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26 January 2021

Managing Your Wellbeing and Mental Health

Managing Your Wellbeing and Mental Health

See below our short guides and tips on managing your mental health during this lockdown. We would like to remind you of the resources that are available to you during this time, and advice to make staying at home as manageable as possible.

With January blues very much in full swing, plus the added effects of Covid-19, we wanted to remind everyone of how they can get support and build coping mechanisms to get through the winter months. It has been apparent, that lots of people are struggling with the continued lockdowns so it is essential to make sure that you know how to get help if you need it. Or, share any support you hear of with other colleagues, family and friends that may be struggling. 

Before we go any further, let’s all remember that we have nearly made it through a year with the virus and we can make it through this one. We have learnt to adapt and we will continue to find ways to overcome the challenges. Plus, the nights are getting lighter! 

Building habits to reduce stress 

It is important to find coping mechanisms to reduce stress to make sure that daily tasks and work is manageable during this period. The more effective and resilient to stress factors, the better performance you will see throughout the day. 

Habit building is an important part of resilience to these stressful situations and to avoid burnout. For example, setting small goals and planning your day, both at work and around work, can give you a sense of achievement which can be extremely encouraging. By developing a plan, things become far more manageable and a hectic day, that could seem almost impossible, suddenly becomes attainable (Guidance COVID secure – 10 ways to optimise homeworking PDF at the bottom of the page).

Positive habits to practice could include: getting up and going for a morning walk, practicing meditation and breathing (take a look at the NHS website on calming breathing techniques), setting out a space designed specifically for work and remembering to plan breaks throughout the day. When simple, healthy tasks become habit, they no longer need to feel as stressful, so it makes the more challenging tasks, such as work or home schooling, easier to accomplish. 

Remember to talk about it

Being at home can get lonely, particularly if you feel like there isn’t anyone to talk to or relate to. Therefore it is important to find an outlet where you can talk. It doesn’t have to be talking about anything specific, but just knowing that there is someone you can pick up the phone to when needed. This could be a friend, a family member or a colleague to have a general chat with. 

However, there may also be times where it isn’t appropriate or you don’t feel comfortable talking to someone that you know. In this case, there are helplines that you can call such as Samaritans, which gives completely anonymous, non-pressure advice. Samaritans is free to call and open 24/7, so there will always be someone to call when needed. (See the BPIF Managing Stress and Anxiety PDF and Samaritans website below for contact details). Make a note of their number and put it in your phone, in case you, or someone you know, is struggling for quick access. 

The print industry also has access to the Printing Charity Helpline which is open 365 days a year for emotional support and counselling if you want a service that you can talk to confidentially. All councillors are members of the British Association for Counselling and Psychotherapy (BACP), with extensive experience and expertise. 

Find ways to stay healthy – mentally and physically

By keeping mentally and physically active, things are going to feel easier and more enjoyable even when things are tough. Getting out for a walk and doing regular exercise a day will help increase mood, and provide a change of scenery during lockdown. Eating a balanced diet will also help support healthy physical activity. This time could be a great opportunity to learn new cooking skills or develop a new hobby which could can give a sense of accomplishment.  

Also, it is important to stay mentally active, and acknowledge your mood and thought processes to keep mentally healthy. This could be through reading, or finding additional training courses, or just simply by taking 5 mins of your day to just focus on how you have been feeling, and check in with yourself. There are lots of podcasts and recommended books that could help with this (take a look at the BPIF Managing Stress and Anxiety PDF). 

By keeping mentally and physically healthy, this will help make lockdown, hopefully, a little more manageable. It is a difficult time, but it is important to prioritise looking after yourself and checking in on people around you, whilst trying to stay productive at home. 

Resources and guides

For a practical guide on optimising homeworking take a look at the BPIF “Guidance COVID Secure – 10 Ways to Optimise Homeworking” PDF here

Take a look at the BPIF “Guidance – Coronavirus Managing Stress and Anxiety” PDF here

Focus on Breathing – try this calming breathing technique: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/stress-anxiety-depression/ways-relieve-stress/ 

The Printing Charity Helpline: https://www.theprintingcharity.org.uk/our-helpline/

Samaritans: https://www.samaritans.org/ 

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