We, as a community, apparently know that undue stress impacts mental health negatively, or do we? Very often we get reminded of how prevalent the mental health issues are in the community and that how low is the awareness. Stress is often held responsible in contributing to the ill’s as far as mental health is concerned and rightfully so. However, stress is not all bad, it does keep us sharp within healthy limits. But, when this thin apparently invisible and subjective line is crossed, ‘stress’ begins to cause disruptions. A few examples of these disruptions may include inability to make decisions, not being as productive, limiting clarity of mind, lack of self-esteem and the list continues.
Working from Home is a concept that has always had a mixed uptake in the past. Most work environments have encouraged employees to show up for work daily. This has clearly trained the collective workforce in a particular way of, well, working. Without ample notice, the COVID situation escalated and fast forwarding the situation to today, most of the workforce is now working from their homes, if their work profiles allow for this. In the current scenario that we find ourselves, the stress of isolation, that of multi-tasking and juggling between personal tasks and professional duties seems to be adding up and impacting us.
Some of us are finding it difficult to engage in professional tasks while others are unable to stop, thereby carrying work into extended hours at the cost of personal commitments. We are committed to raise awareness on this subject and here are a few key approaches that you can consider to help cope with the added stress and to help strike a balance while the new normal sets in now and for some time to come.
1. Find a perspective:
It’s important to have a reasonable perspective on work. Understand your limits and respect others limits. It all begins with an acknowledgement.
2. Support network
It’s important to have a support network amongst your work group. Reaching out to your trusted colleagues and leaders for their perspective, especially for apparently troublesome scenarios will surely help. Connecting with your teams frequently, helping them be aware of your priorities and knowing theirs, sets the ground for positive interactions. Ensuring that you have the necessary tools to deliver your professional tasks is imperative, especially in this remote working scenario. Switching on your video when connecting with colleagues helps connect better and we recommend you do so frequently. It’s always easier to speak to a face.
3. Time management
Respecting yours and your teams time by blocking time for planned activities is a sure way to reduce stress. Also, blocking time for yourself regularly, keeping it free of calls, meetings and miscellaneous interruptions is recommended to help you focus on your development and tasks that are important to you.
4. Personal time
Being assertive on this front is seen to help. Agreeing with your significant others and prioritizing this personal time enables you with this psychological space. You will eventually look forwards this ‘me’ time as it helps clearing your head and relax.
5. Building a healthy routine
Maintaining regular work hours, starting and ending your day with a set routine helps you switch from personal to professional mode easier. Having frequent breaks and preventing long periods of inactivity surely helps and so does having a dedicated place at your home to work from. It’s also vital to ensure you eat on time and don’t skip meals. A balanced diet is as important today as it was in the past.
Physical exercise has many known benefits. It increases the production of brains feel-good neurotransmitters called endorphins. Regular exercises not only make to feel good, it helps with your confidence and lowers overall anxiety. Regular exercise helps you sleep better which is typically the first victim of stress. All these benefits can help you keep the unwanted stress away and contribute to your sustained and balanced performance in both personal and professional arenas.
Authored By: Dr Rahul Kalia, Medical Director, International SOS