2020 has, for the majority, been a year that we will never, ever forget. I was that person who watched the daily news updates on my TV every night, read articles online and watched the Coronavirus take over the world of social media and my mental well-being. I went into the new year with a real sense of excitement and optimism, but a couple of months in and these thoughts and feelings were really put to the test. The word ‘Coronavirus’ became all-consuming.
On 14th March, life changed overnight. Suddenly, my home became my office, I became my children’s teacher and was no longer able to see work colleagues, clients, friends or family.
I had to get used to a ‘new normal’, a different way of working and living and soon realised that I needed to take a much closer look at my mental health. Mental wellbeing is the way we think and feel and our ability to deal with ups and down. It’s something we all have. When we feel good, we have a sense of purpose and direction and have the ability to deal with what happens in our lives.
Here are few things that I have learnt about the importance of mental wellbeing over the past few months.
It’s good to talk
I have never struggled with talking! I love a good chat, be it with a client, my family, or a stranger out and about, but what I have realised is that you need to talk about how you are actually feeling. It really does help you maintain your mental health and deal with times when you are feeling low. It’s actually not a sign of weakness, it’s a way of dealing with the issues and taking charge of the situation.
Exercise is good for the mind and body
I’ve never been massively into sport, so working out regularly wasn’t something that I wanted to do. During the start of lock-down I knew that I needed to improve my fitness, so I started to do morning HIIT workouts and lunchtime walks and soon realised the positive impact that this was having on my concentration levels at work, self-esteem, sleep and general wellbeing.
Keeping in touch – Relationships are key to mental health
The relationships that I have built with my work colleagues and clients have been so important to me during the past 8 months. Although I have not been able to see many people in the flesh, the world of video calls has helped keep those relationships strong. At Fluro we have a team ‘huddle’ every fortnight and these have been great, just to chat about how we are feeling and what we have been doing.
You need to switch off your brain
I have always struggled with this. My brain seems to be in constant overdrive and during lockdown this seemed to be amplified. I had listened to various podcasts about the benefits of meditation but never thought it was for me. I finally realised that I needed a way to switch off, so I downloaded an app called ‘Instant Timer’ to my phone and started to listen to guided meditation tracks before bed. It has certainly help me switch my brain off at night, sleep better and feel less anxious.
Self care is so important
I didn’t really know what this was until I read a great blog that an old colleague of mine wrote on the subject. I think that it’s safe to say that a lot of people neglect the relationship they have with themselves not just in present times but throughout their lives. This is still very much work in progress for me, but I am now learning to understand my own thoughts, recognise when I am feeling anxious and low in confidence. Taking time out for ‘you’ needs to be a priority.
This year although it has been tough in many ways, I have learnt a lot about myself. I am still learning, but what is clear is that you need to consciously work on your mental wellbeing, it doesn’t just happen.
I will leave you with a little quote that I read one day.
‘It’s ok to feel down, it’s how you deal with it, is the important thing’.
By Vicky Normoyle, Account Director