Monday, 8 June, 2020
The days have turned into weeks and the weeks into months during lockdown.
Some of us may be celebrating, having learnt a new skill or having tried something different. Gaining a sense of achievement, purpose and a new confidence.
Others may be lacking focus, struggling to feel motivated and feeling a slump. If the latter is you, please know that you are not alone!
As we settle into our new normal, fear, anxiety and change can all reduce our energy levels. Other factors may be environmental, such as home schooling, the demands of a busy household or distractions in the office or at home. Other worries may include health, both mental and physical, or finance.
But by focusing on one thing at a time, we can become more efficient and more productive, getting more done in less time and to a better standard. Small, individual goals can lead to a positive state of mind, therefore improving our mental health.
Keeping goals small can avoid a feeling of stress and overwhelm, while encouraging productivity. Getting into a routine can help achieve this. It can be as simple as a regular time to get up and go to bed, setting regular and specified break times away from your desk if working from home, or even if furloughed. This will help you to prioritise small, actionable tasks, which will then support bigger goals.
Create a home working environment as best you can, ideally in a separate area from your relaxing spaces if possible. Set a timer to complete tasks and make time for some kind of exercise. Increasing your heart rate, even slightly for 15-20 minutes can increase endorphins, ‘happy hormones’ and provide an immediate mood boost.
Plan for the future and continue to discuss your goals. Concentrating on the future, will help you to feel a sense of purpose, direction and focus.
These ‘Micro-goals’ could include setting five minutes aside, away from technology for either just an eye rest or a brief mindfulness exercise.
Sam Wells, Wellbeing Coordinator for COHS, said: “There is so much pressure to use our free time productively, but don’t be too hard on yourself. Take time to focus on your breath, the sounds you can hear and your immediate environment.
“Acknowledge your feelings, practise selfcare and be kind. Try to find something small to celebrate each day and enjoy little rewards.
“It’s all about small wins that don’t put pressure on you but will help keep you motivated and keep control of the things you can, and not worrying about things you can’t.
“Kindness to yourself and to others will increase feelings of happiness. Support colleagues through virtual coffee or lunch breaks, try picking up the phone instead of emailing or make a video call to someone on their own.”