COPING WITH UNCERTAINTIES DURING THE COVID19 CRISIS
The COVID-19 outbreak has led to an unprecedented situation, one that the world at-large wasn’t prepared for. Most of us have spent the last couple of weeks transitioning into our new-found virtual work environments. For some of us this transition has been smooth and even a welcome change, but for many it has been a challenging process coupled with stress, uncertainty and anxiety. The fact that you are working from home allows you to easily fall off your well-maintained day-to-day routine. It is easy to tell others to remain motivated and focused but when it comes to applying those formulas to your own self, you tend to fall short.
At SPAG, we began working from home in mid-March and I must point out that settling into a remote work environment is not easy. I have personally witnessed a great shift in my emotional and physical well-being. We are social beings and especially in the world of communications, our life revolves around networking. In such a state, it is difficult to be confined in your home without a change of setting. However, it is in times like these that you need to make choices that contribute positively to your lifestyle and mental well-being instead of adversely affecting it. Here are some things that worked for me during this time:
In theory we talk a lot about ensuring a work-life balance and when working out of office find it easier to put into practice. We try to disconnect after leaving office and spend time with ourselves or our families. We go out and exercise or simply socialise with friends. However, what do we do when we don’t actually go to office. This is the trickiest aspect of it all. It is all too easy to either get complacent while we sit at home and allow the guilt of our complacency to create anxiety and insecurities or to get so immersed in work that you find no time for yourselves. The only way out of this is to maintain your routine. If you woke up at 6am to get ready for work, continue doing that and maybe use the travel time you saved to spend time on the breakfast table with your family that you probably couldn’t do earlier or read a chapter of a book, water your plants, do yoga, play with your pet – the options are plenty but what is important is to remember that even if you’re not going to office, you still have a routine.
Meditation and breathing
It is important to take out at least 10 minutes in your day to simply pause and reflect. There is a lot more stress while working remotely due to the challenges in communication. However, we are blessed to be living in a digital world that keeps us connected. Nonetheless, we forget amid keeping up with technology and work to take a step back for ourselves. We allow work to overpower us especially when our personal and professional lives get so intertwined during WFH. Therefore, take breaks between work to breathe. Use mobile applications to guide you through it if need be. This might also be a good opportunity to develop a habit that will only positively help your well-being. Maybe consider even keeping a gratitude journal as this is time, we need to reflect on the many things we are grateful for in life that most people don’t have the privilege of experiencing. Gratitude is the key to self-nurturing.
Be it watching a TV series or a movie, reading a book, exercising, playing with your pet or cooking – spend some time in the day doing what makes you relax. This is time when you take a break from work and focus on yourself. If you don’t utilise this downtime, you will slowly begin to feel tired all the time. Your creativity will drop eventually which will adversely affect your mental health. It is a vicious circle that can easily consume us. Therefore, we have to consciously focus on aligning ourselves with some activity of the other.
Having said this, I must mention that everybody’s experience with calming their mind is different, but we must try to actively work towards improving our mental well-being. Lastly, this is a time we must practice social distancing, but we should be mindful that this does not lead to emotionally distancing from our loved ones, friends, family and colleagues. It is important to maintain relationships which today technology supports us in doing. I hope you all can work towards maintaining those bonds and often reminding yourselves of the familiar emotional environment you belong in.
Managing Partner and Co-founder
This article is the first in the series #SupportEachOther, a campaign through which PRCAI aims to bring PR professionals from diverse verticals and different levels of experience onto a common platform for discussion. By spreading awareness and the use of storytelling, we aim to destigmatize mental health issues within the PR industry and start a dialogue to help and #SupportEachOther, in the midst of various professional challenges we are confronting because of the COVID19 pandemic crisis.