Maintaining mental wellbeing during lockdown

22 May 2020
Nadja Toft

Author: Nadja Toft

Service designer. I love imagining what doesn't yet exist.

What are we doing to help us maintain mental wellbeing at Spotless during lockdown?

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week and at Spotless we’re conscious of supporting each other, checking in and making sure our team is happy and well. Lockdown has, of course, changed the way we work and interact with each other and so we thought we would share some stories from the team about how we’re maintaining mental wellbeing during lockdown.

 

Illustration by drawkit.io

 

Wabi-Sabi and fixed working hours

I have been reading about the Japanese philosophy of Wabi-Sabi. One thing I have pulled from it is the imperfect nature of the world. Nature itself is organic, and doesn’t principally comprise of perfect squares and circles. That is why some Japanese crockery is deliberately proud of the ‘imperfections’ that arise from human production, or the way the glaze solidifies on a bowl. So I am trying to accept the ‘imperfect’ nature of many processes that go on around me – these are organic things that just happen and reflect humanness.

When we first went into lockdown, I was working all hours, starting earlier when I would usually be commuting, and working later. And then on weekends, as my workstation was set up at home. It began to be really intrusive, and I felt somewhat overwhelmed and at risk of burning out. So I made a decision to really be strict about the work hours, and to ask for forgiveness if things were taking a bit longer than they would otherwise. Accepting things that are ‘imperfect’ is part of the process and is helping me cope with that. I don’t start now before 9:00, and finish up on the dot at 17:00 (well most days). And I take a full hour’s breakaway at lunchtime. And people have been understanding. Many are in the same position, and they are struggling too.

Kevin, Service Design Director

 

The most therapeutic thing for me is baking (Nour)

 

Long walks and baking

Before lockdown, I used to get up around 6 AM to wake up properly and get ready to leave for work and make sure I can get a seat on the central line! I must admit that it’s been nice being able to sleep in a little and not have to endure the sticky crowded tube especially in this hot weather!

Since working from home, I’ve been going for long walks which is something I never really used to do. It’s a great way to clear your mind and have that a little bit of “me” time.

The most therapeutic thing for me is baking. I have always baked and treated my colleagues to baked goods and birthday cakes. Since lockdown, I have been experimenting with a wider variety of baked goods as I have been having more time to do it which I feel keeps my state of mind in check. I do miss treating my colleagues and sharing what I’m passionate about with them.

Nour, Finance and Operations Manager

 

Running and resetting

I like to run, as this gives me headscape, helps me appreciate my environment and gives my body more oxygen to wake me up. I feel a run helps me see things from a different perspective and see a new solution, as well as some well earned ‘me’ time. Homeschooling, parenting, working and domestic duties that having a family entails are challenging and rewarding. Running gives me the personal bandwidth to deal with all the competing demands and the variety of situations, personal and work-related.

During Lockdown I’ve run alone or taken it turns to run with my children who are slowly working towards running 5k. I’ve discovered new areas to run to. I mix up the distances and the pace. One of the schools nearby has granted access to their athletics track, so I’m now starting to build some faster interval training into my running. Running really fast is exhilarating but of course extremely tiring.

Caroline, Senior Service Designer

 

Snapshot of the Danish countryside where I’m currently based (Nadja)

 

Biking, podcasts and flow TV

Just before lockdown, I managed to catch one of the last flights home to Denmark and so I’ve been staying at my parents’ house in the countryside since then. Even though I miss London, I’m sure that being close to family and nature has increased my mental wellbeing during this time. One of the things I’ve really enjoyed is going for a bike ride after work. I love the fresh air and how it resets my mind. It’s something I’ve come to look forward to.

I often listen to podcasts while biking and lately, I’ve been listening to Third Ears series about a serial killer in London (sorry, it’s in Danish). I’ve also enjoyed watching good old-fashioned flow TV with my parents. Yesterday one of our favorite cooking shows premiered (Spise med Price) and this time they’re traveling around the UK! It’s nice to be able to “travel” back to London while still being close to my family in Denmark.

Nadja, Service Designer

 

 

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