Last summer we wrote an article on managing mental health in your business; needless to say, the landscape of the industry today is quite different to what it was in July 2019. Coronavirus has impacted our daily lives to an extent we never could have foreseen; affecting our ability to maintain contact with friends, family and colleagues in a way we had previously taken for granted. When you add in the implications of the virus on businesses, on finances – on our dreams and livelihoods, it’s hardly surprising that so many of us are experiencing poor mental health.

The impact on our sector

We’ve felt the impact of coronavirus acutely in our industry with markets, festivals, and corporate events to name but a few, all grinding to a halt. Not only has this been difficult, but a lot of mobile caterers have found themselves exempt from government subsidies, meaning they’ve had to adapt their business model or else risk closure.

The emotional impact of your business being threatened by something totally out of your control cannot be underestimated. Even for those businesses who have been successful in their temporary transitions to delivery models; big decisions such as one to furlough staff or else make redundancies, is an incredibly difficult to decision to make and implement.

Advice from those in the know

We’ve gathered some information from the experts on how to take care of your mental health at this time. See below for some suggestions from the experts, as well as links to those organisations best placed to help you and your staff at this challenging time:

Reliable sources

Mentalhealth.org.uk recommends “avoiding speculation” and sticking to reputable sources of information, such as Gov.uk, Health Protection Scotland and Public Health Wales. This doesn’t just apply to facts relating to the virus either; it’s vital that businesses get their information reputable sources also. If you’re unsure of the facts or what they mean for your business, consult credible sources such as gov.uk, ACAS or our own Coronavirus Hub.

Try to stay connected

Mentalhealth.org are also emphasizing the benefits of staying in touch with friends, family and colleagues whether that be by video call, social media or a good old-fashioned phone call. It might also be a good time to have a cull of your social media – ensure you’re following people who provide reliable, factual information and try to steer clear of sensationalist stories. If you’re struggling with your mental health and would like impartial, emotional support, you can contact the Samaritans on 116 123.

The need for nutrition

Mental health charity, Mind have stressed the need for good nutrition at this time. Simple things like eating regularly and keeping your blood sugar stable can help your mood and energy levels. It’s also important to drink water regularly; “drinking enough water is important for your mental and physical health. Changing your routine might affect when you drink or what fluids you drink. It could help to set an alarm or an app to remind you.”

Looking after your team, colleagues and customers

Our interactions with our colleagues punctuate our days and without them, our daily social interactions plummet. Taking advantage of technology is a good way to maintain communication and/or collaboration with team members throughout this time. Microsoft Teams, Zoom and Skype and even Whats App, all provide the opportunity for us to connect with colleagues.

Checking in with your team members regularly is important – for furloughed staff too who will likely be feeling more disconnected from the business than others.

Social media is also a great resource for staying in touch with your customers; they’ll undoubtedly be rooting for your business and be interested in any updates you have. For many customers, attending your business for their weekly burger fix or their daily caffeine rush, will be something they’re missing in their day to day lives – check in with them, let them know that you miss them too and hopefully once normal service resumes, you’ll have them queuing around the corner.

We’re in it together

These are just a few suggestions at what is an extremely challenging time for many of us around the world, but we hope you can take heed of these recommendations and hopefully implement them to help improve or maintain your mental health throughout the coronavirus pandemic.

Remember, this is a difficult time for everyone in one way or another; whether we’re worrying about our business, our family or our own health, we’re all in the same boat. Communication is more key than ever before, so stay in touch with those around you – that message reaching out to someone or a random act of kindness means now more than ever. And remember – this won’t last forever.

For more comprehensive advice and resources on managing your mental wellbeing at this time, please see the below:

www.mind.org.uk

www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/coronavirus-covid-19-anxiety-tips/

www.mentalhealth.org.uk/publications/looking-after-your-mental-health-during-coronavirus-outbreak

www.who.int/docs/default-source/coronaviruse/mental-health-considerations.pdf