Hannah is our Children and Young People's (CYP) Project Lead.
'My job at Lancashire Mind revolves around managing some of our fantastic children and young people projects. So, when COVID arrived, my team was probably one of the most affected as it meant our delivery, which takes place in schools across Lancashire, had to stop. I was put on furlough when the scheme began.
Personally, I had a positive view on furlough and welcomed it, it was time to try new things and get out in to the garden. I became very ambitious, perhaps too ambitious! I tried to do too much. I tried to learn a new instrument, started an online course, a new language, tried to bake, re-do the garden - I was cramming far too much into my days.
Some days I didn’t even know where to start and felt a huge pressure to fill the day as I wasn’t working, almost feeling a bit guilty but, because of this, I felt I had very unproductive days.
As I’ve gone into my second period of furlough, I have learnt from my first. I haven’t put too much pressure on myself to achieve more than what was possible. I wanted a balance between resting my mind and body, plus achieving small weekly goals. I have concentrated more on gardening and growing a wild flower patch, as well as reading for my self-care. Often these two things for me have a real positive impact on my wellbeing.
I have also continued to walk as much as I can, getting both fresh-air and exercise, walking the dog. I also stay in regular contact with my manager. I have tried to keep to a routine the best I can, getting up at a similar time to what I would for work and having a healthy bedtime routine, as I am a bit of a night owl!
I am still on part time furlough now but feel now I have got the balance right and a good routine; I feel much more productive. I am also enjoying my time back at work and looking forward to returning to schools to deliver.
My top 5 tips for furlough are:
1. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself and set unrealistic goals. Pick a few weekly goals to aspire to and spread them out across the week.
2. Embed some self-care into your weekly routine. Do more of what makes you feel good, for your own wellbeing.
3. Try to keep to a routine – get up at a reasonable time and have a healthy sleep routine. This will make you feel more alert and ready to face the day ahead.
4. Connect with people you work with even if you’re on furlough. It could be a weekly wellbeing check-in or a quick chat with your manager to catch-up.
5. See it as an opportunity and a positive. I started furlough with a positive mindset, as I saw it as an opportunity of time that I could spend on myself.
Know someone needing more support?
For more information, tips and resources on looking after your mental wellbeing during furlough, working from home or redundancy, check out our Homeworking, furlough and redundancy guide.