Eight tips from an occupational psychologist for the coronavirus summer: “Learn to let go, return to yourself and find joy in the little things.”

Press release 8 June 2020

Finns start their summer holidays in exceptional circumstances. You may have been working from home for a long time, your holiday plans may be cancelled, and you may feel uncertain because of the coronavirus situation. How can we find that happy summer mood in the middle of all this? Occupational Psychologist Alberto Sancho from Mehiläinen shares eight tips for improving your mental wellbeing at the beginning of this coronavirus summer.

1) Process the emotions evoked by the coronavirus

The coronavirus came and turned our lives upside down without warning. Your brain has had to give up on many things that we have got used to having, and it may try to sabotage the process of letting go. If the emotions this triggers are not processed, they may cause psychological strain. You should talk about how you feel and think about what you have gained and potentially lost. You should also process the things that may still be coming. Once you have been able to process the emotions stirred up by this challenging situation, your mind will be freed and you will be able to move on.

2) Return to yourself – 80% of the feeling of suffering is caused by your own mind

You may have conflicting thoughts about your summer holiday due to potential changes to your plans. Getting into the summer holiday mood may feel difficult. According to research, 80% of the feeling of suffering is caused by your own mind – so, instead of thinking about all the things you won’t be able to do, I advise you to return to yourself. You can always change your own thoughts. Think about ways to develop yourself and get to know yourself better. Ask yourself: How can I be the best kind of company to myself?

3) Build on your strengths – creativity, hope and humor will help you in any situation

It has been found that when people learn to get to know themselves through their strengths, they will be able to use their strengths as tools for coping in difficult situations. Creativity, hope and humor will help you during the coronavirus summer. Build your mental balance on them.

4) Decide beforehand that this will be a great summer holiday

If you have already decided that this summer is going to be terrible, your mind won’t be active. People tend to be more active when they approach things with hope. So don’t focus on obstacles. Instead, think about all the things you can do now, such as exercise, domestic travel or getting to spend time with friends and family.

5) Learn to let go and value the little things that make you happy

Let go of the idea that the right kind of summer holiday involves travelling to some ideal destination far away from home. Even though letting go can be hard, try not to compare. This summer, try to enjoy the little things that make you happy! Enthusiasm and joy can be found in very little things, such as a new summer hobby like rollerblading.

6) Feeling a little worried is normal, and caution supports wellbeing

Even in the summer, it’s good to remember that feeling a little worried during these uncertain times in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic is normal. And right now, caution is good for the wellbeing of both you and your loved ones. If your worries start turning into fear and affecting your sleep or other parts of your daily life, it’s a good idea to look for someone to talk to.

7) Don’t gloss over difficult things – ask for help when you need it

Not talking about things and glossing over them may lead to you being left to deal with them alone. Be honest if your life feels difficult and stressful; for example, if uncertainty about your employment is making you worried about your financial situation. More minor things, such as difficulty finding a quiet space to focus while working from home or poor work ergonomics, can also pose challenges. Ask for help, talk, discuss and process the situation honestly. Occupational health care professionals can support you in this.

8) Take care of yourself regularly to maintain a good everyday life

Taking care of yourself is something that you should be doing all the time and not just during holidays. Regularly ask yourself what you’re hoping for and what you’re missing, what you need more of and what you need less. If you do this, the difference between everyday life and holidays won’t be that big, and you will also be able to recover from work in your everyday life.

The expert for this article was Occupational Psychologist Alberto Sancho from Mehiläinen Oulu