Reflection: Well, it’s been a good half year since all hell broke loose and our need to respond to the Covid pandemic significantly changed the way we work and live. Many folks continue to work from home, having settled into routines that may or may not be working well.
Dr. Paul White recently released the results of a survey that highlights the concerns around those working remotely from home.
Two main issues stand out.
Topping the list is a concern about the emotional and mental health of team members. How are people dealing with the roller coaster stress ride that is life in a pandemic? How are uncertainty about the future and the requisite social distancing affecting our state of mind? How do we get a real sense of people’s state when contact is limited to business focused head and shoulder zoom chats?
Secondly, there is the challenge of maintaining any sort of healthy boundaries between a home life and work life. When your front door opens to both your home and your office and you don’t know (as one person put it) ‘whether you are working from home or living from work’, how do you allocate your time and attention? What and who may be getting shortchanged? And how do you cope with feeling caught in the middle?
There were many other concerns identified in the survey, and if you check out the resource link, you can read the full report for yourself.
Action: What to do with information like this? First up is the opportunity to monitor ourselves on both these points.
Try checking in with yourself at regular intervals (morning, noon, night) over the next few days and rate yourself for stress and anxiety on a 1-10 scale (No Problem to Off The Charts).
Ask family members and close friends for feedback on what they’ve noticed about your state of mind in recent weeks. Sometimes what’s clear to others is invisible to ourselves.
Secondly, pay attention to how often during the day – or night – you feel torn between focusing on work and focusing on family. When you constantly feel caught in the middle, it’s going to wear you down.
If you find yourself struggling with these issues, at the very least try to do two things.
One. Promise yourself that you will make and take some time to do something kind for yourself every single day. It doesn’t have to be a big deal or take a long time. But even one dedicated act of self-care will help minimize stress and strain.
Two. To whatever extent is possible, try to dedicate certain periods of uninterrupted time each day to focus solely only work or solely on family. Again, start small – 15 minutes here or half an hour there. Do your best to keep the unrelated distractions at bay during those times knowing that you and others will reap the benefits from a mind that’s undivided and a heart that’s present to the moment.
After you’ve paid attention to your own needs around these issues, you’ll be in a much stronger position to reach out to colleagues, to inquire about their well being, and to offer support in ways that might be helpful to them.
Quotes Of The Week: When life gives you a hundred reasons to cry, show life that you have a thousand reasons to smile. – Author Unknown
I have sometimes been wildly, despairingly, acutely miserable, but through it all I still know quite certainly that just to be alive is a grand thing. – Agatha Christie
It is when there is nothing you can say or do to help that a friend needs you the most. – Robert Brault
Resources Of The Week: Here is the link to the full survey: What is Most Concerning To Working From Home Employees – National Survey Results.
The Covid Mental Health Handbook contains a sizeable collection of articles on this topic. The site requires you to provide your email address to access the free download.
This is a helpful article by Dr. David C Wang on Coping & Caring For Yourself During the COVID-19 Outbreak.
One of my earlier articles, Could You Be A More Reassuring Presence, seems on point with its suggestions for supporting colleagues.
Readers Write: In response to the last edition of Pause, How Could You Reach Out In Kindness, Pause reader LF writes:
Thank you Pat. Once again you have brought a breath of fresh air and inspiration to my email with your encouraging and inspiring newsletter.So many wonderful tips and reminders to help others.
Art: There is a veritable forest of trees in our city garden.
When fall arrives and the leaves turn, the colors are glorious.
I picked this handful of fallen leaves, created a layered arrangement, and took them to the studio for inspiration.
Et voila: Autumn Leaves Bouquet. Click this link for a closer view.
Watercolor and ink on an 8” x 8” canvas.
Tags: burnout, covid, covid 19, encouragement, focus, happiness, health, overload, overwhelm, pandemic survival, Pat Katz, Patricia Katz, pause, perspective, Saskatoon, speaker, stress, wellness, working from home, workload