As our nation’s businesses battle the coronavirus pandemic, following quarantine and social-distancing recommendations can help stop the spread of COVID-19. But there’s another health enemy employers need to pay attention: the mental health of their employees.
Without taking proper precautions to maintain mental well-being, employers can unwittingly put their people – and the productivity of their company – at risk.
We don’t need a vaccine to maintain good mental health at work. Here are six steps managers can share to maintain mental well-being for themselves and their team during the pandemic.
Tips to Maintain Mental Well-Being
One of the best things you can do to preserve mental well-being is to stick to a routine. For example, if you’re used to going to the gym before work, try to wake up early and get an at-home workout in before you go to work or start working at home.
Maintaining as much normalcy as possible with your daily routine can lift your mood and keep boredom and stress from taking over.
If you have children at home now, creating a routine for them is also important. Implement a structured schedule for every member of the family so they know what your expectations are. Try to limit screen time as much as possible and incorporate learning activities throughout the day.
This tip goes hand-in-hand with sticking to a routine. With your routine disrupted, it can be tempting to go to bed or wake up later than you typically would. Breaking your normal sleep routine can have negative effects on your overall mental well-being, so try to stick to your typical sleep schedule.
Unless health officials give explicit instructions to stay home, try to get outside periodically throughout the day. This could involve going out in your backyard or taking a walk around the block, but it shouldn’t include going to a busy park or other areas where groups of people may be until social distancing recommendations are lifted.
Being outside adds vitamin D, which the body makes when the skin is directly exposed to the sun. Many people are deficient in vitamin D, so exercising outside can be a great way to correct that.
When in quarantine or self-isolation, it’s common to feel lonely. Fortunately, technology like Zoom or Teams makes it easy to connect with others without physical contact or close proximity.
The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) recommends using technology to reach out to loved ones, reduce feelings of loneliness and anxiety, and supplement your social life while you’re quarantining or social distancing.
It can be easy to become overwhelmed by watching the news and reviewing the updates of the COVID‑19 situation. While it’s important to be informed, try not to obsess over the news. Pace yourself and monitor your news intake. For example, instead of monitoring the news all day from home, consider checking for updates once in the morning and once at night, and moving on.
Taking five minutes a day to write down the things you’re grateful for has been proven to lower stress levels and help change one’s mindset from negative to positive. While you’re quarantining or social distancing, build time into your routine to practice positivity or express gratitude. It may feel awkward at first, but with practice, it can improve your mindset and boost your mood.
Your mental well-being plays a huge role in your physical health and well-being, and it should be prioritized.
These six suggestions may help you maintain your mental well-being during the quarantine but shouldn’t be considered medical advice.
Access your company’s Employee Assistance Program for support and assistance from mental health counselors. Contact your physician if you are feeling depressed or having suicidal thoughts. Many providers are offering telehealth services so they can care for their patients without direct contact.
We are all in this together. We will emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic strong, with good mental health.