By Jodie Hill, CEO, Thrive Law
During this difficult and uncertain time, it is crucial to take care of our mental health and our teams. This can be difficult for many who already suffer as not only are we all adjusting to new circumstances and ways of living, we also have the added stress of further stressful life challenges e.g. job cuts, childcare etc. Social distancing and self-isolating appear simple instructions from the government in order to help stop the spread of COVID-19. However, refraining from seeing your close friends and family who you see often is not an easy task, especially for those who rely on this to better their mental health.
I am going to share with you some tips that I practice myself on a day to day basis to improve my mental health through this pandemic. At the end I will also share some things you can do for your team.
When it comes to managing my mental health, consistency really is key. I was feeling really overwhelmed thinking that I had to fit all these things into one day, one hour of yoga, one hour of journaling etc. it just didn’t seem possible whilst managing my law firm from home and remote managing my team.
I decided to cut it down to what I could actually handle, I didn’t need to do an hour of everything as long as I did something!
Getting started is the hardest part.
I started with 5 minutes a day of yoga and meditation and journaling and I realised that it was so much easier and because this was easier I managed to successfully do it every day and then I built this up to 10 minutes and now 20 minutes and now I am at a place where I am mixing it up and sometimes I will go on a run or another form of exercise!
Focus on getting started on one thing at a time and work it from there.
I find exercise so therapeutic for me, I stopped taking my anxiety medication a few years ago and part of my therapy is my exercise. I get that it’s not for everyone but there are different ways in which you can do this and you don’t have to go and do a really intense HIIT workout or run 200 miles.
Do what works for you and don’t compare your exercise goals to others.
Do what feels right but be consistent and see the impact it has on your mental wellbeing.
TIP – I found working out with people on live work outs really motivated me to mix it up and show up there’s loads of free ones online.
You can go outside for a nice walk and enjoy the fresh air and beautiful weather we have at the moment, the vitamin D is so good for you and the greenery is also really good for your mental health, so really try to go out for your hour whether it is to exercise or simply slowly walk.
I try to get outside twice a day – once on a walk with the dog and then talking calls outside in the afternoon rather than being sat at my desk all day inside alone.
It is also great to completely switch off when you are outside, be mindful. Feel the air and sun on your skin and see the beautiful green trees. Everything seems really vibrant at the moment and super green!
When I go out for walks I like to listen to an audio book or a podcast. I read so much with my job I prefer to listen to audio books, but find what works for you. Some people love a podcast instead. Get into a groove and find something you will look forward to listen to or to read on a regular basis.
I like to use my walks with the dog to get into an audio book as I have no distractions. You can do this whilst sitting outside, on your break or whilst you are exercising. This really helps me get into a positive mind set of focusing on what I am going to do and how I am going to do it.
It is so easy to think about all the negative right now. We need to shift this mindset to stay mentally well.
Think of 3 things a day that you are grateful for, write them down when you wake up. At the end of the day reflect and write down your three wins. See your mindset shift if you do this every day it literally takes 2 mins 😊
This year’s mental health awareness theme was perfect -kindness.
I always preach about this because it’s so simple, yet so effective. BE KIND. Be kind to yourself, be kind to the people around you, because right now it is really hard, and everyone is feeling it. We are our own worst enemies at times, and we are comparing ourselves to what we see other people doing! Some people are choosing to focus this extra time on fitness or baking or a new business venture, but it is important to remember to do what is right for you, it doesn’t matter what others are doing around you. Don’t be hard on yourself and be kind and you will notice the difference.
This is so important that you communicate clearly and consistently to your team. Ask them how they would like to be communicated with and how often. This video calls but strike a balance so its not death by zoom calls and micro managing.
Communicate your initiatives and polices so it’s clear what is expected. Ensure you communicate to all staff in the same manner don’t leave the furlough out. You can still talk to them and update them and invite them to team meetings.
Communication also involves listening. Actively. Make time to listen to employee who may need some of your time to talk about their concerns or just generally about how their day is going. Many will be living alone and crave some human contact from colleagues.
Encourage your team to communicate with each other on Teams or using other tech, like they would in the office, to maintain a team environment is crucial for the ‘new normal’.
These are essential now more than ever. We can’t see if someone is struggling as we are not physically with them so we have to ask them. If you just ask employees, unless you have an amazing culture they are unlikely to tell you the extent of their problems.
They should be done anonymously where possible as its unlikely the employee will be really open and tell their manager everything. They then can become a tick box which is something we massively want to avoid. Instead use tech, keep it anonymous for people to complete in their own time.
The best thing about using a tech platform is it takes literally no management time and the employee gets a self-care report with how they can help themselves and the company gets a report identifying the keys areas they need to work on so you can direct some of your training and invest in the areas your team need to most support to have the maximum impact.
Get in touch if you would like us to refer you to the company we use on my email below I would be happy to help!
Training is so important. I believe all staff should have mental health champion and awareness training and as a result we are proud to announce our very own Thrive Wellbeing platform which will launch later in June.
Thrive Wellbeing offers a suite of documents toolkits and guides as well as interactive e learning through 247 access tech platform its really cost effective as the prices are as little as £1 per employee per month! You can register your interest by emailing me Jodie.firstname.lastname@example.org
Check out our Northern Power Women Webinar with Jodie on our YouTube channel