Business guide to Coronavirus

Building resilience and finding relaxation

Your mental health is very much like your physical health when it comes to building and maintaining it. While we continue to work in restricted circumstance thanks to COVID-19, it’s important we keep the maintenance front of mind and build resilience. 

Boring as it may sound but diet plays a key part in maintaining your mental health. The same goes for booze – moderation is very much the word. Alcohol may make you feel warm and fuzzy for a few hours, but it’s a depressive.  

Exercise is another one that’s pretty darn obvious and there are plenty of ways to get it. Go for a walk or a play with your dog.  

Okay, let’s move on to a few points that are a little less obvious: 

1. It’s about the little things. Whether it’s a coffee with a friend (virtual now!), a little longer shower than normal or just sitting in the sun, we all have little things we love to do and often take for granted. 

But when life gets busy, these things are often the first to go. Really, they should be the things that you never let go. Value your small relaxations as they are the foundation stones of your mental health. 

2. Relationships keep you grounded and happy. Treat friendships and love like gold. They will help ward off depression and anxiety when you’re well and help you fight mental illness when you aren’t.  

3. Your mind needs relaxation as much as your body. There are a lot of little tricks and apps you can find nowadays, so you have no excuse for living with a frazzled mind. As for not having enough time, forget it. Most of these exercises can be done in five minutes. 

But here’s the thing: they don’t work anywhere near as well if you leave it until your mind is frazzled to do them. Try and get a little routine happening and do it daily. Here’s a great start: 

  • Belly breathing. Sit down with your back comfortably straight, your feet on the ground and your hands on your thighs. Now take a big slow breath (say over four seconds) so you fill your lungs. Now hold it for another four seconds before exhaling slowly. Do it again. And again. And again. After five minutes you will feel so relaxed, you’ll wonder why you’ve never done this before.  
  • Mindfulness. You can do mindfulness with any of your senses, but let’s talk about using your eyes for this exercise. Go outside and find a tree to look at (or anything for that matter). Now stop thinking and start looking. Check out the bark, the branches, the leaves, the birds and so on and so on. Really focus.

    The point isn’t to become an expert on trees. The point is to kick your mind into neutral for a little while. You see, while you’re doing this your mind can’t be running off worrying about the big meeting you have next week or the fight you had with your partner last week. You’re just, as they say, “in the moment” and that can be a very relaxing place to be.

    Do this for three minutes and your brain will feel like it’s just been driven off the showroom floor. 

4. Diarise it. Even the best intentions have a way of turning into too much work or too much booze and couch time. And both of which that can be harmful to your mental health. So, get your diary out and mark out some time for worthwhile rest and relaxation. 

 

My Business is on hand with a range of resources to help businesses navigate this difficult time, with practical advice and information to help you develop strategies to maintain and sustain. Visit our resource hub to find out more. 

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of My Business. 

David Westgate

Mental Health Speaker, Westgate & Friends

David has worked in advertising for nearly 40 years. He has managed multi-national clients, creative departments and runs his own agency. David has achieved all of this while suffering from a rollercoaster-like mental illness known as bipolar 1.

How can we help?

My Business has a range of resources on how to prepare yourself and your business during this time.

Already a member? Get started.