The Covid-19 crisis needs no introduction. The global pandemic has impacted every single one of us in one way or another—be it physically, socially or financially. In a world of uncertainty that’s shaken up our routines in more ways than one, it’s natural to feel anxious and low.
We therefore wanted to gather the troops (AKA the Transfernauts) to share some tips and tricks to help protect your mental health during this time.
As a starting point, it made sense to first turn to Anna, our Chief People Officer. Since joining our senior team last year, Anna has been an advocate for mental health, selflessly sharing her story and opening up about her long-term battle with anxiety and depression. Her honesty about low moods and panic attacks has been an incredible source of strength and inspiration to the rest of us. It’s also helped to implement various wellbeing initiatives we now have in place including unlimited holidays and trust days.
Speaking out about her mental health journey, Anna says, “I see a therapist once a month and take medication. Although, I was planning on coming off this Spring but Covid-19 has put a bit of a halt on the process. From the outside, my life looks great but I still have days when I struggle. Sometimes it’s because something genuinely bad has happened, but sometimes I feel sad for what seems like no reason at all.”
Thankfully, Anna now recognises some triggers that put her in a bad place. She regularly keeps a mood diary and avoids drinking too much. To those feeling down, she recommends talking to someone if they can. “Even if it’s just a friend or work colleague, it’s a good place to start”, says Anna. “But it’s important to start small. The first step with mental health is accepting that something might not be quite right. And if you see someone else you think is struggling, offer your support. In a ‘normal’ world I would say go for lunch with them, but a virtual coffee would be great in these times.
“The most important thing to remember is that depression is non-prejudice. It doesn’t pick people who have ‘better or worse’ lives. Don’t assume that someone has to be unhappy or have something ‘wrong’ in their lives to be depressed. And if you do have struggles with mental health, it doesn’t have to limit you or your career. You can have depression and still be successful. I’d like to think that I’ve managed that somewhat.”
Ways to protect your mental health
Other members of the team have also shared some tips and tricks if you’re struggling day to day. With lockdown still activated in many countries at the time of writing, many of us are confined to our houses for most of the day. Some of us are juggling childcare or are alone completely. And many of us are concerned about loved ones around the world.
Speaking out about her tips and tricks, our Senior Copywriter Fran has taken to making new friends. “It sounds a bit odd but I really like talking to animals whilst being stuck at home,” explains Fran. “When a bee comes in, I have a full conversation with it and put it out of the window. And when I go feed the fishes, I talk to them too. I also find scrapbooking and making collages very therapeutic. And I make lists to declutter my mind when I feel stressed—shopping lists, post-lockdown plans, bucket list destinations etc. I even have a spreadsheet kitchen inventory, in which I plan all the meals for the following weeks. It ensures we have a healthy and balanced diet, whilst also avoiding food waste.”
For Paulius, our Product Data Analyst, simply walking across his apartment with a podcast on helps him to relax. Walking is definitely a big one. Jennifer, our Social Media Copywriter has been enjoying her daily government-sanctioned walk. “Being confined to the house can be a struggle,” says Jennifer. “Stepping out for a 45-minute walk definitely helps me to mentally reset and add structure to my day.” In a similar spirit, our growth manager Mikhail has also come to rely on his daily visit to the park. “Walking with my family on evenings and weekends definitely helps to make things feel more ‘normal’,” he says.
It’s no secret that exercise releases endorphins. And many of us on the team are getting a kick from virtual workouts. Jess, our Engagement Marketing Manager says, “Virtual workouts with friends are working for me at the moment. We pick a YouTube workout, start a video call and workout together. It definitely helps me to stay active. It’s also a good way to have regular contact with friends.” Meanwhile Dew, our Paid Social Manager recommends picking up a sport like badminton for those with a partner.
Some final tips and tricks
Our tips and tricks don’t end there. Yes that’s right, we have some more strategies to help protect your mental health. And these ones are bitesized—bonus. Here goes:
“Reading. I read as much as I can both for learning and leisure. Anything to keep my mind occupied—otherwise overthinking could become a new hobby” Jurgito, Engineering.
“I’ve signed up for 30-day challenges; one for sport and one for foreign languages. It helps to make you feel like you’re part of a group or community as you can track and discuss your progress with friends. I also have a few Jamie Oliver cookbooks so every week, I cook something new.” Anastasya, Growth Manager.
“To make household work fair and enjoyable, my husband and I mark all the tasks we’ve accomplished that day. We have a sheet on the kitchen wall with everything listed. So transparency wins and this way, there’s no free rider at home.” Senem, Growth Manager.