I’m ok… no, I’m not ok… I think I’m ok… I am not ok. Does this feel familiar? It’s been a very confusing year and for many a very stressful year.
The Centre for Mental Health predicts that nearly 20% of the population in England will need new or additional mental health support as a direct consequence of the pandemic.
Too much or not enough work
It seems that work has only gone one of two ways this year, leaving people super-busy or with not enough. Many accountants have lost clients and we’ve seen redundancies as businesses of all sizes (and even whole industries) struggle to stay afloat. If you’ve been one of the unlucky ones it’s hard to see other accountants who are even busier than usual. But if you’ve been working at over your normal capacity then that can be stressful too.
Just when we think we’re getting to grips with what’s happening there are more changes, more lockdowns on the horizon and we have our personal circumstances, or that of others close to us, being affected by Covid-19. With the unknown comes fear and this is exacerbated by the colder and darker months.
Increase in loneliness
Undoubtedly, humans are incredible at adapting but we’ve all been at home more than we ever would’ve been before. We’re missing out on seeing family and friends, leisure activities and office interactions. It’s tough to meet anyone new which means we can lack some inspiration and buzz. It can feel very lonely.
7 ways you can take extra care of your health
We asked some accountants what they’ve put in place this year to prioritise their mental and physical health.
1. Remember you are not alone
Everybody has been affected in one way or another and almost everybody is struggling and dealing with their own issues in their own ways. However, you feel and choose to deal with it is not wrong.
2. Join online communities
Interacting with people online that have similar interests to you can be a great way to get a dose of meeting new people and sharing ideas. If you feel like it, you can arrange video calls with your online friends or attend webinars to learn and socialise in a low-pressure environment.
3. Create new healthy habits
Things are not the way they were before and they’ll never go back to being exactly the same so it’s best to try and create new habits and routines that work for you now and going forwards. Start as small as you can and focus on the actions you need to do to get a routine in place instead of thinking about the habit itself. For example, if you wanted to go running, aim to go for five-minutes and concentrate on putting your running gear on, not the run itself.
4. Look out for others
It’s easy to get wrapped up in ourselves right now but we need to make sure we’re looking out for others too if we can. Check in on your friends and colleagues regularly. Do something small to make someone else’s day. No doubt that will make you feel great too. People with pre-existing mental health problems and those from underprivileged backgrounds are more at risk right now.
5. Be kind
Be kind to each other but also be kind to yourself. It’s easy to think about the things you haven’t achieved but what about all the things you have? Take 10 minutes to write down everything you are proud of yourself for.
6. Talk about it
The topics of depression, stress, and anxiety can still be swept under the carpet. People can be scared that they will be perceived as weak or lazy. Talking about these topics as openly as you feel comfortable can help you and others close to you to cope, understand, and overcome misconceptions.
7. Get professional help
Our physical and mental health are intrinsically linked and you would probably not hesitate to go and see a doctor if you felt physically unwell. Book an appointment to talk to your doctor about how you feel and ask them what options are available to you.
Winter, with its colder, wetter, darker, and seemingly longer nights can be harder for people who suffer from depression, anxiety, panic, and OCD. Please remember you are never alone. Talk to a friend, call a mental health charity, chat to someone online, or a health professional. There are plenty of people out there who want to listen and help.
- Podcasts to help with stress (login to listen)
- What to do if you need help with your mental health
- Coping with stress when studying for your AAT qualifications
- How I overcame my mental health issues and went on to succeed with AAT
Sophie Cross is the Editor of Freelancer Magazine and a freelance writer and marketer at Thoughtfully.