Seven tips to help support your mental wellbeing during COVID-19
In our latest guest blog, Miranda Pearce, Co-founder of SkinViva Academy and Clinic, shares her seven top tips to help practitioners maintain their mental wellbeing during the current pandemic.
It is very likely that you’ve experienced one or more of the following emotions during the last three weeks: anxiety about you or a family member or friend catching Coronavirus (COVID-19), a lack of motivation to market your aesthetic business during this time; guilt that you’re unable to go back to the front line to support your colleagues; worry over the closure of your practice and the long-term impact of this; and self-judgement that you’re not baking as much banana bread and home-schooling your kids as well as everyone else online!
Whether you’re back on the NHS front line, or home-schooling the kids in isolation, the sheer rate of change in our lives is bound to affect even the most resolute among us.
The first thing to say however is that it is ok to feel uneasy during this period. It does us no good judging ourselves for feeling worried and overwhelmed as this is something shared by many people. The mind-set trick we must pull off though, if we want to emerge from the pandemic with our sanity intact, is how to stand back up when things are incredibly tough around us.
Here are my seven tips for maintaining your mental and emotional wellbeing during COVID-19:
1. Be kind to yourself
During this unprecedented time it is completely normal to feel unsure, uncertain and worried. Don’t be hard on yourself and understand that these are completely normal feelings felt the world over. It is ok to take a moment to compose yourself and also be kind to yourself. Imagine that a family member or friend was feeling the same way. What would you say to them to offer reassurance? It is highly likely that you would be compassionate, hear them out, and set about trying to find a solution, this doesn’t have to be any different for yourself. If you need to take a ‘moment’ during the day when things get a bit too much don’t be hard on yourself.
A good way to manage this is to quietly acknowledge that you’re in a bad state and send yourself some compassion. You can also make small changes to your physiology, which can really help refocus your mind and body such as putting your shoulders back, doing some light stretching or standing up off the sofa to help you feel good mentality. Even these tiny adjustments can help to feel like you have made progress and allowed you to keep some control. Why not walk to and from the ward if you’re at work, or if you’re at home take some time to focus in on a task such as tidying up your working area.
2. Get on the front foot
Our aesthetics businesses are not broken – they’re just in a construction phase. This is your golden opportunity to take the kind of actions you’ve been saying you didn’t have time for months or even years.
Build your website, start doing social media live sessions about skincare, file your client photos in name order, watch one of the many free webinars available (my husband Dr Tim Pearce does a brilliant webinar about how to overcome complications anxiety: www.drtimcomplications.com/webinar) amongst many other positive and focused tasks. Whatever you do, makes sure that you do something to maintain your connection with aesthetics.
Ensuring you have a comprehensive up to date business plan that accounts for as many eventualities as possible is now also more important than ever. Read more about the importance of a business plan.
3. Protect your ‘me time’ like a tiger
When I say ‘me time’ this is a little different than a spa day or manicure – as clearly this isn’t something we will be doing any time soon.
However, carving out at least two minutes of calm in your day can really help your outlook. Whether it be meditating, journaling, reading, having a bath, or even just a coffee without the weight of the world on you, all are positive steps to support your wellbeing, and take some of the pressure off.
4. Know your triggers
Don’t forget that you are not a bad person if you choose to stay away from the news and the parts of social media that do not serve you well during COVID-19.
It is so incredibly easy during these times to struggle with worries surrounding the pandemic especially due to the sheer amount of media coverage it has each day. Yes, by all means stay informed, but you can adequately do that by checking your news app just once a day, either in the morning or evening, to ensure that you receive all the importance information you need but reduce any additional anxiety.
5. Focus on your actions
As Nelson Mandela famously said, ‘Resentment is like drinking poison and hoping it will kill your enemies’. Social media can be a force of good but it can also highlight issues and behaviours that you don’t agree with. By all means campaign for things you don’t think are right, but try not to involve yourself unnecessarily with other people’s negative actions.
Likewise, I’ve been seeing a lot of clinicians expressing guilty for not being able to go back to the NHS. But, you feeling bad because you can’t help on the front line does not help your colleagues on the front line! Guilt makes your primitive brain feel that it’s in control, but the opposite is true. It just makes you feel awful, and helps no one.
Instead, try to focus on what you can control and how you can help out your colleagues. For example you could help support PPE sourcing, offer to Zoom-school your colleagues’ kids for an hour a day, or send them hand-written thank you notes.
Finally, this is the time to come together as one. No matter how much or little you can do your actions are still providing vital support to those who need it. Your colleagues will be dealing with their own challenges and no one will be questioning whether your contribution is enough. Use the time you have to become an all-round better person, better colleague, better friend, and better practitioner to the benefit of everyone. This is your ultimate contribution to the world – let’s get to it.
6. Remember who you truly are
You have survived some bad times in the past, haven’t you?
You will get through this too, and, if you give this period an empowering meaning like ‘I am a survivor, and I can do this’, your mind-set will be all the stronger afterwards too.
7. If in doubt, dance!
During a time of worry and uncertainty sometimes the best thing you can do is smile, laugh and… dance. It may sound silly but how many times have you felt a bit ‘meh’ at a wedding or night out (admittedly in the past for most of us!) and your friend has forced you to get up on the dancefloor, only for you to instantly forget what you were worried about. Make sure to do something that makes you happy, catch up with friends and family and support one another as much as possible.
So, crack out your favourite tune and shake away the blues. Don’t forget we are all in this together, and things will eventually get better.