Anyone’s job can be stressful at the best of times and an interpreter’s job is intense more often than not. However, we are now living through unprecedented times when a lot of businesses have had to put their operations on hold while we try to deal with COVID-19 globally. Every single industry has been affected and if some professionals have experienced a massive drop in orders, other areas, such as healthcare and farming, are under strain because there are simply not enough resources.
This week Small Business Saturday UK ran an online session with Psychotherapist Alexis Powell-Howard of Fortis Therapy and Training where Alexis shared practical tips on how to stay in control of your mental health during these difficult times. So what can we do to help ourselves?
Alexis mentions a scaling strategy where you rate your mood on a scale of 0 to 10 and, depending on the score you give yourself, you need to think what you could do to move one step higher. It may be baking a cake, watching a feel-good movie, doing some gardening – something to make you happier.
Another thing to watch out for is catastrophic thinking. It is understandable that you need to think through all possible scenarios awaiting you in this crisis, but getting stuck in the worst case scenario mode can be detrimental for your health. Work with what you know, try not to be sucked in by irrational thoughts and conspiracy theories because the ultimate outcome may well be better than you expect now. Thinking too much about what might happen won’t change it but will upset you immensely. We have to accept that some things are simply out of our control.
Talk to positive people, we all know “mood hoovers” in our circles of friends, these are people who are obsessed with doom and gloom and suck all the positivity out of others. Keep in touch with people who emanate hope; now that some countries, including the UK, are in lockdown, this can be done remotely by phone, Skype, Zoom and other platforms.
If you have time on your hands because your company has temporarily closed down and there is little you can do from home, do things which have been on your to-do list for ages, take part in webinars, a lot of experts across industries have been offering advice for free.
And be grateful for what you already have: a nice, warm home, well-behaved children who may be funnily cheeky at times - basic things you took for granted before. Appreciation is a massive antidote to fear which will make you less anxious and be more kind to yourself.
These are some of Alexis’s tips. Last year the Institute of Translation and Interpreting also ran a webinar on interpreting and the care of the self, where Rachel Byron of Wrexham Glyndwr University recommended making a box of delights. This comfort box with little things such as a photo, a twig of lavender, a collection of notes with your customers’ words of appreciation and other stuff will bring back nice memories and invoke positive emotions. Open your box at challenging times and relax...
Bake a cake - treat yourself!
[Tip: If your company is trying to communicate with staff and clients in Russian-speaking countries in relation to the coronavirus pandemic, please get in touch with us to have your message translated into Russian by email: email@example.com]