this series, the one that means the most to me and the one I am hoping people take the most from.
In the coming days, weeks and possibly even months we are going to face changes, we are going to face uncertainty and we are going to face challenges. Whatever we face I want everyone to remember and embody the most important word you can utter during this time…Positivity!
Be positive in everything you do, take victories wherever you can and please do not let what is happening in the world get you down.
It is very easy when working from home and home schooling the kids to fall into the trap of not even getting out of your pyjamas daily. Although this can be “fun” at first, it can soon spiral into a negative behaviour pattern, especially for the young and the elderly who thrive on routine and structure. Getting up every day, showering and getting into clean clothes exerts an element of control that psychologists say is incredibly important to positive mental health.
You are in control of this day, you make the decisions of how it is going to play out and getting up and ready will put you in a positive mind set from the off.
At the same time, try not to be too rigid, acknowledge the fact you are working from home and you may have to entertain one, two, or a few little ones who don’t really understand why mummy or daddy can’t play with them all the time! Take regular breaks, go out into the garden, take a few deep breaths through your nose, kick a ball, dance, sing, have fun. Then when you are back in a good mind set, have another crack at those timesheets.
Aside from LinkedIn (which I use for professional reasons) I do not use social media, which is a decision I made after a period of severe depression and honestly I do not miss it. I do however understand that people use it & overindulge use at times. In my experience this only heightens anxiety as the world can be a negative place and unfortunately negativity spreads quicker than positivity at times. Not only that, it is very easy to fall into a “social media hole”! You know what I mean…one minute you are checking the news, the next you are watching a video of a goat in a tree and you have no idea where the time has gone.
Well that lost time is time that you could and probably should have spent being productive and now you are chasing your tail feeling stressed and anxious as a result.
Try restricting your social media “checks” to a few times a day or even go a whole day without looking at your phone. I understand some jobs require social media engagement and is unavoidable at times but being “present” at home, with your family, is crucial to a positive mind set. That new Tik Tok video can wait!
Recognise Your Own Needs
Personally, I like being on my own. I am an introvert by nature and I feel quite comfortable in my own company (maybe that’s why I enjoy blogging!). Now however, I find myself suddenly at home with my partner and my four-year-old in a three-bedroom house- there’s not that many places I can be on my own. My partner is the same.
My daughter however, is completely extroverted, loves to sing and dance and demands attention constantly (like most small children I suppose). Communication in this situation is key before anxieties and stress occur as this can quickly turn to depression and negative feelings. Talk to your loved ones and tell them how you are feeling and what you need to feel good in yourself. If you are a natural extrovert and crave the attention of others then regular phone and video calls, with other family members, group chats and Facebook groups (just mind the amount of time you spend in them) could be a good solution for you.
At the end of the day, these are unprecedented times, but we are all in this together and to reiterate what I said at the start of this blog, stay positive! We will get through this and we will come back stronger but you must look after yourself. Look after your mental health, talk to someone. I will put my personal email address at the bottom of this blog for anyone feeling alone, please reach out, I can signpost you to help or answer any questions you may have.
Below are some great websites for people feeling anxious or wish for more information.
Look after one another, be kind and remember, even though you are isolated, you are not alone!
Adam Heywood, BA (hons), MSC