Togetherness and mental wellbeing during a time of unprecedented stress

April 3, 2020 | David Daly 5 Mins read

The Covid-19 outbreak continues to cause chaos around the globe despite intense global efforts to stem the tide. This is an unprecedented time for people everywhere and it is important to be mindful of the damaging effects to mental health that stress, and anxiety can bring. Thankfully, we live in a time where a huge amount of research and information is available on this topic as well as a vast number of techniques people can use to manage their stress levels and achieve well-being during this time. In this article, we’re going to look at a few things you can do to ease the pressure on yourself, your colleagues and also your family during this turbulent time.

 

Sudden Change

Nobody could have predicted where we find ourselves today- all major cities across the globe are under lockdown due to the pandemic and the vast majority of office employees are working from home are in another remote location. Such a sudden, unprecedented change creates a demanding environment in which to work and operate in. All of a sudden, we have a new normal and people who have been working a specific way for decades are now being asked to adjust their daily routines to a new way of working while maintaining the same performance levels. This change in physical location for the working environment can also accompanied by inevitable mental strain as the mind is asked to adapt quickly to something very new.

 

Expect and accept

It is very important to become aware of this strain and to employ techniques that work towards self-care during difficult times. It does most of the damage when it is not acknowledged or discussed, and the consequences usually surface at a future date. So, start with acceptance and give yourself a break if you are feeling the pressure, you are not a machine and it is okay to feel a bit dislocated at this time. Expecting some discomfort, accepting it is here and recognizing that you can cope with it goes a long way to alleviating some of the pressures that can arise. The mind is flexible and can adapt quickly as long as you give it a little time and space. Patience and letting go of the need to control every single aspect of your environment is a step in the right direction.

 

Reach Out

One of the simplest things you can do is communicate more with colleagues. While social distancing rules out personal contact, we are blessed to have state of the art technology and communication tools at our disposal today. They have become a necessity right now for work purposes, but they can also be used to simply check in on people and have a general discussion. It is best to have a wide range of topics to discuss and not to be overly focused on the global pandemic. Take a break from the coronavirus news bulletins and daily negativity- reach out to somebody in your team that you may not have spoken to a lot in the past and use this time as an opportunity to get to know them better- they will likely appreciate the contact and reciprocate.

 

In it together

Everybody recognizes the need for togetherness now- there is a lot of goodwill out there to be shared and enjoyed. Don’t forget to also reach out on a professional level too- some colleagues may be burdened by workloads more than others and this is an opportunity to offer your help at a time when it may be needed and appreciated most. Your colleagues will be grateful and remember anyone who is generous with their time during this crisis. Be mindful of the fact that some colleagues are parents who have young children in the home and other demands on their time- offering to help with a couple of simple tasks could make a genuine difference to their day so go on, do the right thing, you will feel better after doing it!

All of us have a friend or two that we have lost touch with and have been meaning to get back in contact with- now is a good time to tick this off our to do list and have a video call or chat with that person. You might be surprised to learn just how much they need to talk to someone different right now.

 

Make time for yourself

It is important also to take some time out and enjoy a bit of solitude where possible. There are lots of things demanding your attention right now; work deadlines, family responsibilities, text messages, news and social media along with mundane daily chores that still have to be done. Exercise is one great way to make time for yourself and comes with great mental and physical health benefits. Running, yoga or simply taking a walk by yourself for as little as 15 minutes can provide some much-needed headspace and calm.

 

Headspace

There are also lots of opportunities online and through various apps for meditation techniques and mental practices during silent periods. These can add value as they switch your focus from the chaos all around you back to the present moment and the things that are in your control. Anything that promotes calm and clarity is a useful asset right now. Fresh air, solitude and some time for your self are important. Avoid the temptation to move from your laptop to a chore and then to the TV. Your mind needs some silence and time away from things that ask it to work and figure stuff out. Close your eyes and shut out the world for 15 minutes- your mind will become still and re-charge.

 

This is also an opportunity

Remote working means we lose out on some of the things we take for granted at the office- but it is also an opportunity for us to engage with the more creative parts of ourselves. We need to think outside the box and find new ways of doing things, so this current crisis can be viewed as an opportunity in some ways. Management and leadership teams are paying attention to the manner in which colleagues are adapting to the new normal.

 

Get creative

Now is the time when innovative thinking and creative ideas can have real impact and these ideas will be noted and remembered. You have an opportunity now to show another side of yourself, one that may not have been possible to display in the office. A slightly risky idea that may not have played out in normal circumstances might just work right now- when dramatic change happens, you sometimes have a blank sheet off which to work on. Take some time to think about your role and consider the objectives of your company. Is there something happening in the world right now that could be relevant and useful to your company?

 

Stay well

It is a time to look after yourself, especially when other are dependent on you. You can only help others if you take some time for yourself too. This is also a time to lean into some values that tend to get lost in busy office environments which are caught up in deadlines and deliverables. Values like patience, awareness of others, communication and compassion. This crisis will pass, and the world will return to normal. But any lessons learned around mental wellbeing and promoting togetherness should be taken along to the office.

 

 

Using Payslip, we can manage all our payrolls across nine in-country vendors on one platform. When the global Covid-19 pandemic arose, it was not an issue from a payroll perspective, and critically getting everyone paid. The Payslip platform enabled continuity for our international payroll service including the fast and seamless implementation of the Payslip Employment Self Service during this time.

Colin Smith

Payroll Manager, LogMeIn

With business and employee growth rates of above 50%, we rely on our vendors to deliver on time, every time. Payslip’s workflow automation, enables Phorest to manage our payroll provider process – data driven, real time and transparent. Payslip saves us time so we can focus on our business growth.

Ana Kelly

International Payroll Manager, Phorest