I think we can all agree, it’s been a challenging time for most people in 2020, and with talk of more lockdowns on the horizon, how is everyone coping with staying “mentally fit”? I have never had a role where working from home was an option, so it was all a bit alien to me.
I’ll start by saying that this is not a fail-safe list of answers. I do not suffer from any form of mental illness or depression, however, I have certainly struggled from time to time during the months of lockdown and general restrictions of our “normal” (what even is normal now?) way of life. Personally, my usual release from the stresses of day to day life is sports, I love to play and watch anything and it’s my go-to for a quick break and reset (much to my wife’s annoyance!). So, with everything cancelled I found myself searching for different ways to keep mentally and physically fit. So, what worked and where did I go wrong.
Firstly, I think having a schedule and sticking to it is hugely important. I certainly didn’t do this at the start of lockdown, I’d talk about going for a run or having a break, but something would come up at work and I’d shelve or forget about it. After a while, though I started to make sure I priortised my runs and felt that I benefitted both from the actual break and the physical exercise.
Whilst running was helping, I was still missing the competitive element of sports that I craved. I needed to find a new hobby that I could embrace in a lockdown environment. I found this in Chess!! Whilst I have always been able to play chess, it certainly wasn’t something I ever took up with much enthusiasm, much to the disappointment of my father, who plays a lot and very well. He invited me to play in his weekly Tuesday evening chess club night which was being held online. There was a mixture of standards that helped and I felt myself improving and enjoying the competition.
So far, I feel like I’m getting there, I’ve got:
· Planning my days and sticking to it
· Doing some physical exercise
· Finding a new competitive hobby
The final one for me was really just a mindset change and it involves my family. I have a one-year-old son and I told myself that this is a one-off moment (hopefully) in my life where I get to be with him and see him develop in a way that would not have been possible previously. Taking five mins here and there to see him splash in the paddling pool, take his first steps or dig up our flower beds is something that I’ll cherish and laugh to myself about forever.
I’m still tinkering and finding ways of improving but the above has been a good base on which to build something lasting and sustainable.
How have you managed? Let me know what has worked for you?
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