On 23rd March 2021, the UK marked the 12-month anniversary of the first lockdown. It was a significant moment. Living during a pandemic has marked all of our lives. As Mental Health Awareness week approaches, we wanted to take a moment to reflect and offer some simple strategies to support the mental health of working people.
1. Look after your nervous system
Living with the ongoing threat of Covid-19 will have kept our nervous systems activated. These simple, evidence-based strategies will help take you out of fight-flight, soothe your nervous system and restore balance.
Breathe: No complicated breathing techniques are needed. Simply lengthen your exhale to bring a calming response.
Ground yourself: Let your body know you’re safe. Put your feet flat on the floor and feel the ground beneath you.
Change gear: Step out of your work day routine and do something different: meditate, get creative, go for a walk, listen to music.
In December 2020, one in four (24%) UK adults in the UK said they had experienced feelings of loneliness in the previous two weeks (Mental Health Foundation). Take time to connect:
Reach out: Prioritise time to speak with friends, family and colleagues. If you need support, find out about organisations and resources in your local area.
Nurture compassion: People who act compassionately experience more positive emotions. Reach out to the people around you and set an intention to really listen. Remember that we can also be compassionate towards ourselves.
3. Go slow
The UK is leaving lockdown. It is something we have all been waiting for. But we also know what the pandemic isn’t over and, after so many months of lockdown, it will be a big adjustment for many people. Go at your own pace.
Normalise: You might be surprised that you experience a rollercoaster of emotions. Remember that it’s normal to feel many different emotions in response to change.