With the second lockdown already upon us, it presents uncertain times for us all, and with more than nine million of us expected to be placed on temporary leave or 'furloughed' due to COVID-19, this may create even greater challenges in relation to your mental health.
It is important to take care of your wellbeing during this time with support from your employer.
What impact could being furloughed have on your wellbeing?
Being furloughed might represent an opportunity for taking a break from working in challenging conditions – but you may also face some challenges during this time.
The most common of these being feeling that daily life lacks structure or a routine – often which you would find while being at work. This could potentially lead to a decrease in your levels of self-esteem. In the short-term, you may have financial concerns due to your income being reduced or longer-term fears of being redundant.
Having too much time to think about the current situation may increase feelings of isolation and loneliness and may trigger new mental health problems or make existing ones worse.
Here are some steps you can take to cope with these potential changes:
- Establish a routine/timetable
This is something that your employer may also be able to help you with – creating a routine plan or timetable can help plan your time while on furlough and provide structure to your work week. This well help you from feeling lost through the day and help you focus on any goals that you have.
- Focus on your personal development
Online training courses to achieve personal goals or reach new heights professionally can help you feel more motivated and boost your self-esteem. There is an array of sources available for personal development online, such as YouTube, ‘The Skills Toolkit’ and ‘The Open University’ offers hundreds of free courses.
- Collaborate with colleagues
Keeping in touch with your colleagues can help you feel more connected and less isolated. Having the same goals and working as a team can help build the sense of community with your colleagues as well as being fun to occupy your time. Think about setting a creative or physical challenge or starting a virtual book or film club.
- Create a budget
Consider creating a budget, particularly if being furloughed means you have taken a cut in pay.
Financial concerns can seriously affect your mental health so a budget may enable you to manage both your money and your wellbeing.
- Seek support from your employer
Your employer can help you stay connected to the organisation and support your wellbeing while you are furloughed. Consider asking about:
- Regular wellbeing check ins (1-1)
- Keeping you informed of any company developments
- Being available to discuss any work related concerns you may have.
We have an array of positions on our website, so please do visit https://www.thegraduateproject.co.uk/jobs/search
Written by Anirudh Nair