How to look after yourself during challenging times

While some of us may stay physically well through self-isolation and social distancing during this unprecedented period, a potential side effect of these practices is a negative impact on our own mental health.

New research from the Mental Health Foundation has revealed that more than 60% of adults had felt anxious or worried as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic – and that was before the UK went into lockdown. Although not everyone will be affected in the same way, this situation is new to most of us and people may find themselves struggling in ways they haven’t before.

With that in mind, we wanted to share some advice that we’ve gathered from various sources around how to look after ourselves during the coming weeks. We hope that this might be useful for you, or to share with others.

  1. Keep in a routine

Structure in your day can help you practice good boundaries for working at home to ensure you have time for rest and relaxation. Professor of Public Health Linda Bauld explained on BBC Debate Night earlier this month that this can include things such as waking up to an alarm like a normal working day, getting ready, checking in with friends or family, or taking a morning walk.

  1. Speak to people each day

Make the most of video calls, FaceTime, chat apps or a traditional phone call to socially engage with friends and family virtually. The same goes for checking in with and working with colleagues when we’re based at home. While we may not be able to meet them physically, the social interaction can boost our mood and keep us connected to the outside world.

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  1. Get some exercise and fresh air

Staying active is a great way to refresh the mind, distract ourselves momentarily from a difficult situation and release endorphins to keep us feeling positive. It’s also a “classic anxiety reduction strategy” according to Dr Ken Duckworth, medical director of National Alliance on Mental Illness.

  1. Monitor your media intake

It’s very easy with a lot going on and so many news sources to stay constantly connected to the news, however many are finding that negativity in the news is causing anxiety or distress. The World Health Organisation recommends that we seek updates and guidance at specific times of the day and avoid listening to or following rumours that might make us feel uncomfortable.

  1. Eat a balanced diet to boost your immune system

When we’re all at home we may be led to feel bored and reach for foods or substances that can bring comfort, however in excess these may make you feel worse. By monitoring our intake and being aware of its impact, we can then alter it if we feel necessary. Try to have a balanced lifestyle even when we are limited to what we can do.

  1. Take regular breaks

We’re generally used to getting up and making a drink, attending meetings or heading out for a break during the day. At home there’s less things to break up our working pattern and screen time, so make an effort to have regular breaks to give your mind (and your eyes!) a rest.

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  1. Practice positive thinking

There’s a lot around us that can bring us down at the moment. It may sound simple but focusing on positivity –  whether that’s reflecting on things you’re grateful for each day or intentionally thinking about something that’s made you happy recently – helps us to channel our thoughts so that we remember things to stay happy about.

If you feel you need additional support, we recommend you seek further advice or help. If you’re concerned about symptoms that you or people you know are experiencing, visit the NHS website for more details on Coronavirus, or to access resources to support your mental health and wellbeing.

Other charities such as Mind and Time To Change also have a wealth of resources for those experiencing mental health problems or looking to support a struggling friend or family member.

Stay safe – look after yourselves and your community!

The brookscomm team

Ok Google, is the future really Voice Search?

Ok Google, is the future really Voice search-

Technology is always evolving and the latest innovation, ‘Voice Search’ is gathering momentum, with the big players being Amazon’s Alexa, Microsoft’s Cortana, Ok Google and Apple’s Siri at the forefront. Ever asked Siri or Alexa what the weather is like? That’s voice search. Instead of typing and searching for a keyword or phrase, you can simply ask out loud where the nearest bar or coffee shop is. Utilising natural language processing, a computer science concerned with artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning, these artificial assistants can listen and respond to search queries almost like a real human.

Voice Search is one of the biggest SEO trends

Used by many consumers already, Voice Search is set to be one of the biggest SEO trends for 2017 and thus comes with many opportunities, as well as challenges to overcome. Google CEO Sundar Pichai announced during his Google I/O keynote that 1/5 searches made with Google Android App is a Voice Search.

How will this affect PR and digital marketing professionals?

Not only will clients want to be discoverable on a standardised search but also in a Voice Search. It will no longer be viable to just focus on short tail keywords, but with the nature of the conversational queries asked using a Voice Search, it will become imperative to monitor and maximise long tail keywords and phrases too. Furthermore, with the bulk of Voice Search queries based on proximity of a company or product, it’s essential to ensure your business location base is optimised.

However, despite how advanced artificial assistants are, they are still a long way off being perfect. The main issue is the mismatch between what is being asked and what the AI captures, often ‘hearing’ incorrectly, producing misspelt words and thus irrelevant search results.

Voice Search is here to stay

That said, Voice Search is only going to improve, so here are our main pointers for being agile and embracing AI into your digital marketing and PR strategy:

  • Longer, conversational style queries including natural language and question phrases are used more.
  • Location optimised results are paramount.
  • Voice Search queries amount to higher intent, as buyers are nearer the ‘decision, purchase’ stage.

Voice Search isn’t the future. It’s happening right now, isn’t that right Siri?

At brookscomm we have over 20 years of PR & marketing expertise and a proven track record of providing an integrated, measurable PR and Digital marketing strategy. We can help you boost your business. Email michael@brookscomm.com or call us on 01483 537 890. 

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