Wellbeing has taken on a new light amid the coronavirus crisis, writes mindfulness expert Hannah Loveday
I was extremely impressed by the turn out at the COVER Mental Health & Wellbeing Summit on 12 March (considering the impending threat of social distancing) and even more impressed by the diverse selection of inspiring guest speakers.
I was, of course, honoured to be asked to present on ‘Making a case for Mindfulness at work' at the event. In light of the coronavirus, employee wellbeing and wellness as a whole has taken on a new perspective and at this time, as Tony Robbins puts it, we need to "stand guard to the doors of our minds" more so than ever before.
I can't help but feel we are being given a big old rollicking by Mother Earth herself. We've been stopped in our tracks (or doorsteps) and the planet is getting to take a much-deserved breather from us, with pollution levels dramatically dropping. We take so much for granted; unlimited produce, endless luxuries, always-on entertainment, and most-notably our freedom. As a result, we've been forced to look beyond ourselves at something much greater; something that none of us is unaffected by but all of us fear.
This surreal chapter is undoubtedly horrific for many, however we must try and find our own personal positives. Self-isolation could well be the excuse for a Netflix binge and other indulgences or, alternatively, we can be mindful and use it as an opportunity for self-development and a time for us to reset.
Personally, I'm adapting my employee wellbeing workshops to offer online, and, as a parent, I am thinking outside the currently somewhat restricted box, with homeschooling ideas! Small businesses are getting their creative juices flowing, to stay afloat and some are even learning a new language. Maybe now is the time to explore new passions or hobbies? We have a culture of instant gratification, with everything accessible and available at our fingertips. Who could imagine that a trip to a supermarket (if a necessity) and a short walk around the block would be a luxury! What I do know is that we will all learn a lot about ourselves.
We are so often lost in the busyness of our lives and this virus has forced us back to basics. We sweat the small stuff too often and now we must put aside what's trivial and consider those far worse off. It's also a clear reminder (and catalyst) of that other infectious global disease, stress and fear, and the need to learn how to find balance.
Amidst the social distancing, it may be a time that we remember how intrinsically connected humans are. Maybe we come out of this appreciating each other just a little more, reminded of those that we love and spurred onto to show acts of kinds and abundant sharing and support. It almost feels like things will never be the same again.
When practiced regularly, and especially at this time, it is mindfulness that can jump to the rescue, bringing balance, presence, and support. When experiencing harmful thought processes, mindfulness helps us to switch from obsessing, attaching and reacting, to accepting, observing and responding. It helps you take each at a time when going through challenges times, staying present, rather than projecting into the future. This mindset is incredibly beneficial with the unnerving worry of how long this seemingly endless chapter will continue.
Here are my five tips that could prove invaluable at this time...
1 - Train your mind - meditate, even if simply a body scan, releasing tension mentally and physically, then focus on the breath as your anchor
2 - Call a relative or good friend you haven't spoken to in a long time
3 - Exercise - Strong body, Strong mind, take up the one walk a day treat!
4 - Keep to a routine - routine is key when it comes to mental resilience
5 - Watch some comedy! - Boost your endorphins!
For those working at home, it is so important to keep in mind that distractions will disrupt productivity, to find a working zone and keep only to your work station when checking emails or have meetings rather than slipping to the sofa! Set ground rules with other members of the household and if you're alone utilise the video calls to colleagues if possible.
Hannah Loveday is the founder of LovedayWellbeing. She is providing employers with online employee wellbeing courses, incorporating mindfulness and stress management. Her public yoga classes are being streamed on Facebook. Visit her site and contact here on [email protected]