How to manage your mental health as an apprentice during COVID-19

Euan Wilcox

The COVID-19 pandemic has delivered unprecedented disruption for every business. Many have had to shut their offices and shift to creating a virtual business environment instead. Workers have experienced a sudden shift in surroundings, now experiencing working full-time in their own homes, a location previously associated with relaxation, meaning many are taking a while to adjust.

Due to these changes, it is vital to focus on our physical and mental wellbeing. Less human interaction, combined with new work routines, affect apprentices directly. Many of us have not long transitioned out of education and into the professional world of work, meaning many of us are feeling extremely isolated. Even those further into their apprenticeship journey, this may be even harder to adjust to as you may receive less support and contact time. 

It is completely normal and fine to feel dejected right now. This state of the world is unusual, but remember, it won’t last forever. Whilst it continues however, there are ways to try and help yourself adapt and come to grips with the situation.

Most importantly, find out what help is available within your organisation. Everyone needs to look out for each other now, with many organisations having set up employee support if it had not yet existed. Familiarise yourself with this support, even if you feel like you don’t need it currently. Knowing where to turn to in the future could be important, this will also allow you to steer others, who are in need of help, in the right direction. If there is no support within your organisation, external support is always available.

If you’re feeling low, make sure you speak to someone. Speak to your direct manager to inform them, their responsibility is to look after you, if you need time away from work then they will not hesitate to grant this.

Due to so many others being in the same situation, it is important to keep in touch digitally, even if you feel like you have no motivation to do so. Set up calls within the week to take a break from work and just catch-up. Potentially make these daily, with a clear slot in your calendar showing that this is your break. 

Adapt your routine. A positive to the current situation and most people working from home is that you are able to tailor your day. Set clear slots for breaks, to get fresh air, to have a walk, etc. Any time away from a screen will help you feel less tired at the end of the day. 

Lastly, ensure you look after your physical health. It may be difficult if you’re feeling anxious or low, but, taking small steps to look after your body can have a big effect on your mental health. Eat regularly and keep hydrated, keep active if you can, and ensure you are getting enough sleep. 

Remember, this situation won’t last forever. Please look out for yourself and others during this time.

Euan Wilcox, Business Transformation Consultant, IBM
L6 Chartered Business Management Degree Apprentice