It has been almost three months since the government implemented a lockdown due to COVID-19, and many of us have started to find a new normal. With the Scottish government’s route map in place and the move to Phase One, there does seem to be light at the end of the tunnel. However, lots of people are still experiencing good and bad weeks or suffering lockdown fatigue even with this plan in place. With the changes and adjustments which each phase will necessitate, new challenges will inevitably arise. Therefore, it seems like a good time to do a wellbeing check-in.

Have your say 

Following on from our recent research, ‘Adviser Perspectives on a Workforce Strategy’, our new Wellbeing Project is undertaking further research on the wellbeing of money advisers in the free-to-client sector.
We want to know what helps and harms your workplace wellbeing, and what can be done to improve it. Our new survey can be found here. It takes around 10 minutes and will give us valuable insight into your needs and experiences and help us to make a difference for you.

Staying happy 

Maintaining wellbeing in such a tumultuous time can be challenging, and everyone is likely to experience ups and downs. The World Health Organisation recommends maintaining a healthy lifestyle, talking to friends and family, cutting down on stressors such as repeatedly refreshing the news, and consulting only credible sources for updates on the situation.  Other resources for maintaining wellbeing include:

Dealing with anxiety tips - This NHS site offers recommendations and resources for dealing with COVID-related stress and anxiety.

Mindfulness guide - It is important to take some time away from the pressures of work, family and the news cycle. Mindfulness is a commonly used tool to help improve your wellbeing including helping with focus and sleep.

SAMH support guide - Sometimes you just need a bit of help. SAMH has put together a catalogue of helplines and websites which can offer it.

Staying healthy 

While limitations to exercise have now lifted, with other activities still limited, going outside for a walk or cycle can still feel like our main escape and may be a change of pace compared to pre-lockdown lifestyles. These rules also mean many of us have more time to spend in the kitchen cooking and baking. Both diet and exercise can have a huge impact on our wellbeing, so here are some useful links.

Ten-minute workouts  - Many people are moving their workouts indoors or adding one to their daily routine. The NHS has a selection of ten-minute routines that focus on specific areas of the body and require no specialist equipment.

NHS healthy eating advice - The NHS also offers guidance on maintaining a healthy diet, including recipe tips and links to further resources.

The Kitchen Cabinet - The current season of the BBC’s long-running culinary panel show is devoted to cooking during COVID-19 measures, including store cupboard recipe ideas and ways to keep children entertained in the kitchen.

Staying in touch 

Online meet-ups are now routine, and retaining connections with your real-life network of friends, family and colleagues is vital to stop social distancing from getting too isolating. Everyone’s experience of lockdown will be different. For example, being either completely alone or with young children, will each come with very different challenges. Even just the change in routine or needing to adjust to new technologies can be difficult. It is important to continue to have conversations about mental health and wellbeing, and to be supportive of everyone’s unique circumstances.

Here are some resources to help you stay in touch with those around you.

MAS Mentorship Scheme - Our mentorship scheme connects advisers around Scotland with the aim of enabling them to develop skills, solve work-related problems, and support their wellbeing. Mentorship is possible at any distance, so you could communicate with a mentor from home.

Starting a conversation - Many of us may know someone who is finding it harder to cope in these times, and it can be difficult to know how to start a conversation with someone you know personally rather than a client. SAMH has published some tips on how to talk to others about mental health.

Wellbeing Action Plan - It can be easy for stress to get on top of you at work. Mind has developed a template for a wellbeing action plan which helps you to identify your needs regarding your mental health at work, and can be used as a way to open and continue conversations about mental health. Guides are available for both employers and employees

Staying up to date

New measures which will affect benefits claimants and new applicants, people seeking bankruptcy, the furloughed or newly-unemployed, and other groups likely to seek money advice, are coming into effect very frequently as the government seeks to set up measures to mitigate the wider issues caused by COVID-19. Changes to routines may also mean more time is freed up for professional development, even as it is easier than ever to feel like you are at risk of missing out on important information. Here are some resources to keep you up to date on developments and hone your skills.

Subscribe to receive our policy updates - Our Policy and Communications Officer releases a regular newsletter summarising policy changes. We also have a regularly updated page addressing debt and money worries related to the pandemic.

The FCA’s Coronavirus section - Updates regularly with news and information relevant to the credit, financial and advice sectors.

Wiseradviser E-learning Modules  - Wiseradviser has a wide range of e-learning modules available for advisers to brush up on a variety of money advice topics.