Furloughing: Keeping busy in your downtime

If you've been furloughed, it may seem daunting to know you have an extended period of downtime ahead. We share ways to keep your mind and body active during these unprecedented times.

Yugi the Giraffe - 29 April 2020

If you’re one of over six million UK employees who are currently enrolled in the government furlough scheme, the idea of having an extended period of downtime might be another source of anxiety, especially if you’re self-isolating. What can you do to fill the time?  

Although it is easy to see the negatives in being furloughed, it also presents an opportunity for you to not only survive but thrive. Here are some ways to keep both your brain and your body active during this unprecedented time.

Maintain a routine

Right now, it might seem incredibly easy to slip into a Tiger King binge watch and lose track of what day it is. Hey, we’ve all been there. But, having a routine can be integral to keeping a good handle on your mental health - Parents will be familiar with how important it is for their kids! Set wake up and sleep times, plan meals and factor in breaks for exercise.

Every day at noon until the end of May, YuLife is running 10 minute “Yubreaks” through both Facebook and Instagram that aims to reboot your brain, posture, mobility and breathing. With personal trainer JC’s 9+ years of experience, you’ll be sure to come away with some useful exercises to work into your daily routine.

Take care of both your physical and mental health

Self-care: The practice of taking an active role in protecting one's own well-being and happiness, in particular during periods of stress.

Self-care has become a huge wellbeing trend in the last couple of years and has never been more relevant today. People are taking time out to look after both their physical and mental health, be it through an online exercise class, a bubble bath or meditation.

YuLife inspires users of all fitness levels to get active with rewards for walking, running and cycling. You can also log mindful minutes through apps like Calm and Headspace to earn yucoin that can in turn be redeemed for discounts, vouchers and even Avios!

Try a new hobby or learn a skill

Have you seen a huge influx of banana bread posts on Instagram recently? Clearly, now is the time to perfect a batch of brownies or try your hand at a tiramisu! You could even take this one step further with a weekly competition among your friends and family. If baking’s not your bag, why not try learning a language with an app like Duolingo?

Make sure you utilise all of your company's EAP and wellbeing benefits

While you’re furloughed, you will still have full access to your company’s EAP and wellbeing benefits. YuMatter, YuLife’s employee assistance program, aims to help employees weather any storm and addresses a range of queries; from career coaching to computerised Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, YuLife wants you to get the most value out of your cover. Feeling unwell? With YuLife partner AIG’s SmartHealth app, you have access to a virtual GP 24/7 so you can get the help you need, even whilst self-isolating.

Keep in touch with friends, colleagues and others in your industry

In our recent post on how tech is being used to enable wellbeing, we highlighted how maintaining connections with your work friends and colleagues is important, just like it is with friends and loved ones. Apps like Zoom, Facetime and Microsoft Teams are helping people to keep in touch safely. Set up one-on-one time with team members, as well as virtual mixers - to lighten the mood, each team member can pick one theme or activity a week, including pub quizzes and bingo.

Be kind and stay safe

Remember not to be tough on yourself during furlough; there are days when you won’t feel like being productive, and that’s okay too. Chances are, a lot of people feel the same as you. Take time away from social media (yes, even banana bread posts) and the news when you can to give yourself a moment to recharge.

Want to know how YuLife can help boost mental and physical wellbeing? Get in contact and speak to one of our experts today!

Yugi the Giraffe

Yugi is our YuLife mascot. Like all giraffes they've got a big heart – in fact the biggest heart of all land animals.