I have spent over a year virtually locked in my home, a similar story at your end as well, I guess. Our lives disrupted by elements beyond our control! A global pandemic. A black swan event! Even the best of us are feeling overwhelmed by the uncertainty of life, the stress of the unknown at the workplace, and the fear of losing loved ones.
Twelve months in, the vaccine roll outs may have eased some of the anxiety, but we are still not free of the virus.
Our emotional, mental and physical well-being are under duress. If you like me feel overwhelmed, stressed or fatigued on some days, don’t be too hard on yourself. It is simply the toll that the uncertainty of the times has brought upon us.
How do we sail through this prolonged turmoil and embrace this uncertainty? Here are some things we can do:
Take that moment when you need it
Juggling between work, household chores, parenting and being locked in our homes can overwhelm the best of us. When you feel things getting out of hand just pause, take a deep breath. Pause and breathe some more. Yes, long deep breaths are what you need to take. The age-old tried and tested method is the easiest way to calm yourself. And remind yourself that you are not alone, yes things may feel way too overwhelming but in this pandemic, you are not alone. Close your eyes, take deep breaths and transport yourself to your place of calm -a beach, or a valley or the mountains.
Acknowledge your feelings
Continue to use break times with colleagues, spouses or friends to express how you are feeling. What are some of the things causing you pain or bothering you? If you are anxious or worried about something talking to another person will help. It may also allow them, in turn, to open up and express their emotions and feelings too. The pandemic has shown us that there is no harm in being vulnerable. Everyone is going through stress and uncertainty and expressing it is not unhealthy.
This is also an opportunity for those of you in leadership roles to check on your team’s wellbeing and open up healthy discussion around how people in the team are coping and what is weighing them down. Sometimes all we need to do is share and unburden.
Put up some boundaries and respect them
With lines between the weekend and workdays getting blurred it is important for you to draw your own boundaries. Reserve some activities that you do on the weekend that help you break away from your five-day work routine. Spend time with family members, call friends or spend time with a book, take a walk or just sit and watch a movie or show. Use the time to help you feel better. Do what makes you feel better.
Rember this is about survival
This time is about survival, about overcoming a virus either through fighting it back or by avoiding it through all possible precautions. Your life is the priority so don’t be irresponsible or lax when it comes to your health. Do everything you can to take care of yourself. As a leader or manager reiterate the same to your team.