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Ask Lawrence: Maintaining your mental health during self-isolation

17 Apr 09:00 By Lawrence Akers

How to maintain your mental health in isolation

This week, the Creative Recruiters team kicked off the first of our lunchtime webinars in the hope of creating a space where creatives can virtually meet, explore ideas, discuss challenges and find inspiration.

While a modest initial turnout, it certainly reinforced that this was a great thing to do and we hope that it will continue to grow and to become more of a forum for discussion as it continues to grow and find its momentum.

This week, we discussed a few topics mostly focusing around the topic of mental and physical health.  The reason for this is simple; if you’re experiencing a higher level of anxiety than normal, it will impact on your ability to think rationally, creatively and strategically.  It may make it harder to come up with an idea about how to best use this time and even worse, if you’re allowing your mind to create a worst case scenario constantly, you’re going to feel that in your body.  Over the long term, that level of stress and anxiety will have an impact.

Given that topic, I felt sharing some of these key points again may be of benefit for those who were unable to come along to our virtual meet up.  With that, here are some things you can consider that can help to reduce any challenging thinking you might be experiencing right now.

  • Time out day – if you're feeling overwhelmed, take some time out to just be gentle on yourself.  This is similar to the old ‘mental health day’ and can offer some temporary relief from getting caught up in ‘the problem’ now.  Keep in mind though that this is a temporary solution because it is a distraction however you wouldn’t want to find yourself resorting to this strategy to ‘deal’ with those issues.
  • Connect with others – reach out to some friends and organise a chat on the phone or a catch up online.  Just being able to talk about the problem, to be heard, to hear that others are feeling similar is going to be beneficial for you.
  • Maintain a routine – routines are there to help provide predictable stability and in an unpredictable world. Set some focus for the day, get up and treat it like a work day to ensure that you have a routine in place, you're feeling productive and making some achievements.  Plan some goals each day and know that you can continue to have success even during this down time.
  • Get some exercise in – there is a mind/body connection and exercise is going to release Endorphins, Dopamine and Serotonin that will help you to feel good.  Even going for a walk for 15 minutes is going to be beneficial for you.
  • Practice what IS within your control – while so many things are out of our control, you can focus on what is currently within your control, such as learning a new skill or updating your details.
  • Clear your mind – if that means turning off the news and social media for the day, do that. If that means picking up a mindfulness or meditation practice, do that. If that means being able to just take a moment to let go so that you can just be in this moment knowing you're safe, then do that.
  • Focus on the positive possibilities to come out of this – there are going to be so many positives to come out of what we're experiencing right now which might feel challenging right now. A focus on health, relationships, being able to slow down, reflect and to grow.
  • Recognise that this will pass – this won't be forever, this too will pass, it is what it is. They're all forms of acceptance. Now acceptance doesn't mean simply 'giving in' or 'liking the situation'. You can hate the situation if you want, but acceptance means that you're no longer going to give power to something that is outside of your control. You've accepted it and you can now use that energy and focus to go towards something that is going to benefit you.
  • Reach out for further support if necessary – there are online supports like Lifeline and Beyond Blue if you feel that it is all becoming overwhelming and you're struggling to cope. We are all human. We will have moments where we're not feeling ok – and that is ok. Recognise that you're not alone though and that there are people who will be happy to help you.
  • Do something that brings some joy in your life – if the world is feeling dark and miserable, do something that brings you joy. Be creative. Paint a picture. Read a book. Mindfully listen to music. Watch cat videos on Youtube. Write a story, poem or some music. Do some yoga. Go for a run. Have a virtual dinner party, lunch or dance part with friends.  I personally enjoy putting an LP on my turntable and enjoying being part of the music for an hour or so just to unwind and allow myself to be present to the fact that, right now, I’m ok.

You can find a reply of the first Lunchtime Webinar right here.

I mentioned earlier taking the time to learn some new skills and you may find with a bit of an online search that many organisations are offering courses either for a discounted price or for free. 

These include:

Google Digital Garage
UX Design Fundamentals - FREE course
Web Design: Wireframes to Prototypes - FREE course
Creative Thinking: Techniques and Tools for Success - FREE course
Create a Social Media Marketing Campaign - FREE course
Udemy Free Resource Centre
Free Fridays at General Assembly

Are you free next Wednesday 22nd April at 1:00PM? Why not come and join our next free Lunchtime Webinar Virtual Meetup!

The topic will be ‘I Feel So Uninspired’ and we’re looking at inspiration in isolation.

For the full details and to let us know you’re coming, enter your details here.