What to do to help us get through the pandemic day by day?
Aktualisiert: März 16
When preparing for writing this blog I went through a whole lot of clever books that I have got in my library back home. I came across wonderful authors Guy Winch, Ph.D, who talks about "Emotional First Aid", thought to use Angela Duckworths "Grit" as inspiration or get back back to the basics of person-centered literature written by Carl Rogers, just to mention a few.
Then however, I changed my mind. I was thinking, "Why not use my own experience and the experience of people I know ?" and share this with a wider audience with a hope to inspire others to try out strategies that worked for some and start a discussion to mutually stimulate ideas and - more importantly - turn them into action! So that is exactly what I am gonna do...
Funnily enough, when putting together the list of coping strategies I use or the things that work for people that I am surrounded by, there is psychological research out there confirming the effectiveness of the tools applied.
Over the next 4 weeks I will be sharing tips with you to help you better get through the pandemic.
Set boundaries between work and private life
With many of us working from home a lot if not all the time, 3 things help me keep a good balance between work and other aspects of my life.
I switch my computer on every morning and switch it off every night. This simple action gives me with a ritual where I feel like I am "coming to and leaving from work". I am really lucky as I have got a separate room at home that I can use as my office. So to have an even stronger feeling of setting boundaries, I even shut the door to my "office" and open it when I start work in the morning.
I try to stick as much as possible to regular office times. At the start of the pandemic and a good few months into it in 2020 I felt that my work days and times were becoming more and more fluid, creating that feeling of always being switched on with the urge to respond to mail, check my chat messages or get back to a presentation I had been working on, sometimes even at 4 am in the morning...Over the course of time, I was getting more an more worked up, cranky and people were getting on my nerves really easily. So I thought. "What is different now in your behaviour? What has changed between now and a few months ago?" cause I did not know myself to be impatient and moody. The main thing that had changed was of course the fact that I had never been working from home over such a long period of time before in my whole life. Therefore, when I realised that working from home may have many advantages but also poses some serious disadvantages for people with similar personality traits like mine, I started working every day at 7.30, take a lunch break at 12 (even blocking 45 min in my calendar) and tried to end meetings if at possible no later than 6pm every night. Once I had started implementing these simple structures I noticed how I became more relaxed again and how my energy and positive attitude came back again.
Putting my laptop and phone away over the weekend. Once during this pandemic we had friends visit and stay the weekend while that was allowed. When preparing the room for them, I cleared away the laptop, my notebooks, my phone, the cables and everything else that reminded me of work. Believe it or not, it made a huge difference in how I felt about the work once my week started again on Monday, cause I actually felt like I had had a real time out from everything work related. I felt fresher and was actually happy to get back to work, switch on my laptop, connect the cables and to catch up with my colleagues via email.
What are strategies that help you manage your energy and stay motivated when working from home for such a long period of time? Please leave a comment and share.
When should I consider seeking help?
If you are feeling symptoms like insomnia, chronic fatigue, anxiety, increasing feeling of depression or anger, may have become very cynical about work or colleagues, feel detached from work or have feelings of isolation or have got severe headaches, loss of appetite and these symptoms prevail over a longer period of time, it may be worth seeking professional help. For more information on where to find professional help, click here.
Want to know more?
A good overview of symptoms you find here and you can do a self-test (please use this only as an indicator and with common sense it is not a professional psychological test such as the Maslach Burnout Inventory)