How to feel hopeful through simple actions
Following a tumultuous 18 months, World Suicide Prevention Day 2021 falls at a pivotal time. As the repercussions of the global Covid-19 pandemic are felt financially and emotionally, NABS offers guidance and practical tips on how to cope under such difficult circumstances.
September 10 marks World Suicide Prevention Day, with the theme of ‘creating hope through action’. It’s a pertinent theme and an important day, especially given the stresses that the pandemic has placed on us.
At NABS, we believe in the power of preventing a build-up of negative emotions wherever possible. That’s been particularly hard for everybody to do over the past year or so, so it’s no wonder that we’ve found that low mood is on the up in our industry. In fact, calls to our Advice Line relating to low mood have risen by 14% since last year.
The top three reasons people are contacting us at the moment are for financial support, emotional support and redundancy. So we’ve suggested some ways in which you might navigate each of these circumstances, with the aim of equipping you and your teams with some manageable steps that can help you to thrive once more.
If you’re struggling financially
You might be experiencing various emotions, such as shame or embarrassment. Know that this is normal. If you have been impacted financially due to Covid, it may be that you have not found yourself in financial difficulty before and you are trying to come to terms with this. You are not alone. Sadly, many people in our industry have experienced job loss or furlough, and the effects of both can be long-lasting.
In the first instance, it can be valuable to explore ways to minimize outgoings and create a clear budget to operate to. These steps might seem more difficult if you’re clouded by worries, which is why it’s worth reaching out for professional help. StepChange, the debt management charity, is brilliant at walking people through what they need to do next and how to go about it. At the NABS Advice Line, we can also offer practical guidance and, if you’re eligible, we could help you out with a grant to provide financial breathing space or to upskill to help you stay employable. With the job market finally picking up again, now’s a great time to think about how you can get back into work.
If you need some emotional support
You’re in good company. We speak to hundreds of people each year covering everything from mental health to low confidence (another key theme at the moment).
Everyone’s mental health fluctuates at the best of times. Factor Covid into the equation and it’s no wonder that so many of us are struggling. What’s more, there might be other factors contributing to your emotional health challenges, such as grief, the breakdown of a relationship, job pressure or insecurity, anxiety, stress… the list goes on.
The most impactful first step forward is to share your concerns with someone. Talking is so important: it can help you feel lighter, clearer and more hopeful. Many adland workplaces offer a mental health first aider scheme, where colleagues are trained to actively listen to people’s concerns. This can be a great port of call. If that’s not in place at your organization, perhaps you have a trusted friend or team member who you can confide in.
Maybe you’d rather speak to somebody out of your circle. There are some brilliant organizations who can help, such as Mind, the Samaritans and Calm, as well as the NABS Advice Line. No concern or worry is too small for a chat with any of these organizations.
If you’re not quite ready to share your concerns, try writing down how you feel. This can help you to start processing your thoughts and might even encourage you to take the next step in talking to somebody else, once you see your worries written down clearly.
It might be that you’d benefit from long-term therapy or coaching; start the ball rolling with a chat, and be open to that possibility.
If you have lost your job
It’s common to feel that your confidence has been knocked. You might feel rudderless and lost, and you may be grieving for the job that you had and the identity or status that came with it. Along with despair and anxiety about the future, these feelings are completely normal.
Small and consistent actions can help you to feel more hopeful and motivated. You might ask for help from friends, previous colleagues or family members regarding your CV, LinkedIn profile, interview practice and access to potential contacts. After an interview, you could ask for constructive feedback that you can use for next time.
Looking for a job can become all-consuming and sometimes unproductive as a result. Carve out time for you; going out for a walk, getting some activity into your day or speaking to a friend can all help to break up the day.
It’s vital to set a routine for your day and to incorporate a positive daily habit into that routine, such as thinking about three things that you’re grateful for on that day, however small those things might be. It’s been proven that gratitude releases dopamine and serotonin into the brain, the two neurotransmitters responsible for making us feel good – and yes, hopeful.
Another helpful tip is to set a small goal to accomplish each day. Perhaps enrolling on a webinar, writing a speculative email or composing a LinkedIn post. As well as all the practical actions you can take, focusing on your own wellbeing during this period is paramount when it comes to supporting your energy levels, mood and motivation, whether that’s physical activity or doing a short meditation. All of these things combined can make you feel more empowered and in control of your future.
You may be feeling isolated while out of work, so seek out opportunities for connection. You might enroll in a free NABS masterclass – a group coaching session where you can build skills as well as network with others. You could volunteer somewhere locally, or simply call us for a listening ear.
If you are facing a challenging time and are having suicidal thoughts, we’d encourage you to talk – to friends, family, your line manager, the NABS Advice Line or the Samaritans, for instance – and to seek support from a medical practitioner such as your GP or, if you feel at immediate risk, calling 999 for an ambulance. Talking can share the load and provide hope that there are options to explore and people who want to help.
Call NABS on 0800 707 6607 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for support and guidance from one of our unbiased advisors
This article originally appeared in The Drum