The results of a new survey of UK employers and employees have been released, and they back up what we suspected all along: all these lockdowns are having a not-great impact on our collective mental health. It looks like 2021's lockdown 3.0 has been even more difficult for people than last year's lockdowns, with 44% of all employees saying their mental health is worse now than when restrictions were in place last spring. Although figures are pretty disheartening all round, it seems women have been impacted more than men (50% reported poorer mental health this year, compared to 38% of men).
The report, entitled ‘Working on Wellbeing’, was run my YouGov for job site Indeed, and is based on the answers of 1,039 UK workers and 508 employers who have made changes to their company as a result of the pandemic.
Thankfully Joe Wicks, who has been instrumental in lifting spirits as well as encouraging people to leave their beds/sofas on occasion during the past year, is here to help once more. Here are Joe's top tips for improving your mental health and wellbeing.
1. Sleep is your best friend
“It’s so easy to get into a routine of having little sleep and we just try to push on but sleep really is essential especially for our mental health," says Joe. "Studies have shown the importance of sleep for our stress levels and a link between lack of sleep and depression. If you struggle with getting a good night’s sleep and know it could be better, this should be your number one priority.”
To help, check out our tips on how to sleep better at night, and try these techniques for how to fall asleep quickly. A comfy bed can make a huge difference – adding one of the best mattress toppers can give an old bed a new lease of life.
2. You’ll never regret a workout
Gyms might be closed, but that doesn't mean you can't still work up a sweat (T3's fitness expert has decided he actually prefers home workouts now). And while the thought of dragging yourself out for a jog might be painful, it's almost guaranteed you'll feel better afterwards.
“I’m a big believer in the power of a morning workout to set you up for a positive and energised day, but the truth is exercise is good for you any time of the day, so I suggest exercising at the time you feel most energised,” says Joe.
3. Embrace food prep and batch cooking
It'll be no surprise to hear that eating healthy can have a big positive impact on your mental as well as physical wellbeing. But it can feel hard to find the motivation, especially at the moment. Joe recommends batch cooking: “Since the very start of my journey on social media I’ve been highlighting the importance of meal prepping like a boss to get lean and healthy. Batch cooking big meals like homemade chilli, Bolognese, risotto or soups and stews means you are literally setting yourself up for success.”
4. Hydrate for the win
Here's a nice and simple one: drink more water! “Many people do not hydrate enough. Everything in the body functions better when we are properly hydrated. It helps with feelings of hunger but also helps with your energy, focus and concentration.” Here's our pick of the best reusable water bottles, if that'll help motivate you.
5. Stay connected and keep talking
“One thing I think is more important than ever right now is communicating how you feel with friends and family or work colleagues," says Joe. “A lot of people are suffering with feelings of anxiety and depression and bottling up a lot of emotion. Staying connected with friends or family and letting it out will really help you realise that you are not feeling it alone.”