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This year’s Mental Health Awareness week theme is kindness and it got me thinking about how we can be kind to each other and ourselves during this time of crisis.
Working from home has been a very strange time for everyone, some people have adapted very well and others are finding it harder, which is fine.
I asked my colleagues to give me one tip or trick they have implemented in lockdown to make sure they are being kind to themselves or others with the hope that it will help others during this hard time.
Megan Lloyd, PR consultant, East Sussex – iPhone screen downtime is a gamechanger
Downtime seems to have become a thing of the past during the Covid-19 crisis, people assume that because we can’t go anywhere, we are available at all times of the day (and night).
Something that I have learned recently is screen downtime on iPhone. I don’t want to be dramatic, but it has changed my life. I have my work phone on downtime mode from 7pm-9pm most nights (there are some exceptions).
This restricts the apps I can use and gives me time to actually switch off from work, and it has helped me get that much needed downtime. This is a kindness I need to be able to continue to be productive at work and stay healthy.
Mike Richards, director of Capital City Media, Epsom – using commuting time elsewhere
I have gained almost three hours of commuting time. In the morning, instead of my morning commute, I walk (too old to run) for an hour and a half wishing I knew more about nature other than pigeons, sparrows and dodos being the only birds I can identify.
Instead of the evening commute I am reading. I have just finished “Where is Spot?” – a disappointing ending – Agatha Christie perhaps could have used the washing basket as a vehicle to hide bodies.
I have also been able to use my spare time to listen to more free podcasts – especially vintage sitcoms and history documentaries on the BBC and sports programmes on my Süddeutsche Zeitung App.
Edmund Greaves, Mouthy Money co-editor, Balham – transcribing poetry
Like many others I have found the experience of lockdown and homeworking to have put me in a position where it feels difficult to switch off. I live in a one-bed flat in south London so there’s about two metres distance between my office (the dining table) and my leisure space (the sofa). It makes it hard to define the boundaries.
While I do partake in the usual methods of switching off – listening to music, playing a video game, watching TV, or even a jigsaw with the girlfriend (wild I know!) these activities can become a bit tiresome if you do them over and over again for months on end.
So I’ve taken up a new hobby: writing down my favourite poetry. I started by buying a cheap fountain pen, the kind that leaves ink blotches all over my hand (I’m left-handed), and digging out an old notebook that I had lying around that belonged to my mum.
First I wrote down poems I knew, but those ran out after a while and now I’m scouring through books and the internet for new ones. It has been an enormously educating and cathartic experience to shut the modern world out and just scribble away.
Helena Jones, PR consultant, Berkshire – fitness goals
Like many of those working remotely, I’ve struggled with the ‘mental cut-off’ at the end of each day. What started off as the odd glass of wine to wind down soon turned into a nightly habit, and I knew this would become an unhealthy – and expensive! – one to keep.
So, I decided to cut out the booze and force myself onto post-work runs to blow off steam instead. I’ve now set myself the challenge of getting into the best shape I can by the time we return to the office, which has meant saving money for better times too.
Having that small element of control over what’s happening has worked wonders for my mental wellbeing.
Paul Beadle, Mouthy Money publishing director, Chipping Norton – phoning my kids
Strange as it may seem, as a result of lockdown I am speaking to my children more often. They’ve both been furloughed in London, so money has been a bit of a worry. I used to visit them regularly but now I’ve gone old skool – phoning them on a weekly basis.
We just shoot the breeze for half an hour, talking about their life, my life, coronavirus and what’s on Netflix. It has been a revelatory and calming experience. It takes me back to when my mum was alive and I’d call her every Sunday morning.
Silly as it sounds, chatting is much more rewarding than texting. We even had four-way Facebook Messenger video call the other week for my son’s 21st birthday.
When we get back to normal I shall continue with the phone calls, not just because it saves me money – and my waistline – from eating out with the kids, but because it’s actually brought me closer to them and makes me feel happier that they’re ok.
Megan is a PR consultant living and working in London. She is learning how to manage her money the hard way – by talking about it.