Staying mentally well

Thursday 9th April 2020

Ria Varnom, experienced trainer, coach and friend of Waldrons shares her tips on mental wellbeing during this difficult time:

What are you feeding your brain?

I don’t know how you are fairing but I seem to have Corona Virus in surround sound it’s on the radio, TV, my friends and family are talking about it and what’s more my grocery shop is limited by it.  Then I open my inbox to send an email and all I see is… yes, you guessed it an inbox full of emails about the Covid 19 outbreak. Throughout my day I’m hearing about the latest number of people infected or worse dying, the lack of medical supplies or how poorly the government are prepared for this outbreak.  The sad news of bereavements really gets me.  I am not prepared for the invasion and mental overload this pandemic is having on my mind, my view of the world and consequently my  mood.  I am a laid back, balanced person, however this flood of news reminds me of the Twin Towers disaster, Princess Diana’s death, GDPR onset and Leicester winning the Cup  (not so much he latter, really). It is creating fear, anxiety and making our inner world smaller too.

In the words of Joey Tribiani from Friends, ‘How are you doin’?

Let’s be practical about this, stay informed, but give yourself a media break, put your devices on silent for a while throughout the day.  Reduce the number of times you tune into the news and ask friends to resist discussing the matter with you.  Be a role model of just saying No! to the overwhelm and grinding down of sad and bad news. Filter what enters your mind or notice the thought but imagine it floating away like a balloon on the breeze of a sunny spring afternoon.

There is proven research that demonstrates if we receive regular worrying rapid fire news on a loop,  our brain goes on hyper-awareness for the next alert, seeking out more information that increases your stress levels leading to anxiety.  Some Individuals who were already stressed before he crisis may begin to show the culmination of long-term stress and develop anxiety and physical poor health too. The best way out of this downward spiral is to change your ways.

Don’t be a drama llama: Reduce your drama sources: Balance your drama, turn the volume down low and listen in occasionally.

Listen up: Find more positive things to read about or listen to.  I am listening to radio 4 podcasts, audio books,  TED Talks on YouTube and playing Tai Chi music in the background as I go about my daily tasks.  Oh and a bit of Dusty Springfield, Fleetwood Mac, Dolly Parton- no Leonard Cohen and selected Joni Mitchell.

Feed a good gut regime: Seek balance in your diet, stress encourages eating comfort food, gradually reduce your caffeine, sugar and fat intake and eat healthier.  You will feel and look better for it. I am experimenting with No Carb Or Low Carb days, and Meat Free Fridays.

Volunteer: you can help others if you have time. Make new friends and feel good about yourself.  Home based or not, expand your world.

Get fitter: Try this free NHS pilates exercise

Let hope rise, spend time with people who raise your spirits, even if its online.

If you are a manager or team leader, inspire your colleagues to share healthy incentives.  Share your ideas and be a role model for good mental and physical health.

One day at a time.


Ria is experienced in delivering ‘people services and solutions ‘ in many business environments spanning her career. A proficient confidant to decision makes,  or reviving the spirits of frazzled executives; Ria draws on her coaching talent to hone  raw potential in people as they advance in the company.  She excels in supporting HR  to turn around poor performers and build buy-in,

Ria is adept at creating flourishing organisations through bespoke  coaching, training resulting in successful long term development.   

Contact.     Tel:  07900 497381

Please note that there is no fee sharing or referral fee arrangement in place between Ria Varnom and Waldrons Solicitors.