One of the biggest impacts I think many of us have seen in our daily lives throughout the Covid-19 crisis, is the effect it’s had on people’s jobs, businesses and workplaces. You might have been suddenly instructed to only work from home for the foreseeable future; your workplace may have had to close completely and you have been put on furlough by your employer; or you may have sadly lost your job if your employer has been unable to sustain their business as a result of this crisis.
For many of us, going to work is a huge part of our lives and when we really think about it, has so many benefits and positive affects on our wellbeing.
Many jobs involve working within a team and with members of the public. Some of us develop lifelong friendships and connections through our jobs, seeing and working with our colleagues almost every day. As well as the social aspect of work, it’s a place where many of us can achieve. Whether you’re keeping shelves stocked, delivering a service, making products, looking after the environment; so many people take a lot of pride in their work and the opportunity to utilise their skills and experience every day. So, to have a significant part of our routine suddenly thrown into turmoil and uncertainty can be extremely distressing.
The first thing I would say about this is that it’s ok to feel this way. It’s ok to love our job (even if we don’t always admit it), it’s ok to miss our colleagues. For people who have lost their job or who may be at risk of losing there job, it’s normal to feel scared about that and what the future might hold.
I was recently asked to put together a Lancashire Mind resource about how to look after our wellbeing around working from home, furlough and redundancy.
When I was looking at the information, advice and guidance around these issues, it really made me realise 2 things;
- how important it is to do what we can to keep ourselves well
- how each and every one of us have the power and control to do just that. When something happens that is out of our control, I think it is THEN that is the most vital time to focus all of our energy on what we CAN control. We know ourselves best, and we have the ability to take actions that we know help us to feel good, to feel content, happy and healthy.
Doing those things is not always easy, particularly if we’re having a tough time, and definitely when this crisis began, I remember in the first weeks of lockdown being unable to get any sleep at all – I was waking up at 3 and 4am and starting my day, but the knock-on effects of that were really challenging and so many other things I would usually enjoy, I couldn’t.
I felt angry and frustrated because I felt unable to do something about it, putting the blame on outside factors for why I couldn’t sleep.
When actually, there were lots of things I could do to help myself, to feel calmer and more relaxed. Once I thought about it, and tried a few different things, I felt much better. Only I could do that, and that’s what I think is so important; the things I can’t control, can’t be changed, at least not by me. But what can change are even just really small things within my new routine that help me to get through it, see a light at the end of the tunnel and keep me feeling like myself along the way, instead of getting lost in despair.
I have been extremely grateful and lucky that I am still able to do my job and I cannot begin to imagine how it must feel for people who have lost their jobs. What I would urge anyone to think about if they’re in that situation, are some of the key elements of our new resource; Working from Home, Furlough, Redundancy and Your Wellbeing:
Your strengths and value are still there, even if your job is not – celebrate who you are.
You are still the same person, you still have the same skills, qualities, worth and value; these things are not defined by having ‘that’ job. They are defined by the person you are – you are unique.
Tomorrow is another day
Oh what a cliché! But it is SO true. Having hope for tomorrow, even if it is just one day at a time, makes such a huge difference. Not putting pressure on ourselves and setting small manageable goals each day is absolutely OK, as is celebrating those achievements however small they seem.
Nobody is superhuman
All of us have mental health, whether it’s good or not so good. At times when it’s not, it’s ok to feel that, to share it and talk about it because we’re all human. Connecting with people and sharing your feelings is a strength, allow yourself to be vulnerable. It’s a step towards feeling that little bit better.
The guide can be found here
Some of the information in our new resource: Working From Home, Furlough, Redundancy and Your Wellbeing, was kindly provided by Redcar & Cleveland Mind and Mind nationally.