COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time to come. In the UK, we are no longer subjected to local lockdowns and the majority of the restrictions that were implemented in a bid to slow the spread of the virus and protect our National Health Service. For many of us, the longevity of the pandemic with the reduced opportunities for social contact and interaction took their toll on our mental health and wellbeing. For many, there are continuing feelings of fear or anxiety as society unlocks and people are being encouraged back to work. These fears may well be preventing people from resuming their normal pre-pandemic lives.
However there are a number of proactive steps we can all take to reduce these impact on us by investing in our physical and mental health and wellbeing. Read on for some useful tips and helpful advice on improving your wellbeing.
Your employees are your most precious resource and it goes without saying that you want to do everything you can to look after them in these challenging times. One of the most effective ways of looking after your employees is to help them to help themselves by actively encouraging them to focus on their own physical and mental health and wellbeing. Whilst RMP offers a range of guidance documents and training resources to assist with this through its resource pages at; https://rmpartners.co.uk/resources/, other guidance and advice should be considered to assist employees to help them build resilience and maintain their mental and physical wellbeing.
In the UK we have access to a vast array of resources via the National Health Service (NHS), central and local Government and charitable organisations such as MIND – who provide specific mental health advice and support.
If you are spending more time than you normally would at home then it is beneficial to keep yourself occupied and have structure to your day. Mind – the mental health charity offers the following recommendations;
If you are working from home it is important to stay connected with your colleagues and retain a sense of perspective. To do so you could try the following;
Sleep is often underappreciated for all of the positive benefits it brings us and at these times of heightened uncertainty and anxiety about the future. Getting the right amount and type of sleep not only positively impacts your mood but also assists in maintaining energy levels, concentration, memory and ability to handle stress. So give yourself the best possible chances of improving your sleep hygiene by:
As humans we are comprised 60% water by body weight, with the recommended daily water intake through foods and fluids being 2.5 litres for men and 2 litres for women, of which 20% comes from our food. As we have no water storage within our bodies this means that we need to be constantly replacing the water we lose to help our minds and bodies work effectively. All fluids consumed count towards this but just be mindful of the sugar and caffeine these drinks may also contain. It is recommended that we drink water regularly to replace this daily loss for the following reasons;
What we eat has been shown to not only influence our physical health but also our mental wellbeing. Eating the right things can not only increase your energy levels but can also improve your mood and help you think more clearly.
The following tips can help support mental and physical wellbeing;
Exercise comes in many forms and different types work for different people and you need to find out what works best for you and your circumstances.
For example, if you have a garden, then your normal garden maintenance also counts as a workout during lockdown.
Squatting whilst weeding and planting will strengthen your core and glutes, carrying your watering can and various tools will tone your arms and mowing the lawn is a real cardiovascular workout and great for your heart health.
Whether it is walking, running, cycling or another activity; exercising outdoors brings many benefits to your overall wellbeing as you enjoy the sunshine, breathe in the fresh air and possibly even experience some socially distanced human interaction.
However there are also many beneficial exercises that you can do inside as well, with many of these requiring little or no equipment, such as Pilates and Yoga.
A simple web search will pull up a wide range of exercises, fitness videos and fitness challenges with the NHS fitness studio offering access to a wide range of exercise and fitness resources, including videos, podcasts and printable documents. This includes the popular couch to 5k running programme that will take you step by step from novice to 5km runner in just 9 weeks.
There are many great mental health resources that you can access from the comfort of your home. They are designed to promote positive health and wellbeing:
No matter if you are an Apple or Android fan, or what you want to be able to do from your mobile phone – the phrase “there’s an App for that” comes to mind. Most Apps are free, but be aware that many contain ads and in-app purchases. It is very much a case of finding one that works best for you.
If you’re struggling with low mood or feeling more anxious, beyond what self-care can improve, then you may want to contact one of the mental health charities, visit your GP or get referred to your organisations Occupational Health Service. Many organisations have access for staff to counselling sessions or more specialised clinical services.
Doctors are now accepting patients for face to face appointments, but many are still able to provide care through teleconferencing or video appointments. Your GP can assist you to find a treatment provider who best suits your needs.
RMP UK has a proven track record of reducing injury costs and minimising productivity losses for UK businesses. If you want to learn more about how RMP’s UK services can benefit your organisation then get in touch or access our website: https://rmpartners.co.uk/.