Since Covid has hit, especially while we were in lockdown, we have all been told to ‘pivot’, to change the way we do business, to utilise technology so that we can connect with family and friends and work from home. As a result, many of us have been spending much of our day online working from home or on zoom – in meetings, on training courses, networking, home schooling or even bingeing on TV/Netflix.
While I’ve enjoyed the benefits of hopping from one online gathering to the next without needing to leave home or even getting dressed up, I have also felt the effects of too much screen time and taking on too many commitments, the manic schedule of back to back online events, jumping from one online meeting to the next often missing the end of one and/or the start of the next one especially if they go slightly over time.
For all the convenience, you can also have too much of a good thing. For some of us, this ‘new normal’ in our daily routine has been a welcome opportunity to stay home and maximise our activities with a minimum of fuss. For others it has been stressful leading to burnout caused by too much intensity of activity or screen time or the lack of face-to-face connection, while conversely others have felt the complete opposite in what I call ‘bailout’, meaning they‘ve become withdrawn for the same reason as those who experienced burnout. The stress of too much activity compressed into their day, week after week has caused them to remove themselves emotionally from their world, their family, friends and/or workmates.
Naturally, neither burnout or bailout is good for us, either physically, mentally or emotionally. The answer is to lighten up. Give yourself a break – literally and figuratively! The best way to deal with either of these feelings is to stop and take stock!
Some simple steps to change the pattern:
- Stop the manic schedule, determine what IS a priority and what isn’t.
- Determine which online activities need your presence and which don’t. Do you really need to attend each event?
- Is there another way you can meet your needs ie without the need to attend or watch the replay. Or maybe the replay will give you that much needed breather from a very heavy day to shift to one that has a lighter load. Or maybe you just don’t need to attend it anyway. Is it appropriate for you to delegate? Or maybe reschedule to a later date?
- Do something simple, easy and free that lifts your spirits – get in touch with nature; go walking; listen to your favourite music; do yoga / exercise / dance; journal your feelings/your joys/your aspirations; start a gratitude journal.
- Meet a friend for coffee if you aren’t in lockdown, practise social distancing.
- Practise random acts of kindness, thinking of others gets us out of our own heads and away from our own problems and is guaranteed to lift your spirits.
Life is too short to be miserable. And if this is our ‘new normal’, then a new approach is very much called for. You don’t have to do this alone. Reach out to someone who can help – a family, friend, colleague, coach.