As we transition through various stages of lockdown, every one of us is willing any sense of normality back into their lives. Ground & Water engineer, Natasha Kearl, shares some of the mechanisms she uses to ensure her wellbeing, while living and working at home.
It is understandable why studies from the Office of National Statistics show that more than two-thirds of adults in the UK (69%) report feeling somewhat or very worried about the effect COVID-19 is having on their life. The most prevalent concerns affecting welfare are worry about the future (63%), feeling stressed or anxious (56%) and feeling bored (49%) (The Health Foundation, June 2020). It is challenging to think positively when there is no certainty around what is going on. However, I have found that introducing routines has made life that little bit easier.
Here are some things I have added to my daily routine and found helpful for alleviating stress and anxiety during these lockdowns.
Reading during my lunch hour helps me to escape from work despite being in the same room for all activities of the day. It helps me relax and become motivated for the afternoon ahead. I also enjoy reading a few chapters before going to bed to help switch off from the world. I have challenged myself to read 50 books by the end of the year: I am already behind schedule but that won’t stop me trying to meet that target.
Any form of exercise, particularly activities that involve getting outside are integral for keeping your mental health in check. These don’t have to be intensive all the time, sometimes a short walk to get fresh air into your lungs or some stretching just to get your body moving is enough to get those endorphins working.
Discovering ways that work for you to relax is one of the most important things I ever learned. I have found that a combination of exercise, meditation and reading have helped me to de-stress. But there are many ways to relax. The important thing is to find what works for you and make the time to do it. It is so easy when working from home to get in the habit of work, sleep, repeat. But this is not a healthy habit. Taking time to concentrate on yourself is essential for looking after your mental health.
Many people find cooking therapeutic. I have really enjoyed, not only experimenting with new recipes, but also with meal prepping for the week ahead. I have found that being prepared for the week and having that extra time to relax in my lunch break, rather than sorting out my meal, has helped me to balance working from home. Implementing a healthy diet is also fundamental for fuelling your body and mind.
The age-old advice of getting eight hours of sleep is something I always disregarded. As someone who has experienced difficulties with sleeping, I am used to functioning on little to no sleep. However, now that I have started to deal with the anxieties that were keeping me awake, I have noticed that on the days I get a good night’s sleep, I am much more productive, particularly in the afternoons.
The existence of technology has aided people to stay connected in a time of isolation. Whether that is the ability to work from home or stay in contact with loved ones. Here at Ground & Water we have successfully transitioned to working from home and have regular meetings and after work socials, to catch up and ensure we all still interact as a team. Staying in contact with people is one of the easiest ways of combating the seclusion of lockdown and can be so beneficial to not only your mental health but those around you.
Hopefully, some of these activities can help ease the stresses you may currently be going through. If you or someone you know are feeling like you need more support, the NHS website link (below) has a number of contact details for different charities, organisations and support groups that can offer advice.
The infographic (opposite) can be found on Liggy’s website: https://www.liggywebb.com along with other useful tips and tools about looking after your well-being.