03 Jun Coping With Mental Block During Covid-19
Have you ever had ‘one of those days’? You know, the ones where you sit down at your desk and you just can’t get your brain to work. You can’t focus, you struggle to do any actual work, and you usually end up getting frustrated and not being very productive?
Yeah, it sucks. It’s called mental block (or creative block, or even brain freeze), and it can happen to pretty much anyone, at any time. During Covid-19, with so much more on everyone’s plates, we’ve been hearing more and more stories of business owners struggling with mental block. And when it goes from just being frustrating to actively harming your productivity, then you can start to feel as though you’re in real trouble. Don’t worry – you’re not. Like all things in life, mental block does pass, and you will be back to your old, productive self in no time. But just in case you want to move things along, here are 4 ways you can break the mental block and get yourself back in the right headspace to work.
Take A Break From Technology
Humanity in general was much less susceptible to mental blocks when we weren’t so surrounded by technology, screens and work. Our brain simply can’t keep consuming the huge amounts of data we do all day and still perform properly. But the only way to really stop that data download is to step away from the technology altogether. So leave your computer, tablet and phone at your desk, and take some time to detox. Avoid the TV as well – this will just replace the data with something else. Instead, disconnect fully and take some you time. Take a short walk, have a cup of coffee or even a short nap (if you can). Taking short breaks away from technology can do wonders for your concentration.
Change Your Workspace
Granted, Covid-19 has probably changed your workspace already, but even so, a switch around might be exactly what you need. We are the product of the things around us and the environment we are in, and sometimes that can be the problem. If you’ve been working at the kitchen table for the last 11 weeks, maybe now is the time to try working in the spare room instead. If you have your workspace set up a certain way, have a play with some of the elements and see if that helps. Either way, a change in workspace can be a great way to beat the mental block. The way that happens is different for everyone. We know some people who rearrange their offices when they need a change, some who just buy a new set of stationary and some who even change the colour of the walls! However small or large, changing your workspace can give you that refreshed feeling that unblocks your mind and helps you focus again.
Change Your Scenery
This one is a little bit of a challenge right now (though doable), but will become easier as the lockdown lifts. Sometimes, all you need is some new scenery – especially if you’ve been staring at the same 4 walls for a long time. For now, that might mean taking the laptop and working in the garden, or on a bench in your nearby park (while observing social distancing of course). As things start to improve, you can move into different work spaces and see what works for you. For example, if the butt-print in your chair has this project’s name on it, try going to a coffee shop or co-working space to get a fresh perspective. Whatever the change – make it a real one. The human mind is great at building powerful associations between places and certain activities, and unfortunately being stressed and frustrated is just another ‘activity’ to the brain. So the more you stay in that space and stew, the more likely you are to feel unhappy and blocked every time you enter that space.
Do Something Creative
The best way to open your mind up and get yourself ready to work again is to engage in something creative. Of course, if your work is creative that means you need to step outside and do something different! So take up a hobby, write a story, draw a picture, read a book – do anything that makes you feel creative and activates the right side of your brain. Most of us will use the left side of our brain (i.e. the logical bit) most of the time at work, so giving it a rest and letting the right brain (i.e. the creative bit) can help get your mind off the frustration and relieve mental block.
Of course, everyone’s minds work in different ways, so what works for us might not work for you. We’ve become very familiar with mental block over the years, and have built our own coping mechanisms for it – which is what we encourage you to do too. If you have any suggestions to cope with mental block, we’d love to hear them! Or even if you just want to talk organisation with us, please just get in touch and we’d be happy to help!