People are feeling the uncertainty our world’s recent events have brought us. There has been enormous shifts in work and home life in a very short period of time. This blog is a summary of our weekly webinar on workplace wellness, How To Manage the Mayhem. You can view the YouTube webinar here.

Managing your own mental health through a public health crisis

It is important to identify the non controllables and the controllables at this moment. There is much out of our control. Employees and others may be looking to you for answers. It’s important to embrace the fact that very few actually HAVE answers. Be upfront about that. Cultivate open and honest conversations right now around the uncertainty. Never underestimate the importance of listening.

We can find empowerment in the things we CAN control. We still have control over ourselves, our schedule, our emotions. What is our most precious commodity? Our relationships. We still have those as well. Take control over your schedule and structure at home as you work. Go back to square one: what does your day need to look like? When is the best time of day to get your work done?

Remember what grounds and resets you. Be sure to fuel yourself with healthy nutrition and exercise. Turn the music on while you work. Find moments for joy and laughter, take time to rest when you need. Give yourself grace. Lots of grace. Now is not the time to push forward and suck it up. It’s ground zero, thinking about what’s most important and tending to those things.

Humans can only handle so many traumas in our lives at one time. What we are facing right now is a BIG DEAL. Listen to your body. Be present with yourself and aware of how you are feeling physically, emotionally, and mentally. The problem isn’t just the global pandemic, many of us have little traumas and stress we have carried this year that we are bringing INTO this crisis. Resilience can be seen as the size of rope you are hanging on to. Some of us are hanging on a thick rope that can weather storms, others of us are hanging by a thin thread that will break at the slightest wind. The size of the rope we are hanging on has been created by our life experiences. You can increase your resilience right now by paying attention to the life experiences you’ve had and taking the time to process it. Making sense of your story gives you a thicker rope to hold onto that can weather great storms.

Finding support in the right places

Connection has never been more needed. We’ve liked posts on instagram for years on connection, now we get to live it. What does finding support in the right places look like right now?

Stay clear of toxicity and fear online. It is important to find information and updates on COVID19 on reliable sources such as government and health care updates. The news needs to be seen for what it is: not always there to deliver facts but to create stories that people will watch. Your best source of information is from health and government services, and certainly not from your friend’s facebook feed.

Surround yourself with people who will ground you and give you hope. This is not to say to surround yourself with people who are ignorant to our situation, but people who will bring you peace in this time. People who will listen to your concerns and who you feel safe with.

Our immune system is greatly affected by stress. It is said that stress can lower our immune system 60-70%. We can build healthy immune systems through safe relationships, limiting news and social media, and sharing good news to others! If you have things to celebrate, share it. Our world needs beautiful stories right now that bring hope and joy.

We need to find new ways to connect. As Laura Jones, grief expert, put it in our webinar, “Right now people are experiencing a loss of safety, loss of routine, the loss of attending events.” The way we have connected has changed. How can you connect with your team today? Your family? Connection hasn’t been taken from us, it’s just changed.

Physical distancing vs social distancing

The only way we are going to get through this is through connecting. Abe Brown says, “You don’t have to be physical to be social.” It is imperative that we make sure people aren’t feeling isolated at this time. Mental health concerns already isolate people. People feel ashamed and hide themselves away. Be sure to check in regularly with coworkers and loved ones. Don’t assume everyone is ok.

Clear guidance for managers supporting the well being of their team

A manager of a small team asked us for advice on what to do while working remotely: how to manage work and personal life now that it seems combined. How to manage expectations and calming nerves.

We recommend scheduling your day in blocks or bursts of time. Working at home with others at home such as a spouse or children changes the game. Encourage your team to figure out what schedule will work for them right now. What is going to work? What is the most productive time of day for you to get your work done? That may need to be before the kids get up or after they go to bed. Allow for flexibility in deadlines, time frames and tasks. You’re not going to be as productive during this time. That’s ok. Give yourself and others grace.

It’s important to also be clear about your own personal boundaries during this time and communicate those clearly and kindly to those you work with. Be upfront about controllables and uncontrollables. Be clear about when you are available and when you are not. As Brene Brown says, “Clear is kind.”

And don’t forget the need for validation at this time. Catch your team doing right and celebrate it as much as you can.

Communication strategies

Calm communication is key right now. It is imperative to learn emotional regulation for yourself so others around you can feel emotionally regulated as well.

Try to do less communication through email and text and more face to face online or through the phone. Emotions are heightened at the moment. Tone through text can be misinterpreted. People also may say things that are not kind at this moment out of deep rooted fear. If someone says something upsetting:

Stop: you don’t have to respond right away.

Listen to what’s underneath what they are saying. Is it fear? Show empathy and grace and be a listening ear.

Ask for clarification always. If you’re not sure what someone meant, just ask.

The more calm you communicate, the more calm others will feel. Your reactions matter.

Remember we are in this together

We want you to remember you are courageous and resilient. You have what it takes to overcome. We want to walk with you through this. Send us your comments, questions, or other concerns you want us to cover on our weekly webinar and we will be sure to do so. To be on our next webinar send us your email and we will put you on our list.

See you next Wednesday noon MST.