May is Mental Health Awareness Month and you may have seen lots of advice on social media for how you can take care of your mental health when you’re feeling under strain, overwhelmed and anxious. In our latest blog, we discover the different ways that our team help to take care of their mental health…
The struggles of the last couple of years in particular have taken a toll on people’s mental health. People from all walks of life have experienced stress throughout the pandemic – from frontline workers who were overwhelmed caring for others, children who missed months of school and were isolated from their peers, families who were separated or lost loved ones and those who could not access mental health services during the lockdowns.
It is understandable that this has led to an increase in reports of people feeling anxious, helpless and scared, but whatever your situation there are ways in which you can take control and look after your mental health and wellbeing. As we celebrate World Mental Health Awareness Month, here are 6 things you can do to help you cope, not only with life after the pandemic, but other events that may cause stress.
Looking After Your Physical Health
Do you remember being advised to “only” get our one hour of exercise per day during the first lockdown? For many people, this was an hour MORE than they had been getting before the pandemic and, with many either on furlough or working from home, this was something that really helped their mental health and got them outside of the house.
A walk in nature was a blessing for many, with an almost meditative feel to the walks, breathing in the fresh air after being in the house, appreciating the wildflowers and quietude of the streets and parks. Many of us enjoyed online fitness videos and gained a new love and appreciation for exercise during this time that has helped us to develop a resilience over the last 2 years to beat our anxiety.
Helen says “yoga is amazing for my mental health, it is a quiet time where I can stretch, tune into my body and forget the stresses of everyday life”
Set Boundaries, Improve Your Relationships
If, like many of us, you found yourself working from home for hours at the kitchen table whilst the children ran around full of cooped up energy, you may have realised that you were working twice the hours that you would normally – but only getting the same amount of work done! The structure of lockdowns and home learning made it difficult for us to set normal working hours and boundaries.
Boundaries are actually a really great way to put your mental health first, they can be quite awkward for us to implement initially and may take some practice. As long as you clearly state your boundaries to others, and stick to them (unless YOU choose not to), then it can have such a positive effect on your personal and professional relationships. One of our clients said
“During the lockdown I was working for 9-10 hours per day, as well as trying to home school 2 children. It was stressful for all of us until I set time boundaries for school and work. As long as we stuck to one exercise at once, within the time frame set, we’d call the day a success! Now that life has returned to normal I set my working hours to within school hours only and my clients really do respect this and my work has improved so much – I actually get MORE done in that time as I’m fully focussed, meaning I can spend time with my family making great memories (that don’t include me working through dinnertime!).”
Spending Time With Friends and Family
We always try to see the best in any situation and, whilst we know that many of us were separated or lost people close to us during the pandemic, it also allowed us to reconnect with our loved ones. From Facetime calls with Grandma, to House Party kitchen discos, in some cases it felt like we actually spent more time in meaningful communication with our friends and family.
Spending more time with our children was also a bonus for us, especially those whose children were too young for “home learning”! We baked, we read, we chased Pokémon and we got to focus on our little ones more than if we’d been running around fitting in work, nursery, school runs and extra-curricular activities.
One of the most important aspects of the way we work at Insight Finance Solutions Ltd is that we are designed to be flexible for our families. When Helen was working in a corporate environment prior to setting up the business, there is no way that she could have spent meaningful time with her family, without reducing hours OR the quality of her work. Our team all have families and so we really do value this flexibility to raise our families whilst providing fantastic accountancy services to our clients.
We know now that if we start to feel anxious or isolated, one of the best ways to reset is to make time for our loved ones. Whether it is taking the kids to the park, going for a family bike ride or organising a girl’s night out, spending time with those who you love and love you in return will help to alleviate a lot of anxiety.
Get Busy in The Kitchen!
Were you one of the lockdown sourdough crew? Many of us who hadn’t stepped foot in the kitchen for a long time found ourselves in there during the lockdowns. From sourdough starter obsessions to baking with the kids, we found a sense of calm in our (somewhat questionable) culinary creations.
Whether you’re a methodical baker or a “let’s throw this together and see what happens” chancer, spending time creating foods from scratch can be an excellent way to reduce anxiety and get you out of your own head. Fuelling our body with healthy, home prepared foods can help to look after our physical health too, a double whammy!
What is your go to recipe to make when you’re feeling anxious? Could you create more of these so you have a library of stress reducing meals?
Journalling To Reduce Anxiety
When the whole world seemed upside down, it was easy to lose track of our goals, and feel our mental health unravelling. This was a completely normal reaction to an unprecedented situation for many of us.
Helen loves her Daily Greatness Journals, and these really helped to keep her focussed during the lockdown. Alongside her business journal, Helen has her personal journal and uses these each morning to set herself up for the day in a positive way. In the same way, writing down every little thing you’ve done in the day can help you to feel in control and like you have achieved a lot, when sometimes it is easy to feel lost or that we’ve not been doing enough.
We would recommend creating a daily plan for yourself to keep you on track both personally and professionally. Add “walk the dog” to your list, even though it’s a daily task that you do without thinking, as ticking off the small daily task you do will help you to feel more positive and in control.
Reduce The Stress of Your Business Finances
Remember that you are not alone in feeling anxious and there are people who can help you to overcome your feelings and implement coping strategies. If your business finances are causing stress, get in touch with us so that we can help! We even offer Money Mindset coaching so that you can create a positive relationship with your money and concentrate on enjoying life more!