This article first appeared on the Mind Mental Health at Work site. Our Employment and Skills Policy Adviser, Tamara Hill, thanks retail heroes going above and beyond during the coronavirus crisis and suggests a few ways to help relax at the end of the day.
The retail industry is facing its biggest challenge in decades. The Covid-19 outbreak has changed the way we live and work, with many stores temporarily closing following government guidance. Others, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, have remained open and retail colleagues are working hard to keep the country fed and healthy.
For those of you who are still at work, going above and beyond during these testing times, you are the nation’s hidden heroes and we want to say a massive thank you. Your efforts are supporting millions of people in the UK through a global pandemic of a magnitude not witnessed in our lifetimes.
The current situation will undoubtedly have an emotional impact on many of these retail staff. Supporting the wellbeing of those on the front line is of the utmost importance. The fact that we cannot meet up with friends or family to help relax us or engage in many of our hobbies only makes this more difficult. However, there are things you can do to help you unwind after a difficult day of work.
- Keeping in touch with friends and family: We must all be avoiding physical gatherings with friends and family we don’t live with, but that doesn’t mean you can’t keep in touch. You might be used to social events with colleagues – going for Friday drinks or enjoying lunch at the weekend - and although the pub is currently off-limits, you can still get together virtually to share a drink and a chat. Facetime, Zoom, Skype or other apps that enable face-to-face conversations with your loved ones are a great way to keep connected. You could set up a movie date where you both watch the same film or organise a weekly catch-up to discuss the latest TV shows you’re enjoying.
- Staying active: Exercise helps to relieve tension, anxiety and stress as well as boost mental and physical energy thanks to the release of endorphins. Under Government social distancing guidance, you may leave your home to undertake one form of exercise each day, alone or with members of your household. You should maintain a distance of at least two metres from others if you do this. Anything that gets you moving can help and if you can’t get out, there are still plenty of ways to keep active at home; take an online gym class from your living room or simply take a stroll around the block.
- Get creative: You may have more free time and rediscovering or taking up a new hobby can be a great way to relax and keep your mind stimulated. Painting, arts and crafts or writing can all act as outlets to release stress and improve mindfulness. If you’re not the creative type, you could try finding some puzzles or quizzes online to give your brain a workout.
We hope these tips offer a starting point for how you can unwind outside of work. By working together as one community, we will pull through and return to a more familiar and comfortable way of living.
Once again, we’d like to thank our colleagues from across retail and its supply chains who are working tirelessly to ensure that shelves are stacked and we all have access to the products we need. Your work is vital for getting us through this unprecedented time, and you deserve to feel proud of the huge impact you are having on our country.