Chris O’Sullivan, head of business development and engagement at the Mental Health Foundation, offers some tips and advice for coping with the huge changes to the way we live and work
Q: In an extremely uncertain and busy time, many people in the travel industry may have to work extra hours. How can you best balance work and home life if you’re now working from home?
A: Naturally, because you care, you are thinking about clients, colleagues and friends in the industry. Our family and home lives help us balance work, and it’s easy to get lost in work at the moment. Carve out time for family, and make sure you find ways to keep up your hobbies even if it means swapping the gym for a home workout.
Q: With so much going on, it may be hard to get good-quality sleep. What tips do you have to ensure a better night’s sleep?
A: Sleep is crucial for our mental health, but it’s understandable – normal even – for it to be disturbed at a time like this. A bedtime routine is important, especially if your other patterns are disturbed. Limit your consumption of screens and news before bed and try to keep away from the booze – it can make our sleep worse. If you find yourself awake, get up and do something relaxing until you are tired again.
Check out our sleep guide for more information.
Q: Working from home could mean people feel a bit isolated and lonely. How can they make up for less social interaction?
A: Connection is key for our wellbeing and being with folk is a big draw for the travel business. Try to keep connections going with colleagues, friends and family. Make the effort and try to have video call lunch dates, call people, or see what you can do to help in the community if you are well. Take time for yourself – try a new skill, maybe online with a group, something you can take back and make space for when the dust settles.
Q: Working in a new environment can be a big adjustment for many, how can people best adapt?
A: The rhythms of our working life are changing, and we don’t often know how that will be. Take a week or so to see how things change. Business as usual will be different, but there may be opportunities for growth and development or to share skills. Until you find your groove, be kind to yourself, and don’t work too long.
Q: Some people might feel a bit anxious knowing they can’t travel at all, and limit movement as much as possible. What can people do to help them feel less trapped?
A: This is a hard one for the travel trade. You’re often in the business for the new places, and unknown challenges. The fact is, you can’t travel for a while, and that will be hard. You can keep in contact with international contacts; you could create a photo album or even scrapbook of favourite trips or plan new ones. You could write down your top tips for all your favourite places – or develop some training or insights for people new to the business or to the areas you know best.
For more information on looking after your mental health throughout the coronavirus outbreak, the Mental Health Foundation has published more resources here.
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