It’s National Stress Awareness Month and, although we’ve been helping clients deal with stress and anxiety for over 25 years – whether it’s caused by chronic health conditions, work situations or life circumstances – we’ve never had to help people navigate their feelings through a pandemic before!
However, many of the tools and techniques we share are applicable for any situation you find yourself, in. Yes, even self isolating during a lockdown! And as over 80% of our work can be done online or on the telephone, there’s no need to feel alone.
Levels of anxiety and stress have sky-rocketed since Boris Johnson’s announcement of the historic lockdown of the country; with people admitting they are feeling panicked and unprepared – which is entirely understandable, as none of us have had to deal with this particular situation before.
However, humans are adaptable, creative and resilient, and communities have rallied to support one another, delivering food parcels, prescriptions and even making friendly telephone calls to help prevent feelings of isolation.
Around half the workforce are now working remotely from their own homes. You might think this is a wonderful thing – choosing your own hours, taking as many breaks as you like and working in your pyjamas, but for many, the reality is far from that. Our clients report feeling stressed and anxious due to the loss of routine, isolation from colleagues, fear of loss of jobs if the lockdown continues and how to focus on work when the housework / children and other commitments compete for your attention.
But here’s an inspiring story of how home working can be hugely successful:
As my husband and I built this website ourselves, and purchase various plugins, fonts and graphics, we were intrigued to hear how the company Font Bundles came about. Three friends set up this company on a shoestring budget and now boasts 30 full time employees and over 4000 designers selling their products on the craft and design marketplace, Design Bundles and the font marketplace, Font Bundles (I do love a good font!). The most intriguing thing is, there is no central office and all staff work remotely across the world.
In the last financial year, the company grossed over $10,000,000 USD in revenue.
So while you might be in the early stages of shock, grief of horror over what is happening at the moment, know this. As Captain Moore famously said this week “The sun will shine on you again and the clouds will go away.” And when it does, you’ll emerge like a caterpillar from the cocoon and who knows what you will create next. Out of the depths of our despair and our most challenging moments, often the biggest breakthroughs come.
So much positivity can come from adversity.
If you’re still uncertain about making remote working a success, here are some simple steps you can take to feel grounded, productive and happy:
Create a new routine
Humans are creatures of routine – we like to watch the same TV shows, eat the same breakfast, take the same route to work – you get the picture. So create a new routine that fits into working from home. Keeping ‘office hours’ is a great start. And yes, slip out of the pjs and into work clothes!
Although you might be tempted to comfort eat or drink more alcohol than usual, it’s important to support your immunity. So go ahead an indulge in a little of what you fancy, but eat healthily the rest of the time. Here are five tips for healthy breakfasts and six ways to eat more organic food, even if you’re on a budget.
Trips to the water cooler or vending machine are probably now out of your routine at home, so be sure to keep a large bottle of water on your desk as a reminder to stay hydrated.
Move your body
We are encouraged to go outside to exercise and this is a fantastic habit to begin and / or maintain. Exercising outdoors has numerous benefits to mental health and 30 minutes of sun exposure is excellent for your vitamin D levels, which support your immune system. If you can’t get outside due to bad weather or lack of time, here are some 10 minute workouts you can do at home.
It can be easy to feel nostalgic about the past and worry about the future in the current climate, but staying in the present moment keeps you grounded and feeling safer. Mindfulness is a brilliant tool that anyone can learn and you can incorporate into your day.
Just because you’re in lockdown, it doesn’t mean you can’t have fun. This is the ideal time to take up a hobby you’ve always wanted to. There are some innovative ideas coming out of this situation that you can take part in for free online, including pub quizzes, virtual choirs and exercise classes.
As you’ll know from a previous post, while we accept what is real, we try and focus on the positive as much as possible. And we’re seeing so much creativity coming out of this situation. Within our neighbourhood, a catering supplier is now offering deliveries to residential homes. A local pub is offering takeaways to residents. A garden nursery is taking phone orders and delivering, not only plants, but home cooked meals too. A butcher, who works next door to a supermarket will deliver his goods to your home, plus pick up anything you need from the supermarket. And a small village bakery is now more in demand than ever and has taken on new staff!
What positives can you find to focus on right now? If you’re struggling with anxiety, stress or fear, get in touch. We can meet on Skype and help you find a more helpful perspective with our integrative approach. During lockdowns all sessions are on a donations-only basis, so we can you as much as possible, irrespective of the financial situation you might currently be in.