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Beating the blues: Imposter syndrome and the ‘Covid effect’!

mental health blue monday image for blog with pop up message

Blue Monday is approaching and although the date has sparked controversy in recent years, we felt it was an opportunity to open up the conversation around mental health, in general and pertaining to the tech sector. Monday 18th marks Blue Monday, otherwise known as ‘the most depressing day of the year’ due to an unsavoury combination of gloomy weather, Christmas blues, post-festivity financial strain and now the added pressures that accompany a global pandemic. It can be daunting as pressure mounts on the lead up to the date so we’ve compiled some tips and advice on how we can help one another beat the blues this year. 

Imposter Syndrome  

The Oxford Dictionary defines the term as: ‘the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.’  

Imposter syndrome can impact anyone, but due to stereotypes surrounding and role models within the tech sector, it is familiar to many working within the industry that perhaps don’t ‘fit’ the narrative, despite the industries inherent progressive nature. Naturally, this can have a knock-on effect on mental health. The anxiety and self-doubt that comes with Imposter syndrome can prohibit individuals from reaching their full potential. Once recognised, coping strategies can be put in place such as a ‘win jar’ (or file) where you can store reviews or achievements that offer positive endorsement. It is important to remember that not everyone can do what you do. Whilst navigating the new norm over the past year, some of the prominent challenges have been a lack of structure and interaction. This, however, leaves room for exploring alternative communities. There is a massive support network both on and offline, from events to forums, for like-minded individuals in all sectors! Check out some of the virtual events available here.

Covid Effect  

The coronavirus pandemic has infiltrated every aspect of our daily lives and for some the physical and mental impact has been severe. The pandemic has added new stressors, intensified pre-existing factors, and in many cases, increased disparity. With the third UK lockdown in motion and most of the economy working remotely again, physical interaction is at a minimum which can feel incredibly isolating.  

‘Worse mental health is linked with poorer social and economic circumstances. This includes living in poverty, having low-quality or low paid work, unemployment and poor housing.’ 

– Public Health England

Here’s some tips to improve motivation and tackle negativity: 

  1. Reach out – Message a friend or colleague. Many are fighting battles and sometimes just a simple catch up can be a mood booster, especially when working remotely.  
  2. Exercise – Gyms are closed but utilise your daily walk. Keeping active will improve your overall well-being and increase your vitamin D levels, which we’re all in short supply of at the moment! 
  3. Goals – We know that New Year’s resolutions and daily planners aren’t for everyone but writing a checklist with small tasks to complete throughout the day can help you feel more productive and accomplished.  
  4. Take a break – It can be a struggle to switch off, especially when working from home, but make sure to allocate yourself breaks and stick to them! Whatever circumstance you’re in right now, don’t feel guilty about allowing yourself time to rest. 

For more advice, check out some of the resources listed below:

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