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Ask Andy – Blog 3

Adapting to Change

Hi everybody and welcome to my monthly blog post for March 2020.

One specific item has been dominating the news for the last month and it has changed the way we live our lives. The global pandemic is a challenge to our resources and way of life, but it also affects our mental health and wellbeing.

It’s this last point which I want to cover in this blog.

In one of my previous blog posts on the 4 pillars of wellbeing, which can be found under the good news section of the SAS website,  I talked about the impact of our immune system in helping to keep us safe. Reducing stress levels is important to our wellbeing and we need to bear this in mind as we entertain the idea of working at home. Working at home isn’t a new concept and has been a real bonus in getting a day or two of intensive work done without interruption. However, working at home with other family members about and maintaining home working week after week is another matter altogether.

For your own wellbeing and to support your immune system you need to have regular breaks and limit the amount of time pinned to a computer screen. You need to have things that you commit to in the home that allow you to feel you have achieved something. Quite often those “achievement” moments in the workplace take longer to arrive and at the moment we need to boost our immune system. So, enjoy the sun, work when it’s dark maybe, and make sure that you don’t try to replicate the workplace in your home. If you do, then things that you’re not getting around to at home will bother you even more. When we leave for work, we can leave those behind, however when we’re at home they are continually reminding us of things to be done and raising stress levels.

I found this guide on working from home that I wanted to share, which includes helpful information about adapting to working from home. Balancing Remote Working with Family at Home – Daily Bulletin

Another way to gain some control and perspective over the current situation is to take some simple steps to control the information you receive. A lot of the information out there is selective and doesn’t contain all the facts. It often chooses to sensationalise rather than report all of the facts.

Two weeks ago, I stopped a news app on my phone sending me push notifications. Last week I deleted the app all together and now choose to access the information I want when I want it via the sites below. These are Government and NHS websites and deal in facts.

Below are some examples of factual reporting, rather than speculative:

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/

https://www.gov.uk/coronavirus

https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/coronavirus-covid-19/

The website below has some really useful ideas to help with the current situation.

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/

There have been some very useful scaffolds for planning your time in this period of social isolation. Below is just one scaffold and I hope it helps. It comes from a post from someone I follow on twitter.

Isolation Wellbeing Daily To Do List:

  1. What are todays essential tasks?
  • Shower
  • Medication
  • ?
  1. Clean one thing or one space…
  2. Tend to something that is growing…. (example a plant, pet or child)
  3. Notice something that is happening right now.
  • A sound, song or nature
  • A feeling
  • Something that you can see
  • Something Spiritual
  1. Reach out to at least one other human being beyond your home.
  2. Do one thing that gets your heart rate up.
  3. Do one thing that when evening comes, you’’ be glad you did it.

Stay safe everyone, abide by the social distancing guidelines and remember that we will beat this. Each day is a day nearer to beating the virus. The more we do the things we are asked to do, the quicker we’ll win!

Andy Mellor

National Wellbeing Director

Schools Advisory Service

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