COVID-19 and managing stress
April is stress awareness month, an annual awareness event which aims to increase the awareness of both the causes and treatments for modern day stress. And during these unsettling times, this year’s awareness event may hold more interest than usual.
The outbreak of coronavirus has arguably been hugely stressful for many people, and understandably so. With many of us tuning in to the daily government updates and the ongoing news headlines, lots of us have questions and concerns, particularly as there is so much uncertainty about what may happen next.
The government has gone some way to recognising a number of these concerns and has put in place measures to help alleviate some of the financial pressures in particular being faced by employers and employees alike; furloughing, business loans and mortgage holidays to name a few of these.
But, it is as important as ever, perhaps even more so, for all of us to look after our mental wellbeing.
The following tips may help your employees (and you) to stay on top of their wellbeing whilst we cope with the changes to our daily lives that COVID-19 has temporarily introduced:
Too much information and news, speculation and misinformation can have a detrimental affect on the way we feel. Of course, it is important to keep up to date with what is happening and new developments, but where you access this information is just as important. News and information should be from trusted sources, including the government’s daily briefing or website and the NHS website.
As an employer, you should be as open as possible with your employees about the impacts of this pandemic on working life and what you are doing. Make it easy for your employees to find, understand and ask specific work related questions. Can you point employees to a single point of reference, such as a wellbeing portal or intranet? If you offer a wellbeing programme, can you remind employees about the specifics; they might find some financial wellbeing information and resources useful at this time.
Talk about your worries
If you are feeling worried about any aspect of coronavirus; be that health implications for you or your loved ones, or financial worries for example, speak to someone. If you have someone you know and trust you could speak to them, otherwise there are helplines available such as the Samaritans or Citizens Advice. If you have an employee assistance programme (EAP), remind your employees of this vital resource.
Look after yourself
During this period, it may be easy to fall into some unhealthy habits. It’s important to try and eat well, including healthy meals and to not drink or smoke too much.
It is also important to take regular exercise. Government guidelines say we can exercise; walk, run or cycle once a day, and we know that exercise provides both physical health and mental wellbeing benefits.
There are also a number of tutorials and home exercise workouts that are being posted online, including for example the Joe Wickes workouts, or the Strictly Come Dancing dance tutorials.
Additionally, if you offer gym or health benefits through your employee benefits, it’s worth seeing how they have adapted their services, so you can remind your employees how they could make the most of these benefits from home.
There are a number of wellbeing, meditation or relaxing techniques which you may find useful online too.
Keep your connection with others
Think about the ways you can stay in touch with friends, family and work colleagues. Although we’re all staying at home, a support network and social interaction is as important as ever, be that by phone, email, text messages, video calls or social media for example. You could even use this opportunity to reconnect with old friends too.
It’s all about communication and keeping in touch from both a wellbeing and business perspective.
Try and maintain some form of routine
Your daily routine is likely to have changed during this period, but you can adapt your usual routine to fit with the way you are living and working now.
If you are still working, albeit likely from home, keep to the same sort of hours you did when you were in the office to help maintain a good work-life balance. Ensure you get ready for work each day, you may not wish to wear a suit working from home, but you’ll feel better about your day if you don’t stay in your pyjamas. Make sure you take regular breaks and fit in your usual hour’s lunch break.
If you’re not currently working, then you could put together a daily plan or routine. You could set some time aside to learn a new skill or take an online training course. Don’t put off the tasks you’ve not had time for in the past, keep yourself busy.
For those trying to juggle work and childcare, it’s also a good idea to plan activities for your little ones, so they keep learning, developing and, most importantly, enjoying family time.
It’s also important to try and continue with your regular sleeping pattern too, the better we sleep, the better we tend to feel.
Secondsight is a multi-award winning benefits, wellness and financial education specialist. We continue to work with employers during these unprecedented times and can support you with your financial, mental and physical wellbeing strategies and employee benefits. Contact us today.
Information correct as at 17th April 2020.
Secondsight is a trading name of Foster Denovo Limited, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.