We live in a global pandemic world now. Six months ago when we first went into strict lockdown I think we all imagined and hoped that by autumn winter things would be back to semi-normal. But as this awful illness of Covid-19 continues to put so many at risk, our lives are still in a semi-lowdown state. We live in a pandemic world for the foreseeable future, and that is something that is both difficult to reconcile with, but it is important that we kindly find ways for ourselves to not just function but also begin to thrive in this new way of living.
Stress, depression, and anxiety is widely reported to be on the rise. And unsurprisingly so. Adapting is hard and the knock-on effects can be serious. I want to say now, that if you are struggling with your mental health, please do consider call your local GP for a referral. Or reach out to one of the brilliant mental health charities for guidance.
To some extent, I think all of us at some point in the past 6 months have struggled in some way. With that in mind, as we settle in for a few more seasons of this, I think it’s worth us having a toolkit of coping strategies to help us along the way.
As many of you will know, I am a huge advocate of self-care. This is taking intentional moments, ideally on a daily basis, to do something that is nourishing and beneficial for your wellbeing.
Another strategy that I recommend adding to your pandemic coping toolkit, is a transitional activity between work and home.
For the most part this is aimed at those of us who continue to work from home during the pandemic. But do also think this could be useful for those still working outside of the the home, as a means to centre and ground themselves before easing back into home life.
What do I mean by transitional activity?
OK, picture this. I’m working in the home office or at the kitchen table. My day mostly consists of working from my computer. I might go to the kitchen to make lunch. I might pop on the laundry now and again. But otherwise, I am working a standard 8-9 hour day at my desk at home. I finish up for the day, sometimes working longer than necessary because there’s just that one thing i could finish off… anyway i head downstairs, try to make dinner. maybe put the telly on. I’d like to do something else. but I’m feeling fidgety. Discombobulated. Just a bit weird. I can’t quite switch off. I’m still thinking about work.
There’s this weird blurring of work and home. It happens in the morning as well. I go straight to my desk. Work is bleeding out across the house. There’s devices and notebooks everywhere. I
This is where the transitional activity strategy works.
We need to way to create space between work and home life. We need to give our brain time to switch where it’s functioning from. We need our nervous system to switch gears.
If you ever feel agitated and unable to switch off, this is why. You body and mind are still trying to move over to a different space.
By doing a transitional activity, we allow the mind and body to slow down. To move to a more restful state. Now, this isn’t for a sleep state, unless you dying for a nap that is. But rather, a calm, mindful state.*
So what could a transitional activity be?
You could try something that awakes the body, moves the blood and nervous system to different area.
Maybe take a shower after work, change into fresh new comfies. The water, the heat, the time to breath. An entire activity that separates work and home life.
Maybe take a walk. This could be the time to get a good 30 minutes of fresh air in your lungs. Whether it’s warm and balmy, or pouring with rain. Grab your coat and stretch your legs. A walk allows you to get the body moving and again it separates the work day and home life.
Maybe pop something dance-y on your spotify and throw yourself around the living room for your very own private dance party. Again, waking your body, maybe get a sweat on, and it’s an activity that definitely separates work from home life.
I think the key is to do something active. Something that moves your body. It’s that change of state that helps with the transition. It allows you to enter the home space even if you are still in the same place physically, with a different mindset and energy level.
And there it is again. Energy. So much around living a good life is this awareness and use of energy. When we come from a place of awareness, and a place of intention – that is acting in own best interests – then we can make this remarkable shifts in our own lives.
The challenge of being at home for such long periods of time, particularly for both work and personal life – is being able to manage our energy levels and mindset. By being actively aware and scheduling in time to create transitional activities, we can take charge of our energy, improve our mindset, and hopefully improve our mental health.
Share your thoughts on the show with the hashtag #GoodLifeUnravelled
And please share a positive review on Apple Podcasts, it helps other people find us.