The impact of COVID19 and managing your mental health

27 April 2020 | Anoop Sodhi

The impact of Covid-19 has had an incredible impact on the world, resulting in huge uncertainties for many people.  People are in fear of their lives as well as their jobs and finances. This alone can be mentally straining and stressful therefore how can we cope with the pressure of an uncertain future?

Firstly, what everyone needs to understand is that we are all in this together and that everyone is affected by Covid-19.  Some can cope and understand why we are all either working from home or socially distancing ourselves from our colleagues, others will find the change extremely upsetting to their daily routine and stressful. 

What is stress and what causes it?

Stress is a body’s reaction to a negative change in a person’s life. Our bodies react to life situations very differently and when negative, unexpected situation arises we all respond very differently.  Some can cope whereas others may feel completely lost, under pressure and having very little control over the dilemma. The impact of stress may result into temporary (or long term) mental health problems and emotional turmoil.  Overloading on Covid-19 news and the increasing number of deaths is extremely alarming and can lead to panic attacks and sleepless nights. 

What can an employer do to help during these uncertain times? 

Talk to your employees. Get your employees to open up and talk about the virus and to share their concerns. A lot of employees are working from home, this does not mean that you cannot talk to your manager if you are anxious about Covid-19. Managers are available to listen and to provide some practical answers, this could be on a phone call or face to face via Teams/Zoom.  Some organisations offer an employee assistance program (telephone support) whereby staff can talk to a trained person about their mental health.  Other businesses are encouraging managers to gather useful information on the internet about ways to stay positive online to share with their teams. 

There are reputable organisations (via websites) who have shared their ideas on ways to handle stress. Practical tips on mental health include ‘stress busters’ such as exercising at home.  Exercising can help reduce tension and stress whilst releasing positive mental endorphins. Exercise can also help with confidence and may help employee to sleep better.   There are various internet exercise groups endorsed by well known sport officials encouraging the nation to work out during these tough times. 

Healthy eating is also another good option to explore with your employee.  Healthy Eating is key. A well balance diet and getting the right nutrients to stay healthy is fundamental.   

And finally keeping positive.  Try not to think about the fear and panic surrounding Covid-19. Disengage from regular news feeds on Covid-19 and focus on the positives around you. This will encourage good mental health.

If this article raises any questions, please contact us on 01455852028.

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With over 20 years experience in HR, Hema draws her expert specialist knowledge from a broad range of industries, including employment advisory and consultancy services, retail, manufacturing and leisure. Being MCIPD qualified enables her to quickly understand how organisations operate, how to interact with their business leaders and to deliver effective commercial and practical solutions.

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Jill has over 14 years’ experience in HR & Training. Having started a career as a police officer; she changed careers to HR & Training dealing with Equality & Diversity in the workplace. Jill is passionate about Diversity, Inclusion and HR and has supported companies in managing their HR and training needs. She has a wealth of expertise across HR, dealing with challenging casework, company restructure projects, mediation, training, organisational development systems; equality and diversity.

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Jatinder is qualified non-practising Solicitor, he has over 22 years advisory experience in Employment law, HR matters and Employment Tribunal litigation. He manages the legal and HR advice line team ensuring the delivery of advice is effective verbally and in correspondence. He has experience in training and coaching work colleagues in all aspects of legal and employment matters. With his sound understanding of issues arising with in the workplace environment, Jatinder aims to deliver clear and concise client focussed advice.

Anoop Sodhi

HR Employment Relations Advisor

Anoop is an experienced HR Advisor and is part of the Telephone Advice Line Team. Anoop has worked in both the public and private sector, providing Employment Law advice ranging from grievances, disciplinaries, performance management, attendance management and mediation. Anoop is a trained mediator and provides down to earth, pragmatic, commercial advice. Outside of work, Anoop actively participates as a CIPD Board Member of East Midlands.

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