Looking after your Mental Health during the COVID-19 Outbreak

The coronavirus outbreak is having an impact on all of our daily lives, as the government take necessary steps to manage the outbreak. To date government guidelines include social distancing and staying at home for all but essential travel.

In addition to measures introduced by the government, a new infectious disease outbreak, like coronavirus, can be scary and can affect our mental health.

There are many things we can do to support and manage our wellbeing during such times. The things we know to be good for managing our mental health like getting outside and staying connected have suddenly become more difficult to maintain, so it’s important we look for new ways to manage our mental health.

Tips for managing your wellbeing during the coronavirus outbreak;

  • Connect with others – maintaining relationships with friends and family via telephone, video calls or social media;
  • Help and support others – think about how you could help those around you – it could make a big difference to them and can make you feel better too. Could you message a friend or family member nearby? Are there community groups that you could join to support others locally?
  • Talk to others about how you are feeling – this is a difficult time for everyone and sharing how you are feeling and the things you are doing to cope with family and friends can help them too;
  • Physical exercise – at times like these, it can be easy to fall into unhealthy patterns of behaviour which in turn can make you feel worse. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, drink enough water, exercise inside where possible and outside once a day.
  • Regular sleep – a good sleep makes a big difference to how you feel mentally and physically, so it’s important to get enough each night, and maintain regular sleeping patterns.
  • Manage information intake – 24-hour news and constant social media updates can make you more worried. Try to limit the time you spend watching, reading, or listening to media coverage of the outbreak from credible source that can be trusted;
  • Create new daily routine – try to engage in useful activities (such as cleaning, cooking or exercise) or meaningful activities (such as reading or calling a friend). You might find it helpful to write a plan for your day or your week;
  • Set goals – setting goals and achieving them gives a sense of control and purpose – think about things you want or need to do that you can still do at home;
  • Do things you enjoy – do things that will make you happy, and if you can’t do this because of being at home, see if you can adapt them.

 

What can employers do to support employees during this period?

Employers have a ‘duty of care’ to all its employees, and must do all they reasonably can to support employees health, safety and wellbeing.

New research out by the CIPD has found only 31% of managers feel confident to have a sensitive discussion around mental health.

‘Fear of infection and feeling isolated, along with concerns about job or income loss are just some of the knock-on effects from the pandemic that are all likely to increase the pressure and stress people are under’ [1].

It’s good practice for employers to:

  • Ensure managers are communicating regularly with their team and asking how they are;
  • Encourage employees to practise self-care such as a healthy routine for diet, sleep and relaxation;
  • Promote existing health and well-being benefits and support (e.g. encourage employees to use a counselling helpline);

If you would like further guidance or support on this matter or require advice on other people management matters please contact Clover HR on 0121 516 0299 or email us at info@cloverhr.co.uk ©️ Copyright Clover HR

 

  1. https://www.cipd.co.uk/about/media/press/mental-health-coronavirus

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/covid-19-guidance-for-the-public-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing/guidance-for-the-public-on-the-mental-health-and-wellbeing-aspects-of-coronavirus-covid-19

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