One of the main issues to arise from lockdown measures and working from home has been isolation and the lack of socialising, face-to-face interaction and travel.
I’ve heard many people share how they at times feel lonely, disconnected, bored, uninspired and at a loss to know what to do with themselves other than work.
Exacerbating this, there has been a loss of coping mechanisms for many, whether healthy or unhealthy: being busy, social and occupied helps some people avoid their own thoughts and worries.
Circumstances, personality style, level of resilience and mental fitness play a big role in how we cope with isolation and lack of social interaction. But I’m sure everyone would agree that during lockdown they have at some point felt lonely, uninspired, demotivated and disconnected — which is completely natural as we humans are inherently social animals!
As many countries here in Europe are starting to enforce stricter lockdown measures again and we are approaching the Winter months, the potential for isolation and the feelings I describe above are going to be amplified.
So, in this week’s blog, I am sharing some tips and tools to help you stay more connected, inspired and motivated this Winter.
Online courses: There are so many amazing platforms online offering very affordable e-learning courses on every topic you can imagine. You could boost your skills, gain a new qualification or learn something completely new like a different language for example.
Hobbies/crafts: Things like knitting, needle work, crosswords, writing poetry etc cultivate a mindful state, they also give a sense of purpose, progress and achievement once completed — so they are brilliant for your mental and emotional health. Plus, you might just end up with something lovely to admire, use or wear!
Podcasts: I’m a huge fan of podcasts, audio books and YouTube videos! I listen to something most mornings and I specifically choose things that encourage a positive mindset and further my own personal development or professional learning. Also, because you’re listening to someone speak it can help you feel more connected. Many people in the public eye also broadcast livestream webinars and workshops, so you can actually see, listen and interact with them in real time.
Neighbours/community: Lots of people got to know their neighbours better during the first lockdown. I certainly became more friendly with a few of mine. Depending on lockdown measures in your area, you might be able to join some community walks, volunteering or even simply make more of an effort to chat and say hello to people (from a distance!).
Social calls: Plan in advance and schedule social calls with friends and family, especially if you know you feel lonelier on certain days. For example, if you feel deflated staying in on a Friday evening, schedule in a Friday call with friends over a glass of wine. It’s so easy to text these days yet barely ever actually speak to that person! Another idea is to reconnect with old colleagues or peers and suggest a catch-up call during the workday.
Get organised: I don’t know about you, but I love to get organised! Over the past 4-months, I’ve systematically worked through almost every inch of my home, inboxes and laptop files and have decluttered, deep-cleaned, fixed or replaced anything that needed it! For me, this has been one of the biggest perks of having more time at home: ticking things off the to-do list! It really frees up my energy and enhances my focus when things are in place and sorted. Plus, doing chores creates a mindful state and the bonus is, you could listen to a podcast, audiobook or music at the same time!
Charity work: Helping others is a powerful way to also help yourself in that it usually always boosts your mood and up-levels your perspective. Whether that’s officially supporting a charitable cause or simply offering to help a friend or neighbour with food shopping or dog walking.
Special events: Plan special events at home with your partner, housemate(s) or family. For example, date nights at home where one of you cooks something really special, or movie night with homemade popcorn, or games night. Another option would be look up online social events as a way to try something new and maybe even make new connections. Many fitness brands now offer livestreams where you can join a class in real time from anywhere around the world!
Get outside: Yes, this has come up in every blog in this Winter Wellbeing series because it is so important to get outside on a regular basis when working from home. From the social perspective, you are around other people and in a different environment. Even if you don’t actually speak to anyone, it still does wonders for your mood and makes you expand your perspective. It’s so easy when you’re stuck home all day to laser focus in on your life and forget that there’s still a big wide world out there!
Next week we’ll be looking at how you can stay physically active when working from home or self-isolating.
This December I’ll be launching a Winter Wellbeing group programme, which will run for 3 months and I’ll be teaching you exactly how you can thrive this Winter. This group will also be a brilliant form of support, accountability and community! If you’re keen to find out more please CLICK HERE and email or call to register your interest.