The global pandemic has abruptly changed the way we live. The majority of us are now working from home – a challenging transition adding to the disruption to normal routine. During any time of uncertainty, we may feel anxious and overwhelmed, and this can impact our ability to cope with challenges and working effectively. It is therefore absolutely normal to feel stressed, worried and vulnerable during this period of extreme disruption. The current pandemic is a rare situation that can trigger our minds to repeatedly think worst-case scenarios. It is important to note that worry is not just happening in our minds. We feel anxiety in our bodies, with symptoms that can include muscle tension or aches, shortness of breath, tightness in the chest, becoming easily fatigued, feeling unable to relax and having trouble sleeping. Below are a few practical tips to help you manage your levels of Covid-19-related stress and anxiety, and how to make the most out of working from home. From our experience, it is the small steps that can make the biggest difference.
- Maintain positive social connections. As we are asked to practice social distancing, many of us may become physically isolated from loved ones. Maintaining meaningful connections with others is vital for our mental wellbeing – it can relieve stress and help us cope during these challenging times. Use available technologies such as video calls to open up to others about how you’re feeling, to share your experiences and to support friends and family members.
- Structure your day. Giving some structure to your day can reinstate a sense of normality and increase your productivity. During your workday, set a specific start and end-time to your working hours and take a scheduled lunch break. Disconnect from work-related accounts (e.g. email) or tasks at the end of your workday. This can help set clear boundaries between your work life and personal life.
- Stay active. Make sure you schedule in some form of physical activity once a day. This could range from doing domestic chores, organising your room, to playing with your children. There are numerous online exercise classes being offered at the moment (many are free). Staying physically active is essential for supporting healthy immune function and boosting your mood during quarantine.
- Reduce anxiety triggers. As the health crisis continues to develop, we may feel a need to monitor the news more frequently for updates. Notice what specific items trigger your worries and anxiety throughout the day. If watching the news for more than 30 minutes increases your anxiety and stress, set aside a specific time to check for updates and limit the amount of time you watch the news to once per day.
- Practice gratitude. Spend a few minutes per day thinking about at least 3 things that you are grateful for. From the macro (e.g. the doctors and hospital staff on the front-line of the pandemic) to the micro level (e.g. spending more meaningful time with family). We know from research that practising gratitude reduces stress and symptoms of depression and helps us get better sleep. Find new things each day to be thankful for and encourage others to do the same. Finding meaning in the midst of this crisis can increase your resilience.
How can we help…
COVID-19 Webinars & Coaching
We are offering a series of webinars to our clients specifically designed as a practical, rapid response to the COVID-19 pandemic. These webinars have been created by expert psychologists using evidence based principles.
Our webinar ‘How to Handle Anxiety in a Time of Crisis’ is suitable for individuals who are feeling overwhelmed or who are managing others who are feeling overwhelmed and anxious. It targets those who are time poor, looking for ways to handle anxiety more skillfully and are seeking to reflect on what ‘wise action’ to take in the face of anxiety during this crisis.
‘How to Maintain Resilience When Working From Home’ identifies ways to maintain your mental health whilst maximising performance. The objectives are to discover new ways to effectively manage the psychological aspects of working from home (e.g. isolation, loss, anxiety), to take back control over our working lives and to explore key factors in generating purpose, hope and meaning out of this crisis.
Our Sleep Webinars provide invaluable advice on how to improve sleep issues resulting from disrupted routines or where high levels of anxiety exist. We offer additional 1 to 1 coaching support to supplement any specific issues.
Our 1-to-1 virtual coaching (a 60 minute high-impact session) provides practical and psychological support.
How we can help… COVID-19 Webinars & Coaching
For a brochure of our full offerings or further details please contact James Webb (firstname.lastname@example.org)