GUEST AUTHOR – Stewart White – Mental Health First Aid England Instructor and boss of Blue Shadow.
We recorded the second BackinBusiness.org.uk Mental Wellbeing podcast last week. I’d not met Katie Matthews boss of The Mind Tribe before. She’s English living in Northern Ireland and I’m from Northern Ireland living in London so there was a lot to talk about. Shutting us up was the most difficult bit for the producer.
The podcast however concentrates on our experiences over recent months and the impact the pandemic has had on our lives and businesses.
It has been difficult to weather the sudden unexpected changes and our conversations ranged around some of the strategies we’ve used to find our way through.
Sudden forced change and uncertainty
Change can be difficult to deal with at the best of times. Usually there’s some sense in it, but when change is suddenly forced upon us, with no idea of where it will lead, life can become incredibly stressful.
Anxiety is a normal human response to something which makes us feel threatened. But how do we fight an enemy that we can’t even see? And when the landscape around us changes at the same time, we can end up feeling completely lost.
This heightened anxiety, and even panic, can make it more difficult to think straight and find a solution. Even when we know that other people are also affected, our feelings and emotions are very personal and planning ahead can be difficult when you’re just trying to get through one day at a time.
- Take some time to think and focus on what you can control.
- Establish a new routine. Try going for a walk before you sit down at your desk in the morning. The fresh air, exercise and that sense of a morning commute, may help you to focus on the day ahead.
- And remember to take regular breaks.
People have become much more familiar with online systems and can jump on a video call almost as quickly as making a phone call.
Feelings of isolation are hard to deal with, so expanding your online network can be really helpful and seeing people on screen helps you feel connected.
- Make technology work for you. You can continue to make new connections and build your network online.
- Maintaining existing relationships and making new connections can pay off in the future.
Hope, and looking after your mental health
It is really important to keep a sense of hope for the future. Hope that we will survive this pandemic, both physically and mentally; that our businesses will recover and begin to thrive in this new world.
- It can really help to talk about how you’re feeling.
- Learning more about your mental health and the signs and symptoms to watch out for in yourself and others can really help to build resilience for whatever comes next.
- Positive ways of coping include going for a walk, cycling or listening to music.
- Mindfulness can also be helpful and, of course, there’s always the chocolate meditation.
Samaritans – 116 123 www.samaritans.org
Mind – 0300 123 3393 www.mind.org.uk
Rethink Mental Illness – 0300 5000 927
Frazzled Cafe – www.frazzledcafe.org
Hub of Hope – hubofhope.co.uk