Managing Your Mental Health In Lockdown

The coronavirus pandemic has reached every corner of the world and has drastically changed how we work, communicate and live out our everyday lives.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Week, we reached out to Unrulies in London, Hamburg, Sydney, Singapore and New York to find out how they’re managing their mental health in lockdown, and what tips and tricks are helping them stay productive.

Q: What do you like most about working from home?

Tobias, Team Lead Account Manager, in Hamburg:

“It’s been great to have more flexibility with our childcare and more time to work on projects. It’s also allowed me to focus more on my work, as there are fewer distractions and I’m not spending time commuting.”

Marj, Sales Manager, in Sydney:

“Taking out the commute from my working day has meant I can get up from my desk, change and go for a nice evening walk with my partner and spend quality time together, instead of commuting home, cooking straight away (because we are both very hungry) and then having small talk/ watching TV before bed.

“We’re connecting so much more — and that is very important to me. It also means instead of always keeping chores to the weekend, I can get them done during the week, which makes my work-life balance so much better.”

Shirley, EA to Unruly CEO Norm Johnston, in London:

“The slower pace of life, observing nature thrive in my garden and on my walks, while, as a bad sleeper, not having the pressure of an alarm clock or trains to catch has been a godsend!”

Emma, General Counsel and Global SVP, People, in London:

“Not having to commute means I get an extra half hour in bed, as well as a leisurely morning, allowing me to enjoy coffee and breakfast. Equally, being able to leave the ‘office’ and start the evening without having to battle public transport and train cancellations is amazing!”

Janette, PR and Marketing Manager, in Hamburg:

“The quietness means I’m more productive. I also have more time in the morning and don’t get stressed as easily. I love being able sit out and work in the sun, and it’s also helped me eat a lot healthier and has allowed me to structure my day a lot more efficiently.”

Q: What did you find most challenging at the beginning of working from home?

Polina, People Director, in New York:

“When I first started working from home, I found it challenging to step away from the computer, feeling like I needed to be tied down to every ping or email that came through. I’ve now learnt to separate my work from the rest of my day and am enjoying taking breaks to go for walks and catch up with friends.”

Marj, Sales Manager, in Sydney:

“Working in the Commercial team, a large part of my role is meeting my clients face-to-face, and it’s usually where I pick up a lot of extra briefs. Having to keep emailing or calling was very challenging at first, especially when I didn’t receive a reply.”

Helene, Senior Sales Executive, in Singapore:

“I often take long weekends to go abroad and visit different places; it’s been tough not being able to do that. Not being able to meet up with friends has also been a real challenge for me.”

Kristy, Associate Marketing Manager, in New York:

“Finding a good space to work has been hard. I had to carve out locations to get work done, and to this day, I still don’t have a proper area for this. My boyfriend is also working from home, so we’re both bouncing around because we must get away from each other when we’re both on calls. We’re in a NYC apartment, so you can probably imagine there really isn’t much place to go!”

Nick, Global Content and Engagement Manager, in London:

“Maintaining the right posture whilst working has been hard, I’m having lots of aches and pains that didn’t exist before lockdown! Making sure I go out for a walk at lunchtime, a cycle at the weekend and doing regular stretching is really helping though.”

Q: What changes have you made to your daily routine since starting to work from home to keep your mental wellbeing in balance, and do you have any recommendations for us?

Kelly, Global Product Compliance Director, in London:

“I exercise every day, be it weights, stretching, HIIT or a walk in the woods. I’ve tried to limit my news consumption. I’ve also begun to cook some delicious meals and learnt to really cherish the time I get to spend with my children.”

Jens, VP, Commercial, in Hamburg:

“I’ve began blocking out my lunchtimes to make sure I take some time to step away from work. I’ve also been taking small breaks outside, sometimes just to get a few minutes of fresh air. I’m also making sure I exercise in the evenings after work when I would normally be commuting.”

Marj, Sales Manager, in Sydney:

“The Commercial girls in Australia started a regular chat to check in and chat about anything. Work questions, good TV shows we’re watching, if there’s sales on etc. – kind of replicating the office social vibes/banter. I’d really recommend doing this, especially if you’re feeling disconnected from your office or team.”

Janette, PR and Marketing Manager, in Hamburg:

“You need a routine: get dressed, make coffee, make sure you have a morning ritual that separates sleeping time and work time. Stretch, meditate, some sunlight exposure – do at least one of these. And, of course, go out once a day, either in the morning or evening. Get some exercise and take care for yourself.”

Nat, People Team Director, in London:

“I’ve been trying to wake up early and do an exercise class or go for a walk before work starts. I’ve also been baking and reading a lot more and would highly recommend the book ‘The Miracle Morning’, which has really changed the way I approach my mornings before I start work.”

Q: Have you experienced any acts of kindness during lockdown?

Shirley, EA to CEO, in London:

“My neighbour made me a home-cooked three-course meal on Easter Sunday so I didn’t feel alone. It was so sweet!”

Emma, General Counsel and Global SVP, People, in London:

“I sent a couple of friends some tea and a personalised mug to remind them to take time for themselves!”

Karina, People Team Director, in Hamburg:

“Friends have been really caring – they’ve dropped by to bring me cake, driven across town to spend lunch breaks with me, and joined me on walks. Plus, I had several people send me flowers. I started to pay back the favours and baked cookies to drop at their houses to say thanks. This has kept me busy and given purpose to my walks, which I got really bored of!”

Charlie, Senior Sales Manager, in London:

“I’ve experienced loads of acts of kindness, but I think one of the most important things is how considerate everyone’s being to others, including neighbours, the elderly and key workers. Let’s hope it continues after lockdown!”