It’s clear that the current Covid-19 crisis is affecting us all on many levels, no matter whether you’re a student, graduate, or experienced designer.
I’ve heard from so many final year students who have been plunged into uncertainty for their futures in fashion, with the cancellation of their degree shows and GFW, and are wrangling with the mental and financial impact of this.
Designers who are already working in the industry are trying to come to terms with juggling working from home, the prospect of redundancy, and in some cases, being on furlough already. Offset against the fact that many brands and fashion companies are going into administration, it’s not surprising that many designers and creatives are struggling with their mental health right now.
For some – me included, I might add – there’s also the added feeling of guilt, of feeling bad for worrying about the state of fashion, when there’s so much else going on in the world.
In our interview with Eleanor Chapman, a final year student at Kingston University, she relayed:
“Last week especially, I felt completely destabilized and so overwhelmed with stress. I cried a fair amount, mainly because I didn’t know what I was feeling or how to deal with it.
I also felt really selfish for being so upset about fashion when other people were losing a lot more than me (business, family members, etc), which then in turn made me feel even worse.”
We spoke to Kate Hogan, Therapist and Life Coach, who has extensive experience of working with designers and creatives, both in her current role, and as a recruiter of design talent in her previous career.
Kate, taking all the above into account, what are your 3 top tips for Designers and students, for taking care of their mental and emotional well-being right now?
- Focus on what you can control, not the things you can’t.
We can control things like what we eat, exercise, our news consumption, the thoughts we choose to have (to an extent!), our daily routine. We can’t control the pandemic and the wider impact, the job market, other people and what they choose to do. Accepting this and just focusing on what you can influence really helps with mental and emotional wellbeing.
- Have a daily ‘brain dump’
Write out all your worries, fears, thoughts – totally uncensored. They need somewhere to go, otherwise they just snowball in your head. You will definitely feel better after getting it all out.
- Manage your expectations of yourself
We are all trying to process and adjust to what is going on, we’re anxious, overwhelmed and maybe experiencing feelings of grief. All of this results in brain fog and lack of ability to concentrate. Don’t expect to be super productive in this time, set yourself smaller goals – whether it’s one new project for your portfolio, or updating your CV. Better to achieve something small, than set unrealistic targets and achieve nothing.
Clearly, the fashion industry is going to take an enormous hit financially in the coming months, and this will take its toll on many designers and brands. However, can you envisage any positives coming out of this?
Absolutely! I believe this period offers up an opportunity for changing the way we work, giving us more flexibility as companies now know working from home does work. As designers have been forced to adjust their creative process, I think incredible results could ensue with new ways of working and collaborating. People will re-evaluate their priorities and hopefully brands will have a new appreciation for their people over their product (which of course is important too).
Please could you give us an insight into the services you’re currently providing for people who are looking for some direction?
I’m currently offering discounted coaching for anyone with a low income – graduates, freelancers, those who have been furloughed or not in employment. During sessions, we can look at issues ranging from managing anxiety, confidence building, gaining clarity on what you want, change of career direction and creating a step by step plan to facilitate it. I’m also running online Stress Management webinars for businesses who want to support their teams and their wellbeing in this challenging time. You can contact me @ firstname.lastname@example.org via my website www.katehogan.co.uk or via Instagram @katehogan_wellbeing