No, REALLY, how are you doing?
I suppose it’s only natural that our knee-jerk response to this question is “fine” and we probably answer that without really looking inside to check out how we’re really feeling.
There’s been a lot that’s been written and discussed about the impact that this global pandemic is having on our mental health. Certainly from lots of the conversations that I’ve had lately, there’s a lot of us feeling the weight of stress & overwhelm right now.
For some that’s the challenge and stress of trying to work from home while juggling childcare and family life. For others there’s uncertainty about the future. There’s loneliness, loss and grief, not forgetting the usual family and life stuff that crops up in the middle of all of this.
With so much going on, lots of the people that I speak to talk about the challenge of switching off and/or allowing work to take over an increasingly larger part of the day. It feels like an unsustainable level of stress and one that is definitely taking its toll on peoples’ mental and physical wellbeing.
Taking time to rest, switch off and detach is not just important, it’s critical to our mental and physical wellbeing. Psychologists1 have found that those of us who truly leave work behind when we finish work or go on holiday, are happier, more productive and more resilient. I guess at the moment, for lots of reasons, this may actually be easier said than done.
Perhaps your workspace is now your dining table or spare room? Suddenly the boundaries between work and home are more than a little blurred. We don’t have the usual commute time which lots of people use as a run up to the day and it provides that essential space to reflect on your day and to “decompress”, when we leave the office for home. Lots of the people that I talk to describe long, relentless days that are draining, overwhelming and thoroughly exhausting.
Is that you?
Here’s some of the ideas that we’ve come up with, for clients who’ve had the same challenges. See if these give you any inspiration for what you could do yourself;
Structure your day.
Structure your day as you would if you were going to your workplace. Start and finish at your usual time. Make a conscious decision about what’s OK for you in terms of start and end times. I know there will always be times when we have to start earlier or finish later to get the work done – but for the most part this is about being clear on what you are prepared to do and what works for you.
Create commute time.
If you like your commute time to plan or reflect on your day – find a daily activity that allows you to maintain that. It might be a walk around the block. Half an hour in your car or just a few minutes to sit quietly before you start your day to gather your thoughts. I know for one client, they liked to start with a coffee and a notebook, for just 15 minutes to gather their thoughts and think about their day before booting up the PC.
Break it up.
Make sure to take regular breaks in the day. I’ve spoken about this soooo many times before. Regular, short breaks not only make us feel better, but we’re more productive. It really is a no brainer!!! I know lots of people miss the quick catch ups with co-workers – so why not schedule one a couple of times a week? It’s not ideal over VC but it’s better than nothing isn’t it?!
Ending your day.
When you’re in the workplace you probably have a regular routine at the end of the day. Switching off, clearing your desk, packing up and leaving the building are all part of it. A number of my clients have talked about packing screens, laptops, files etc away at the end of each day – so there’s less of a temptation to check things out of normal working hours. Another client chucks a throw over her PC at the end of the day. It’s most definitely out of sight out of mind!!
Get in touch!
If any of this resonates for you or you’d like to work on how you can manage the stress and overwhelm that you’re feeling right now, please get in touch!
I hear you. I know it’s tough and I’m here to work with you so that you can get a toe hold on a way forward that works for you.
- “Rest – why you get more done when you work less.” Alex Soojung-Kim Pang.