Although 2022 is only beginning, many employees have already reported symptoms of pandemic fatigue and work-from-home (WFH), burnout. This topic was discussed in depth last week at McKinsey and Company’s webinar Reenergizing The Workforce. Blue Monday has had a greater impact on people this year. We all spent 2020 dealing with disruptions to our lives and routines. Many of us are disillusioned as we waited for the Covid-19 vaccine rollout. We may find ourselves in a state of emotional grief, where the norms that we once knew will never return.
Forbes reported that more than 25 percent of Americans suffer from depression. A LinkedIn study also found that Brits work an additional 28 hours per month during WFH. How can we prepare ourselves to deal with the changes in our home and work lives as lockdown approaches, curfews are enforced, and travel bans remain? We gathered helpful tips from published authors, mental health professionals, and HR journalists to help us renew our motivation and mindset for the next year.
Fake commute: Get out of monotony and set boundaries between home and work
According to The Wall Street Journal’s report, people are starting to forget about routine after months of WFH. Working parents found that the only time they had was on the train. Others commuted to work to align their thoughts or listen to motivational podcasts. People are looking for ways to define the beginning and end of their workday. Jennifer Levitz, WSJ article “Welcome To the Fake Office Commute” stated that “There must be a contrast.”
Fake commutes can have real benefits. You can walk around the block. You can stop at the local coffee shop or drive-thru. Many workers have replaced their precoronavirus commutes by reserving time for work shifts. This allows them to break from the monotony of working at home.
Mental health care: Use positive affirmations and self-care to help you feel better.
According to a Forbes article, “It’s an epidemic within a pandemic” Dr. Gregory Jantz (respected psychologist and bestselling author of 7 Answers for Anxiety), stated that it was a mental health epidemic. The Covid crisis has had a profound impact on our lives. People are more anxious about the future and feel stressed. Anxiety about your personal life has increased. Some people feel isolated and alone. Jantz said that others deal with children at home, distant schools, and unemployment.
Elizabeth Day is a writer and feature writer for The Observer. She recently wrote in her Mail on Sunday column “Why My Lie Ins are not Lazy”. Elizabeth said that productivity was a measure of our success in pre-pandemic times. However, in lockdown, success is achieved if our mental health remains intact.
Take care of yourself. Make sure to set aside at least two hours each day for non-work related activities. Keep up the hobby, listen to inspiring podcasts, meditate, or take a relaxing bath. Recite positive affirmations aloud and write them down. Dr. Jantz advises that you’renew and develop your mind’. He also suggests that you practice self-awareness. This means being honest with yourself about bad habits such as excessive alcohol consumption. He recommends that you surround yourself with positive influences and not allow fear to dictate how you treat yourself. Be aware of the negatives: It is possible to stop relating with emotional drainers and be less critical of yourself during times of extreme social anxiety.
Make a digital detox plan and unplug
People’s lives are being dominated by technology. “So many Zoom, social media and technology are digitizing you brain,” Dr. Jantz stated to Forbes in “Psychologist’s 9 Tips to Cope with Pandemic’s Mental Heath Impacts”. He added that technology is “blending your emotions.” “Instead of empathizing with others and seeing their needs, you are becoming more self-absorbed. Self-absorption can lead to anxiety and depression. It can also lead to more stress.” Dr Sarah Vohra is a consultant psychiatrist behind The Mind Medic and has been working with The Office Group in order to reduce burnout. In Refinery 29’s article “WFH Burnout is Real, Here’s How to Beat It”, Dr. Vohra said that studies show that our attention spans are affected by how many tasks we have at once.
You can also set boundaries between your work and home lives during the week. When the weekend arrives, plan a digital detox. This means you won’t be checking your phone, posting to Instagram, or binging on Netflix for the next few days. You can still travel domestically if you have the means. Take your car and go to fruit picking or hiking. Turn off your notifications. If you can’t travel, consider taking your phone with you and building something with your hands. This could be pottery, crocheting or painting. Psychology Today published an article that said working with your hands can do wonders for your brain, and help relieve stress. Dr. Herbert Benson, a Mind-Body Medicine expert and the author of The Breakout Principle stated in his book, “when we engage in a repetitive task, completely taking our minds off whatever problem or issue we have been struggling with, the solution will often magically appear.”