The Value of Mindset: How To Maintain a Healthy Mindset In Challenging Times

During the coronavirus pandemic, one positive that has come about is that different industries, communities and companies have come together to share experiences, share knowledge and support one another in unprecedented ways.

 

This support has taken many forms and has been required for many reasons. One of these has been to support the mental wellbeing of your friends, colleagues and employees. This is because COVID-19 has not only affected the physical health of people across the UK but has also affected our mental health as well.

 

In the spirit of support and collaboration, we have created a platform whereby our candidates and clients can share their experiences of lockdown and thus support each other through this difficult time – we have called it The Value of Mindset.

In our latest blog, our clients shared what they have been doing to try and maintain a positive and healthy mindset during the lockdown.

 

A positive mindset in lockdown

 

Maintaining a positive and healthy mindset during the recent lockdown has been essential. It has been a stressful and strange time and measures have been taken that have drastically affected how we live our lives. It is understandable that it would have a potentially negative effect on our collective mental health.

 

For some people, talking about mental health issues can be difficult but getting to know your own needs is an important step in maintaining a positive mindset.

 

There are several benefits associated with positive mental wellbeing such as reducing stress levels and anxiety, improving moods, gaining clearer thinking, increasing self-esteem and improving relationships.

 

Coping strategies are healthy ways people use that are good for our wellbeing in the long term. So, what are the three main coping strategies that our clients employed during lockdown?

 

1. Maintaining routines

 

Finding and sticking to a regular daily routine has many benefits as it can help you feel level, means that you feel in control when other aspects of your life are disrupted and stops you from falling into bad habits.

 

Avoiding sleep deprivation is a key part of this and is often achieved if you have good habits during the day and a consistent schedule. Maintaining a regular bedtime, taking time to wind down after work and avoiding caffeine and alcohol late at night are all important factors.

 

When asked about achieving a positive mindset, our clients had a lot to say about maintaining routines:

 

Stuart Beeley Headteacher at Wellington School in Trafford – “I have tried to maintain my usual routine during lockdown, which includes going into school most days and I have also been conscious of maintaining an effective sleep pattern, so I am fresh and alert. In addition to this, I have made more time than usual for those ‘escapist’ activities; exercise and reading for pleasure – primarily, activities where you can find the appropriate ‘head space’ and just switch off.”

 

Stephen Clarke MD & Owner of Trade Together –  “I have maintained a structured timetable so I start the working day at the same time I would pre-lockdown.”

 

Andy Hall, Aftermarket Director from Groupe PSA – “I have been focused on a routine that has included daily exercise to maintain a clear mind and positive mindset. This was difficult previously due to my daily commute.”

 

Judith Hutton, HR Director at Pure Innovations – “I have made sure I have had regular exercise, plenty of health food, kept hydrated, gone to bed and woken up at sensible times and had a structured daily routine.”

 

Les Leavitt FCCA, Managing Partner, LWA Chartered Certified Accountants – “I have encouraged all team members to keep to a work routine to ensure they can separate work and home life, which is incredibly important for their wellbeing.”

 

2. Exercising more

 

During lockdown, it has undoubtedly been important to find ways to exercise whenever you can. Not only does this keep you fit and healthy but it is also a productive way to use your time.

Evidence also shows that exercise can make you happier which is something we all need help with! Researchers from Yale & Oxford found that healthy exercise is better than healthy finances when it comes to happiness as physically active people feel just as good as those who don’t do sports but who earn about $25,000 more a year. The same study found that three-to-five exercise sessions a week (lasting between 30 to 60 minutes) has the ideal happiness-boosting effect.

So, what did our clients say about exercise?

Simon Jackson, CEO, Frontier Medical Group – “I have always been pretty active and while the lockdown has presented some challenges, I have been committed to maintaining exercise as I believe the link between health and mindset is huge.”

Karen Adegoke, Corporate Director, Bollington Insurance Brokers Limited – “Doing one form of exercise every day has really helped me to maintain my structure.”

Neil Ejje, Founding Partner, Leathwaite – “I’ve definitely done more exercise during lockdown as for me, the correlation between exercise and positive mindset is massive. Lack of exercise leads to negative thoughts and feeling overwhelmed both in terms of general mental well-being and sense of burden around the business.”

 

3. Maintaining balance

 

People who have been working from home or who have been furloughed have no doubt been enjoying being at home more but have also experienced the inescapable draw of the fridge and biscuit tin. A healthy diet can work wonders on your mental health but maintaining balance is so much more than just eating apples.

Finding balance also means finding time in amongst work to switch off, enjoy quality family time and have time for life admin tasks as well.

Harmonising these things helps you to avoid feeling overwhelmed and thus helps to create a more positive and balanced mindset.

How have our clients found balance during lockdown?

Huw Jenkins, UK Divisional COO, Leidos – “I have found that I have become more structured and organised, so I have a clear schedule for work, helping around the house, home schooling and also time for some fun with my wife and 3 boys. I think I have probably created a better all-round balance which was easy to forget or ignore pre-lockdown.”

Darren Goodson, Principal Enterprise Architect, AstraZeneca – “My working days at the start of lockdown soon became longer and with no commute, it can become easier to work constantly. I found that taking regular breaks, getting fresh air in the garden and getting up to make drinks is really important for achieving balance. I’ve even fostered a dog!”

Raman Sankaran, CEO, VDS – “Personally, I have strived to ensure there is a distinction between work time and family time while working from home, to maintain balance and a structure to my day.”

 

Summary

It is fair to say 2020 has been dominated by lockdown. Whilst challenging times will always happen, one standout element of lockdown is that it’s a challenge we all have had to deal with at the same time.

However, throughout life, many of us face difficulties that have to be dealt with and overcome individually, and the principles of this blog apply in that same scenario.

As the country emerges from lockdown, it is important we all try to maintain the same habits that got us through it – balance, exercise and structure are all incredibly important.

This is because some of us may now find life slightly more difficult in this grey zone post-lockdown. When we were in full lockdown the same rules applied to everyone. Now, each of us may be experiencing different things and have personal comfort levels.

Acknowledging this, managing it and continuing to prioritise a healthy mindset is essential if we are to get to the end of 2020 in a positive way.