Wellness At Work In A Time Of Crisis
The entire world has entered a period of great uncertainty, where it’s difficult to know what the next day will bring. Recommendations for social distancing and best practices are constantly developing and changing – and a lot still seems very unknown.
In times like these, it is critical to take care of your mental and physical well-being. Whether your office is closed due to quarantine, working-from-home, or completely open for business, don’t forget to take small steps to care for yourself and advocate for your own needs as we navigate through this crisis as a global community.
During troubled times, staying connected with your team more important than ever. Find small ways to interact with your team and greater professional community that don’t have a set agenda. This might mean creating periodic virtual meetings where you can just catch-up personally, or where you have a free venue to discuss concerns and stressors you need support working through. It might mean a daily or weekly team meeting to get updates on the company’s progress.
Think through what points of connection are missing during your company’s time of transition and brainstorm with your team on ways to work around the gaps.
It’s easy for the personal side of your work relationships to disappear when you’re working through a crisis – even if you’re still in an office setting. When every reach out feels like you’re interrupting someone, you lose out on the sense of community and support that you can normally depend on.
Re-create that environment by reaching out to your manager or co-workers for strength, encouragement, and support in your work. You will likely find others on your team needing those same support systems. Suggest a virtual team lunch (ban the shop-talk), keep each other accountable through team competitions, create a “buddy” system for 1/1 chats – there are hundreds of options for creating micro-environments of support and positivity depending on your team’s needs. That being said, it’s important to remember that you should not, and do not need to be the sole caretaker of your team’s mental health. If you find yourself being overwhelmed by the needs of others, talk to your manager or HR representative right away.
Beyond maintaining your sense of community at work, there are small steps you can take to maintain your personal well-being throughout the work day.
Take short personal breaks every 2-3 hours and allow yourself time to completely step away from your work
Go for a quick walk, grab a snack, watch some TV – this will help break up the long days in front of a computer screen. Although it may seem counter-intuitive, this strategy has been shown to help improve productivity, energy levels, and overall mental health.
Maintain a healthy routine
This goes beyond your work routine of getting up at the same time every day, getting to your meetings, and working through your to-do list. Your well-being routine may include movement throughout the day, journaling, meditation, eating nutritious meals, and/or getting enough sleep. These simple steps can help elevate your mood and reduce stress. If you’re working from home, consider replacing your commute time with wellness activities!
Lastly and most importantly, don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you are struggling with your work, your family, your mental health, a combination, or something else entirely, reach out to your manager or connect with a healthcare professional. You are not alone and there may be resources available to help you. Don’t push off reaching out because you think it’s not important or not a big enough issue.
These are unprecedented times for many of us, if you find that you just can’t make today your most productive day, it’s ok! Part of wellness is knowing your limits and when you need to take a break. Keep in mind “sometimes courage is the quiet voice at the end of the day saying ‘i will try again tomorrow’” (Mary Anne Radmacher).
If you’re in the job search, we know that’s it’s stressful to go it on your own. Let us know how we can help.