Between back-to-back meetings and managing projects while working from home, it is natural for feelings to be heightened. With less time during the day to process our internal thoughts combined with the fact that we are seeing fewer people due to lockdown means we can be inclined to keep things bottled up as a result. Prioritising your mental health is one of the best things you can do for your well-being and productivity.
If you’re looking for ways to support your mental health, these 5 lockdown-friendly tips should help you regain balance and improve your outlook on life.
1. Write it down
A great way to deal with overwhelming thoughts is finding an outlet to express yourself. As the old saying goes “A problem shared is a problem halved” even if it’s just shared onto the page. Fill the page with anything that is clouding your brain without fear of judgement from anyone else and feel the weight of these burdening concerns begin to lift. In the same way that writing a to-do list helps us to prioritise our workload, keeping a journal is a helpful tool in managing your mental health by helping to clarify how and why you might be feeling a certain way. Start by setting aside 10 minutes each day to write down your thoughts, and you’ll be surprised at the difference it can make.
2. Listen to music
Research has found that listening to music can have a profound effect on our memory and mood. In fact, studies have shown that these 10 songs are scientifically proven to make you feel happier. Of course, we must take into account that musical preference is entirely subjective so whether it’s pop, metal, jazz or whatever you’re into, taking a break to listen to your favourite songs can increase cognitive function, decrease stress and improve your overall mood. If you find you are becoming overwhelmed at any point during the day, take 3-5 minutes to listen to your favourite song, close your eyes and breathe in time with the music in a 4-7-8 pattern.
3. Enjoy the great outdoors
Before the shift to working from home, it would seem nonsensical to never leave the office. However, with Lockdown restrictions in place, that is what many of us have fallen victim to which evidently has an impact on our mental wellbeing. In addition to being a nice way to spend your break time, getting outside for some fresh air each day can help to regulate your circadian rhythm, increase energy levels, and promote relaxation. Spending time in nature also gives us an opportunity to recentre and practice mindfulness away from any distractions. Make it your mission to fit in some time outdoors each day to help clear your mind. Take the dog, your headphones, and an optional to-go cuppa and reap the benefits that nature has to offer.
4. Indulge in some self-care
Self-care does not always consist of face masks and bubble baths. It simply implies taking some time each day to look after your mind, body, and spirit. Whether that means calling a friend for a catch-up, doing a home workout or watching your favourite film, make sure to include a self-care activity that makes you smile in your everyday routine. While you’re writing your to-do list for the days ahead, write one self-care activity for every day and tick this off as you would do with a work-related task. Writing this on a checklist will help to prioritise and acknowledge the time taken to look after yourself, and ticking this off the list will please your brain too!
5. Optimise your morning routine
Working from home has undoubtedly disrupted our morning routines. With our workstations constantly within our grasp, we barely give ourselves a chance to wake up before we start responding to emails and reviewing our meeting schedule for the day. Creating and sticking to a morning routine is a great way to begin the day with a positive mental attitude and it presents an opportunity to align your thoughts and emotions for the day before getting stuck into your workload. Give yourself some time each morning to say some positive affirmations in the mirror (you can even recite these in your head as you brush your teeth), drink your morning beverage of choice, and write in your designated journal about how you’re feeling, what you’re grateful for and what your intentions are for the day ahead. By doing these things every morning, you make sure you’re starting your day on a positive note.
Above all, be kind to yourself, remember that we are all in this together, and there’s not one person who won’t be able to sympathise with what you’re going through at the moment. As a nation we have shown enormous resilience and compassion in the past year and there is no shame in reaching out for help at work, at home or to your friends and family. In these uncertain times, the best we can do is to be there for each other and navigate through as best we can.