Today, we want to take a moment to look beyond the headlines and offer you some practical and actionable tips that’ll help you take care of your mental health during these anxious and stressful times.
The coronavirus outbreak has disrupted the wedding photography business unlike ever before. The world is on lock down, and most weddings have been postponed until further notice.
We all know the seriousness of this virus, and we all know what it’s going to mean for our photography businesses — but we *are* going to get through this, and there is light at the end of the tunnel.
And although you might be struggling to feel positive right now, there are many steps you can take that will make this period easier, healthier and surprisingly more productive than you might’ve first thought.
Let’s take a step back for a moment and focus on what you can do to care for your mental health as a photographer during COVID-19.
#1 — Face your feelings head on, and don’t be afraid to feel down
In times like these, it is inevitable that you’re going to have a few off days. You’re worried, you’re stressed, you’re confused, you’re frustrated — but that’s okay, and it’s not something you should feel bad about, or try to avoid.
Sometimes we can feel bad about something, and then only feel worse by pretending that we’re not all that bothered by it. It’s a cycle that is all too easy to fall into, and it’s really not the best way to handle your emotions right now.
Instead, try to understand, accept and embrace all the negativity you’re feeling at the moment. It may sound counterintuitive, but taking this approach will be really cathartic, and will, believe it or not, help to reframe your perspective in a positive way.
Vent your feelings, and then pick yourself back up again. Confronting the reality of this virus is what’s best for your mental health — not denying yourself the right to be human.
We really like this article on how to approach this process in the same way you would grief.
#2 — Remember that all of this is totally out of your hands
Us photographers are a pretty resolute bunch when it comes to perfection. We’re always keeping ourselves busy, paying attention to the smallest of details and quickly overcoming problems with little trouble.
We strive in an environment where we’re in charge — it’s our job, after all, to bring everything together and keep everyone on the right track.
But during this virus, you’ve got to be kind to yourself and realize that there really isn’t anything you can do right now to turn the tide.
Aside from staying at home and keeping yourself safe, this global pandemic is well and truly out of your hands.
So, instead of driving yourself crazy and wishing you could make everything better (both for yourself and the rest of the world), try to remind yourself that there’s nothing more you can do.
Accept that things are going to be a bit rocky for now but find peace in how this is all totally beyond your control — for once!
And if you’re keen to take back some of that control, spend your newly freed up time working on improving your skills, updating your website and taking a moment to complete some much-needed life admin.
Control what you can and accept what you can’t. Your mental health will thank you for it!
#3 — Stay in touch with other photographers
As the world introduces tough measures on social distancing, you might be feeling a little lonely right now, and totally removed from the world of photography — but we promise it doesn’t have to be that way.
Thanks to social media, you could use this downtime as an opportunity to connect with photographer friends, old and new.
If ever there was a time for solidarity in our industry, it’s now!
So many of us are going to be facing great uncertainty and stress, and one way to get through all this is to stick together and offer our mutual support.
Join photography Facebook pages (like ours at DBMH), group chats and support groups and share your ideas and inspiration on how to get through this tricky period.
We’re all in the same boat together, and making that tangible is one of the best ways to look after your mental health during this pandemic.
You’ll see that you’re not alone and that there is a way through this. It’s just going to take a little bit of time, support and unity.
#4 — Use technology productively, both to the advantage of yourself and your business
Just as technology can be great for connecting to other photographers, excessive use could also quite quickly be bad for your mental health, too.
So, instead of scrolling through social media all day, wishing that none of this was happening (we’re all guilty of it!) — why not use technology as a way to look after both yourself, and your career, in this difficult time?
As well as using social media to help bridge the gap between you and your friends, then, it’s also a good idea to take some time to make sure your photography social channels are all up to date, well-managed and looking the best they can.
You could also use your free time to work on your editing skills, too, ready for when you get back to work. Who knows, maybe you could even be better at what you do thanks to this unwanted period, if you really put your mind to it?
And in terms of looking after your mental health more explicitly with technology, we recommend downloading different self-care apps, like Headspace for meditation, and yoga apps like SimplyYoga, to really stay on top of your mental well-being when it’s needed most.
Self-isolating doesn’t mean you have to neglect yourself. Use the resources we’re all so lucky to have nowadays, and channel them to keeping yourself well.
#5 — Get some fresh air!
Although the world is on lock down, and self-isolation is the only way we can prevent the spread of this virus — that doesn’t mean you can’t get some fresh air (unless you’re on total lock down, anyway).
In fact, a bit of time outdoors (or even just letting in some air) can do wonders for your mental health, and it’s something you should try to do at least once a day to try and feel a little less trapped.
A quick — but safe and sensible — walk outside will make you feel ten times better than staying cooped up indoors all day. And the exercise you’ll get will help to keep both your mind and body feeling active, which is key to looking after your general well-being, too.
So, whether it’s by walking, sitting in the garden or opening up your window and letting in the breeze, incorporate fresh air into your daily routine and your mental health will be all the better for it.
Just because there’s a virus, doesn’t mean you should stop taking care of yourself. Remember that!
To all our photographers out there, keep calm and don’t worry — you’ve got this!
Listen, you *can* and *will* pull through this.
You’ll still have a camera and your talent once this virus has passed, and there will be hundreds of weddings all waiting to reschedule soon.
And whilst none of us really know what’s going to happen next, there’s no reason trying to control something you can’t. Instead, focus on yourself, your skills and your mental health — use this time to really look after yourself, and prepare for the future.
In the meantime, keep focusing on the positives, stay strong and keep safe. Also keep yourself well informed of the stimulus packages that your government is arranging to help you manage the economic downturn in the short term.
We’ll be updating our blog with advice on what to do next, and we’ll be here for you over the coming weeks and months, just like usual.
Keep safe, and we’ll see you next time.
Connection is what it’s all about. Feel free to reach out to us with any comments or questions you might have, even if it’s only to say hello. If it wasn’t for our beautiful community, this place just wouldn’t feel the same.