By Shane Mansfield, Marketing Director at City Pantry
It’s that time of year when we start seeing ‘Blue Monday’ being posted about, arguably being the most ‘depressing day of the year’, and while not everyone might agree with it, it’s fair to say that the last year has left many feeling isolated, anxious and stressed.
With the prospect of another three months in lockdown, many will be struggling to cope with these feelings while working from home, so it is vital that teams introduce self care measures and wellbeing practices to help individuals adjust to this new normal.
With the festive period over, gloomy weather outside and the added pressures of the pandemic, this January will be particularly tough. So now, more than ever, companies need to connect with their employees when working from home, appreciate their hard work and offer their support during these unprecedented times and there are some really simple ways to do this.
Stay Connected, but give yourself space
Humans are social creatures, so relationships with peers and colleagues are key to our mental health and wellbeing. While the pandemic has put a stop to in-person socialising and working in the office, it shouldn’t mean we stop connecting with others.
As an employer you can help your teams stay connected by arranging coffee catch ups and virtual socials, such as after work ‘drinks’, quizzes or even online karaoke – the possibilities are endless.
This being said, it’s important to set aside time to do things you want to do, like reading a book or simply having that all important ‘me time’ and encourage your team to do the same.
Switch off from the digital world
The pandemic has made the world even more connected, making it even more difficult to switch off from work and have a healthy work-life balance.
We are all struggling with the feelings of stress and anxiety, so a constant barrage of negative news can be overwhelming. Try to limit your news consumption, by listening or watching updates at specific times of the day and only getting information from reputable sources. Social media should only be used a few hours a day and avoided anytime before bed, as this can cause you to have problems with your sleep.
During the day, try and step away from your computer for at least 5-10 minutes every hour, grab a snack or make a hot cup of tea. At lunch go for a short walk or run to reset the brain and get those happy endorphins pumping around the body.
It seems a bit ridiculous when you can’t go anywhere, but taking annual leave is also vital. Time off gives you the opportunity to unwind, catch up on sleep and spend time doing something that makes you happy, like listening to music, painting or cooking.
Nourish your mind, body and soul
Never underestimate the importance of food. What we eat and drink affects how we feel, think and behave. Infact, nutrition plays an important role in prevention, development and management of certain mental health issues.
Food is your body’s fuel, so it needs a variety of vitamins and minerals to function properly. Try to eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day and drink plenty of water.
While eating nutritious food is important, don’t put pressure on yourself to eat healthily all the time, listen to your cravings. If you want that chocolate bar then have it! Eating intuitively and mindfully helps to prevent over restriction and binge eating.
If you are an employer with a budget to provide food benefits for employees, consider sending them a healthy food pack this month – our clients always get rave reviews when their team receives their Pantry Packages.
Give mindfulness a try
Mindfulness is a technique anyone can learn to become more aware of what’s happening in the present moment.
There has been lots of research on the effects of mindfulness with the technique shown to help people become more self-aware, less stressed, better equipped to respond to personal thoughts and being kinder towards oneself.
When practising mindfulness, avoid any distractions, sit with your thoughts, acknowledge how they are making you feel and write them down in a journal. There are plenty of free resources online that you can share with your team. Encourage people to start slow by booking in 10 minutes a day to check in with themselves.
Seek professional help
It’s important to note that if you are struggling with feelings of anxiety, depression or hopelessness there is always someone who can help.
Self-care techniques are incredibly helpful for general wellbeing, but sometimes aren’t enough to help on their own, especially through difficult periods of time.
If you are concerned about your mental health, it’s nothing to be ashamed of and you are not alone. Speak to a friend or family member about your concerns and book an appointment with your GP, who will be able to refer you to get professional advice.
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Photo by Katerina Jerabkova on Unsplash.