Talking to your plants? Staying sane during social isolation

Starting to get annoyed at the sight of your partner, your dog – even your kids?
Developed a new cocktail (the Quarantini, of course) and drinking them far too quickly?
Have pants become optional and getting changed out of your pjs is merely a suggestion?

We’re only a short time into lockdown and already many of us are struggling. For those climbing their COVID-confinement walls or feeling the more serious effects of anxiety during these uncertain times, we’ve compiled some handy tips and helpful reminders.

Note what is and isn’t within your control
You know the saying. You can’t control a situation, but you can control your response to it. It may not feel like it, but things will calm down and return to normal. Set some short- and long-term goals. Start thinking about all the things you’ve been meaning to get around to. Find something to be grateful for each day – positive psychology research says gratitude is consistently associated with greater happiness. It helps people deal with adversity, feel more positive emotions, relish good experiences and improves their general health overall.

Know your news from your needless natter
There’s definitely COVID-19 information overload happening right now. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the media panic. Keep informed on the situation from trusted sources such as the Australian Government Department of Health or World Health Organization websites.

On that note, why not just shut down the noise
There’s noise such as music that can elevate your mood and decrease stress levels. Then there is noise that creates stress and alarm. Switch off negative noise such as social media, the news, that friend who posts daily about how awful the world is. Remove yourself from people and outlets that are creating stress. It’s a formidable threat to your success and when stress gets out of control, your brain and your performance suffer.

Wiggle it, just a little bit
Or a lot. During this anxious time, it’s more important than ever to keep our minds clear and focused. Exercise is unique in that it can boost our mental health as well as keep us healthy physically. Develop a routine you can do inside or get out for a walk if you’re allowed to. Need encouragement? Rope your partner in to do a workout with you in front of the telly. Yoga teachers are even offering online classes you can join from the comfort of your home to encourage wellness and self care.

Ask your employer if they have an Employee Assistance Program in place
EPG have an external provider on board to assist our team with confidential phone counselling. This service, called an Employee Assistance Program (EAP), provides early intervention strategies for employees experiencing professional, personal, health or work-related issues. EAPs can help workplaces adopt a more proactive, preventative approach to workplace mental health. Many providers are also offering tools and resources for employers on the steps they can take to manage COVID-19 in the workplace so it’s worth looking into.

Stick to a healthy routine
Sometimes we all need a reminder about how important a daily routine is. Before you say you don’t have one, brushing your teeth, getting dressed and making your bed are simple routines we accomplish daily. Identify which routines are important to you and stick to them. It’s easy to get stuck in front of the computer screen while we’re working remotely. If you’re used to the social aspect of an office and can afford to, take 30 minutes to eat some lunch or a snack with your family or flatmate. It’s a small routine and social ritual guaranteed to make your confined workday a bit brighter.

Stay connected and engaged
Missing your Saturday morning coffee session or Margarita Mondays at your local with friends? Finding ways to carry out meaningful activities or rituals with friends or family is so important for maintaining positive mental wellbeing. Schedule a regular weekly time to have that coffee or cocktail virtually with your friends over Skype or Facetime. Touch base with loved ones, just to say hey. Even better – now’s the time to reach out to those who you’ve perhaps lost touch with but have been thinking about.

Don’t underestimate the power of connection. Research after the SARS pandemic in Hong Kong in 2008 highlighted the significance of connection through epidemics. It found that residents in Hong Kong experienced increased social connectedness, which offset the negative mental health impacts of the pandemic.

We asked our EPG peeps how they’re staying sane while in COVID-19 isolation…
“My tip for staying focused on work and maintaining a balanced state of mind and body is a quick 30-minute yoga workout in the morning or in the afternoon. It’s easy to get stuck in your seat for hours without a break so movement is key!”
Renata Barbuto, Senior Payroll Manager, Australia

“I’m staying sane and keeping focused on my work by doing a 10-minute walk around my area with my dog to let my eyes rest from screens and get some fresh air.”
Danika Losty, Payroll Account Officer, Australia

“Going for a run at lunch time helps break up the day and gets me away from my screen for 30-45 minutes.”
Daniel Greenshields, Implementation and Payroll Manager, United Kingdom

“Remain proactive by maintaining regular working hours and creating a routine. Challenge yourself and learn new things! I found my passion in learning so many new Italian food recipes and have started one professional online course (udemy and coursera are great learning platforms).”
Anna Del Bolgia, Payroll Account Manager, China

Excessive worrying is proven to affect both our physical and our mental health. Learn more about how you can better cope with anxiety and worry during COVID-19 and social isolation with these practical psychological skills developed by the MindSpot Clinic and Lifeline.

with us.