Testgrid's Mental Health Self-Care Tips

Our resilience is currently being tested during Lockdown 5.0. We are very fortunate to work for an organisation where we are told ‘it’s alright not to be alright’ and encouraged to bring our honest and whole selves to work.

While we are mindful that stress affects everyone differently, and that no single stress-management strategy will work for 100% of people, we asked our team at Testgrid to contribute a self-care tip that is working well for them – in the hopes that one or more of these will be useful for you.

We have collated their responses & here’s what Team Testgrid had to say:

  • Classic escapism through film: Watching a movie I really love and can become completely absorbed in, to give my brain a ‘break from the real world’ for a few hours.

  • My big self-care tip is to differentiate physical distancing from mental distancing: I am big on keeping in touch / reaching out to others to start an open conversation.

  • Cooking! Provides relaxation and a mental break from everything else that’s going on.

  • Having a shower in the morning (I would every day if I was going to work so why not now?), attacking my work early in the morning (my brain works better at 7am and I have fewer interruptions), playing with the kids later in the afternoon.

  • Meditation / self-reflection: Getting up an hour earlier than anyone else in the house and trying to calm the internal dialogue in my mind. I sit for an hour and just ignore the thoughts and then get to the really important feelings and truths and just process them. It takes about 60 days of consistency to get through the “inbox” in your head built up over the years but after a while calmness and being centred happens a lot easier. Just keep trying every day – consistency and patience is the key, like all things.

  • Using a meditation app daily – I like Insight Timer and Smiling Mind.

  • Games – whether it’s board games, Words With Friends, or shooting zombies!

  • It helps me to keep to a routine similar to what I used to do when I went to work. Get up at a similar time and use the time saved by not traveling to get some chores done, or go for a walk. I then don’t get distracted throughout the day by seeing dirty dishes in the sink or thinking I need to get up and exercise. I have also tackled some projects around the house that give me a real sense of achievement when I complete them.

  • Trying to be kind to everyone: It is OK for them to be under pressure as well, don’t unnecessarily make it worse (even if you are right!)

  • Getting some fresh air and sun through exercise helps, and I recommend finding the exercise that works best for YOU. Being in lockdown can prompt feelings of guilt around being less active than usual, but this is when we need to be kind to ourselves, and not expect HIIT workout miracles to occur without a gym. The most important thing is to enjoy it – maybe it’s a fast-paced or gentle walk, online yoga video, living room dance session (wine optional), or some days you might feel motivated to go for a run or find different household objects for weight lifting. It’s about setting time aside to just move your body and enjoy it.

  • Not feeling bad about bingeing tv (I enjoy it; doesn’t matter if other people see it as a waste of time when I could be cultivating my new cabbage patch).

  • Cold showers: Start warm and over time build up to longer cooler showers. Research shows that it releases endorphins, improves circulation, boosts metabolism and can even help fight colds.

  • I suggest planning something to look forward to. In lockdown, sometimes we need to go out of our way to create enjoyable experiences – make weekend plans inside your home and stick to them like you would with normal plans. Cook a roast for Christmas in July, plan a family movies & nachos night, board games & afternoon tea, take an online art gallery tour, plan a painting day, turn each room in the house into a different bar and there you have it – a bar crawl!

  • Creating some sort of tangible barrier between work and home – particularly at the end of the day, whether it’s covering up and packing away my work area, changing clothes (/trackies/PJs) or shoes, lighting a candle, or putting on different music.

  • Start a project: A great way to build self-confidence is by achieving something, even if it’s small. Knit a cardigan, learn guitar using YouTube videos, re-vamp the backyard, start an online business, start a cooking blog, write a song, do an online course, or even just read a book!

  • I find any form of daily ritual, routine or structure can feel comforting when working from home: I set my alarm for the same time each day, take the dog for a walk, and make myself a morning coffee and check emails.

And to close on a word of advice:

Lower your expectations of yourself. You are literally living through a pandemic. Do not expect yourself to be exactly as happy/sociable/focused/efficient as you were pre-pandemic. Being hard on yourself will only make you feel worse – you are already doing a great job ?

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