I have a confession to make – I had a very different blog planned for this month. But in a matter of weeks, the world has completely changed. We are all facing into an unprecedented challenge, which is not just a threat to our physical health, but also our mental health and happiness.
It’s never been more important to acknowledge the effect stress and social isolation can have on our mental state.
With that in mind, I’ve put together some ideas for keeping the blues at bay over the coming weeks.
Join a new community
Just because you are stuck indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t meet new people. Online communities are everywhere and more active than ever. Start by choosing your social media platform of choice (Facebook, Twitter, TikTok). Then search for a hashtag relating to your favourite things – baking, reading, cat videos – and start to scroll. It won’t take long before you find a group or a group chat with hundreds (if not thousands) of people who all enjoy the same thing/s you do. Reach out, add comments, play challenges, post your own content and build new friendships. A friend has recently joined an online fitness challenge and is staying motivated by connecting with other participants in the associated Facebook group. Friends and fitness – not a bad thing to come away with once this is all over!
Play TV bingo
If Gogglebox has taught us anything it’s that watching other people watch TV is actually quite entertaining. You can make it even more fun by playing a game while you watch. Choose a TV show and a group of friends. Then, create a set of bingo cards with catchphrases, actions, plot devices, etc that are regularly used in the TV show. Email everyone a bingo card. Instruct everyone to start watching the same episode at the same time while you all connect via Zoom or HouseParty. Like regular bingo, every time something happens that is on your card, mark it off. The first person to get a complete line wins. (You could also play a drinking game with similar rules but we wouldn’t want to encourage excess consumption of alcohol 😉)
Plan a party
Rob and I love entertaining friends, but we’ve had to change how we do things in light of social distancing and stay-home orders. If you love good food and wine, host a virtual dinner party, where you all eat a meal in your respective homes and connect via Zoom or HouseParty. You could encourage people to share their experience cooking the meal or do a Masterchef-style critique of how the food looks on the plate.
If dressing up and getting down is more your thing, invite your friends to a virtual costume party. Choose a theme and decorate yourself and your home with things you can find around the house – this is also a great way to spark your creativity. Ask your friends to pick a few songs to add to the playlist, clear some space and dance like there’s no-one watching. (Just remember to keep the noise to a dull roar, or you might have police at your door wondering how two people and a pug can sound like a house full of people!)
Get control of your finances
Finally, here’s a more serious one. Money and finance can be a source of stress for people at the best of times, let alone when so many are facing unemployment and financial uncertainty. The good news is, you don’t have to manage on your own. The role of a financial adviser is to help our clients plan for a healthy and happy retirement. And just like a marriage, that’s through good times and bad. There are lots of ways that we can help you to structure your finances to better manage during the downturn, but we can only help if you reach out and ask. Myself and advisers everywhere are still open for business and ready to support you. Take your first step towards control and make an appointment today. I promise you will feel better once you do.