October 26, 2020

Tips For Taking Care Of Our Mental Health in 2020

October is Mental Health Awareness month and our Quality Assurance Manager, Emma, has shared with us the ways she is looking after her mental health in what has been a very trying year for everyone.

In 1997, a columnist named Mary Schmich wrote an essay ‘Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young’ which was published in the Chicago Tribune.  Fast forward two years later and a pre-teen Emma was introduced to this by Baz Luhrmann’s spoken word song:  ‘The Sunscreen Song’. 

An extract from this essay that particularly resonated with me was:

Don’t worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 p.m. on some idle Tuesday.

So in March 2020, I listened to this song once again and stopped worrying. I can’t change what has happened, but I’ve learnt how to adapt to change and stop worrying about my life in 2020. 

1. I created space

On March 23rd, I was all set up in my dining room ready to start work at 8am.  The novelty began to wear off after month three and when I moved into my spare room to what I thought was a better set up,  I suffered from headaches and tense posture and without knowing when we could go back to the office – I had to make a change. 

I used this as an advantage to let my creativeness come to light.   I transformed what was a bland, spare bedroom/dumping ground into my home office.  I learnt how to wallpaper, gave it a lick of paint and got myself a new desk.

This has made a notable improvement to my attention, motivation and overall mood.

2. I feel the music

As a music and routine lover, I listen to my favourite radio station in the morning every day, then play my own playlist in the afternoon.  I escape when the music comes on and the benefit of being home alone is that I can sing my heart out and dance if I want to.

3. I take a break

One thing I often have to remind myself is to take time for myself.  I love a good nap and instead of feeling guilty for taking that time out on a lazy Sunday afternoon, I look forward to it and it’s a blissful way to spend an hour, curled up on the couch with my dog.

4. I have a blether

My family live in Scotland, and although I can’t see them as much as I’d like to yet, once a week,  I have a blether with my parents about absolutely nothing, and it’s braw.

5. I exercise

Home workouts were not good for my mental health or wellbeing.  During the peak of lockdown, I proudly maintained my home workout regime, but as it began to ease, my motivation went out the window.  I made the decision to move to a new gym to take part in classes with other people I’ve never met, and taking time out of the home/home office.

6. I cook!

I love a process, and recently I found there’s nothing better than trying out a new recipe to reduce the monotony of the midweek meal rut.  I turned this into a competition with my partner and we alternated each night to see who could make the best meal…

I won.

7. I switch off

Journalism is in my genes and I listen/read the news every day.  When it gets a bit much, I consciously switch it off and do something else worthwhile. 

I have also recently introduced a time limit on my phone and at 9pm, my phone shuts down and disables notifications before bed.

What has helped you this year? We’d love to hear from you!