For many of us, we’ve had to completely change our working, living, and social habits. Morning routines that we never even had to think about were turned upside down in March with the work-from-home mandate. What was once a morning commute we never really thought about has become a distant memory.
Looking after your mental health during coronavirus is just as important as looking after your physical health. Checking in with yourself and your mental health should be something you do daily, like washing your hands and wearing a mask. Your physical and mental wellbeing deserve to be cared for – especially while working during these challenging times.
Evaluate your remote working setup
You may have been remote working for months now, or perhaps you’ve started a new job from home, or maybe you’ve just come off of furlough. Whatever your situation, and however long you’ve been doing it for, it’s important to evaluate if your work-from-home situation is as good as it could be.
Consider what you most enjoyed about your workspace pre-coronavirus. Are you missing social interaction – chatting to your colleague while boiling the kettle for your morning cup of tea? Are you finding you end up mostly sat on the sofa rather than that adjustable desk in your office? Do you miss your morning train journey with the hustle and bustle of other commuters?
Make a list of everything you liked pre-coronavirus. Consider how you’ve adapted since. Could you do more to make your everyday better?
Make time for video chats
If you’re missing socialising with your coworkers over lunch or when doing the tea-run, why not suggest a video tea-break with a few colleagues – you’re likely not the only one who misses those chats!
Reach out to colleagues and set up times to video call, whether over lunch or for a quick chat during the day. Five minutes hearing about someone’s weekend can brighten your day just as much as theirs. Maybe you can even suggest a virtual quiz, book club or other activity that can be done from home.
Create social channels
If you haven’t already, talk to your coworkers or employer about setting up a social channel – whether through messenger, Slack or your company’s Intranet. Have a space to share the little random things you’re all experiencing that you would normally share in person. Photos of your pet, what you’re baking (another sourdough experiment gone wild!), what you did at the weekend, your home-working woes – create a virtual community space for sharing.
Check-in on your coworkers too. Encourage one another to drop little hello messages to make sure no one is feeling too alone. You never know how someone’s mental health is doing, and checking-in is just one thing you can do to help one another.
Structure your day
When you can roll out of bed and reach the desk it can be really hard to create and stick to a routine. But this is one of the most important things you can do for your mental health.
Pre-pandemic, perhaps you cycled to work, took the bus and read a book, or walked and listened to a podcast. Now, the distance between your “office” and your duvet might be less than a metre.
The further from your pre-pandemic routine you get, the more isolated you may feel and the more your days begin to blur and it’s much easier to feel detached from reality.
Be sure to structure your day. Set up a wake-up time (and not ten minutes before you start work) and stick to it. Give yourself time to get dressed and do something you enjoy before you sit down to work – whether that’s going for a run, reading, or making a really hearty breakfast!
Take regular breaks. Stand up and walk around. Go outside and get some exercise. Take a lunch break away from your screen. At the end of the day, turn off your work device and walk away from it – don’t keep working just because you’re at home and you can.
Finally, don’t work in your pyjamas! No matter how cosy and comfy they are, they will only pull you further away from reality.
It’s okay to be struggling
If you’re struggling with your work from home situation, it’s okay. This is a really challenging time – don’t be hard on yourself. Acknowledge your feelings, talk them through with trusted friends and family, write down what you’re finding most difficult and consider if there are changes you can make that will help. It may be something you can discuss with your employer to find a better structure that works for you – be honest with them about how your remote working situation is.
Talking through your experience is one of the most rewarding things you can do for your mental wellbeing. If you’d like to speak to a counsellor, click here to find one in your area.
There are numerous pros and cons of online therapy and face-to-face in-person talking therapy. As more and more of us have taken on a virtual lifestyle filled with Zoom pub quizzes and Google Hangout work meetings, talk therapy has had to take a similar turn.
We spoke to Elizabeth, a young professional who started therapy during the UK’s Lockdown back in the Spring of this year, and then began seeing her counsellor face-to-face when lockdown restrictions were lifted later in the year. Below, Elizabeth discusses her personal experience of counselling online and in person.
The Zoom experience
Elizabeth found that starting counselling on Zoom during lockdown “felt quite natural”.
“Everything was going onto Zoom – everything was becoming “zoomified”! I think I might have found it more awkward before lockdown.”
Elizabeth had been to a couple of counsellors previously in person, so she somewhat knew what to expect, however she found the experience to be quite different.
“I think things like showing emotion – there’s just a lot of information you can gather about someone from being in the same room as them. My counsellor would only see me from my shoulders up. Maybe the lighting was bad, maybe I wasn’t wearing makeup, so maybe I came across differently than how I would if I’d had to physically go to the counsellors office.”
Elizabeth explained that she felt that her energy, her style – the way she presented herself didn’t come across the same way over Zoom, and she felt that her therapist might miss things about her.
“But at the end of the day, what I’m saying to her is the most important thing, not how I look.”
The difficulties of vulnerability over Zoom
Counselling is a two way street, so being able to have that emotional connection is really important. With Zoom, that’s not impossible, but it can be more challenging.
“It was good to be able to have counselling over Zoom from the perspective that if I was having a bad mental health day, I could see my therapist and it wasn’t much effort… Being in your own space, not flustered or rushed by having to get there on time was a positive.”
However, Elizabeth expressed that she struggled to fully open up to her counsellor over zoom. “When you’re in that private soundproofed office, it’s a very different feeling to being in your own flat! I was very aware of the people around me. When I was in lockdown, I was sharing a really small flat with my ex, so finding somewhere that was private was a challenge. The thing with therapy that’s so important is knowing you can say anything and it will stay between you and your therapist.”
“In lockdown, with my ex, things were a bit toxic, so I wasn’t taking myself out of the toxic environment to do therapy. The time I was most able to be honest about my relationship with my therapist was when I was able to be out of that flat to speak to my therapist.”
Moving to counselling IRL
So how was the transition from regular online counselling to in person face-to-face counselling after restrictions eased? “Nervewracking!”
“I was suddenly worried about what I was going to wear for meeting my therapist in person. I’d been speaking to her for three months and then I was nervous to meet her! Obviously, it’s a professional dynamic, and when I met her in person we talked about the fact that we hadn’t met eachother in person. She said it was good to meet me in person because she could see new sides of me.”
Elizabeth said that in the past some therapists had commented on her confidence when she met them, but that hadn’t translated over Zoom.
“I was glad to see more of my counsellor. I was able to see her style, how she decorates her office – it felt suddenly more personalised. With Zoom, it could sometimes feel a bit automated.”
Would you choose Zoom in the future?
With Covid-19 still causing lockdowns and various restrictions all across the UK, counselling online is becoming the norm. Elizabeth says that at the moment since therapy is available as a face-to-face option for her, she’s enjoying being able to actively leave the house and physically go to her counselling sessions.
“At the moment because I’m working from home and most activities are closed, therapy is something I get to do. It’s a place I can go to get out of my home. I get to make a day of it, have a bit of a “me” day, like grab a coffee and cake and have a good excuse to get out.”
Therapy through lockdown
Elizabeth tells us that during lockdown she went through a huge journey in herself. “In the UK, there were two versions of lockdown: the people who lost their jobs, or people like me who got to work from home and my responsibility was just to stay at home. So I had a lot of extra time to work on myself, like leaving a relationship. My therapist has been a huge part of that and she’s been really really amazing through it.”
Elizabeth also encourages anyone who has tried therapy or wants to try therapy that “shopping around” for a therapist is really important. “If you feel like you aren’t getting each other, then don’t stay. I had a counsellor once who wasn’t really asking me things, wasn’t really getting me to the level I wanted to get to, so I decided to change therapist at that point. So don’t be afraid to try new counsellors! Ultimately, go with your gut.”
With Talk and Grow our goal is to make the process of finding a therapist an easy process. We connect you with qualified counsellors and therapists in your area, and make sure to support your needs the best we can. Get matched here.
You may have heard of counselling or therapy. You might have a vague understanding of it from popular culture, or know someone who’s been to counselling – or maybe you’ve seen a counsellor before and would like to look at seeing a counsellor again.
We’re here to share the joy of counselling, for everyone. No matter your history, no matter what you’re feeling, we meet you where you’re at. Let’s talk about counselling.
So, what is counselling exactly?
Counselling is a form of talking therapy. It’s a safe and confidential space for you to talk (and, ultimately, grow!) with a trained professional about any issues or worries you’re facing. Your counsellor will help you to explore your thoughts and feelings – they don’t provide medication, and they’re not here to “give you an answer”. They’ll help you to find your own solutions to overcome or better manage the issues you’re facing.
Counselling takes on many forms depending on your needs. After your first session, a counsellor will likely discuss creating a plan with you to tackle whatever it is you are facing. Most counselling sessions are regular, with the same counsellor – which is why it is so important to find a counsellor and form of counselling that works best for you. Find out more here about how we match you to the right “fit” for you.
What will happen?
Regular counselling sessions are usually under an hour. You can book in to see your counsellor regularly, and agree on a suitable schedule with them.
You may see a counsellor on your own, in a group, as a couple or as a family. You might arrange for counselling in person at an office, clinic, or home, or you might talk to your counsellor on the phone.
Counsellors won’t give you a checklist to tick that will instantly make you feel better. Instead, they will help you to uncover insight into your own problems, arming you with tools to help you find your own solutions. You’ll get the best results if you’re honest with your counsellor and build a good relationship with them where you feel safe sharing your experiences.
What can counselling help with?
Counselling is for everyone. Let us repeat that.
Counselling. Is. For. Everyone.
Don’t ever feel like your problem is too big or too small or your feelings aren’t valid. Speaking to a professional can be an incredibly freeing opportunity – a chance to speak to someone with an objective viewpoint who can help to guide you to an understanding or solution.
Commonly, counselling can be an opportunity to address things such as grief and bereavement, bullying, addiction, illness, mental health, trauma, relationships, anxiety, stress, and so so much more.
Is counselling right for me?
If you are looking to understand yourself, solve problems, cope with your mental health, speak to an unbiased professional – then the answer is yes.
Finding a counsellor shouldn’t be a daunting process. We’ve taken the stress out of finding a counsellor, with our 3 step system that helps to match you to a local counsellor suitable for your needs.
Ready to begin your counselling journey? Click here to start.