If you are struggling to focus on work with everything going on around us, you are certainly not alone. Even those of us who are used to working from home are experiencing a new normal with the current conditions.
Trying to keep up a regular routine through stressful times isn’t an easy task by any means. In reality,it can be nearly impossible. Between the news, social media, and casual conversations, the information you receive, can fill your mind with fear and anxiety.
If you’re struggling right now, I hope to offer you some tips which may help with the process. Let’s take a look at some effective ways to work through stress and uncertainty.
Establish a Routine
If you’re used to going out to an office or worksite every day, communicating with co-workers in person, and having coversations during coffee breaks and office parites, working solo from home can feel quite strange. Your only connection is virtual, either through a video conference, through email, or over the phone.
It might be difficult to establish your own routine when you are the only one in the “office”. Perhaps you are used to taking cues from others or working in with a team on projects. Now that you’re flying solo, creating a schedule is the first step to working in this new normal.
Set a time where you wake up and work. Prepare a breakfast (if you eat breakfast) the night before, or start your day with a beverage and reflection. Having a hot cup of tea or coffee while going over the tasks you want to accomplish for the day will go a long way toward moving yourself into the right mindset for getting things done.
Schedule in breaks during the day and establish a set time for stopping work. This last is important because it can be easy just to do “one more task”. Instead, close out your “work day” and ease yourself into “home life”, even if that means simply walking into the next room. Perhaps play a favorite song to signify the transition.
Be Grateful and Mindful
Practicing simple gratitude can make a difference in your mindset for the day. Write a list of the things you are grateful for. Even the small things can certainly boost your mood. Pin the list up somewhere easily visibly and try to refer to it when you feel your mood lagging.
While it may sound new-agey, focusing on the things you’re grateful for, you can train your brain to think in a more positive matter. In turn, that will switch your focus from the negative things going on right now, to the good things going on in your life.
Find and Use Available Support
One of the brighter spots in this situation is that you’re not the only one who’s being impacted. Most, if not all of the people around you are in the same boat. This means, there’s a lot of support available.
You might spend more time connecting with friends and family without the pressure of running here and there to distract you. Or you can connect with others over social media or other online support channels.
Financial support is available too. If you’re struggling with finances, don’t hesitate to reach out to your bank or utility companies. Many of them have programs in place to assist their customers.
Emotional support is important. Seek out support from a trained therapist via telephone or online. If you do not have insurance, payment plans will surely be available.
Put Self-Care First
We’ve all heard the proverb “You cannot pour from an empty vessel”. It’s so true. You can’t give support o if you don’t support yourself. Focus on self-care in these trying time. Learn to say no. Prioritize or delegate tasks. You can’t do everything.
Practicing self-care doesn’t always mean chocolate and streaming movies. In fact, becoming less active can be detrimental to both your physical and emotional well-being. What you should do, however, is balance the “veg-out” with the “work-out”.
Exercising on a regular basis is an effective way to deal with stress. Yoga, lifting weights, or even walking around your house will get your blood moving and your brain into high gear. I remember reading an article about a grandmother who lived in an apartment and wanted to lose weight. She didn’t feel comfortable going outside and walking, so instead she walked circuits around her apartment and got her steps in that way. These things can be done. You just have to use your imagination. There are online videos and programs you can access for free.
Focus on things which relax you, such as breathing exercises, meditation, or simply sitting and being in the moment. Make practicing self-care a habit, and your stress level will certainly reduce.
Granted, it’s difficult not to stress out when we’re in the middle of a global pandemic. The uncertainty about supplies, personal health, and finances can lead to sleepless nights and worrying. However, the tips I gave you can help you manage your emotions and keep them from getting out of control. The first thing to remember is to be kind to yourself and keep your expectations at a reasonable level as you transition into this new phase of your working life.