Staying Calm during COVID

Welcome to our Wellbeing during COVID-19 resources blog. Each of our blogs links directly to one of our 6 rules for keeping calm during the COVID crisis.

I can’t take time out and I really need it!

A few weeks ago, during the grip of a heatwave (ah, remember those days!), my friend’s daughter threw open the patio doors and marched into the garden armed with a blanket, book and speaker. She settled in the sun with a beach soundscape she discovered online and declared; “Well, if we can’t go on holiday I’m going to make it feel like we’re at the beach!”.

What brilliant, innovative thinking! When she was physically trapped, she mentally escaped and discovered some tools to help her do so successfully. 

For some of us, the chance of taking any annual leave may not possible right now (although for most people it should be possible to get at least a couple of days off - take them if you can!). And the humble social media brags of friends in relaxing holiday poses is likely to lead us to that dreaded feeling of FOMO, or worse - resentment.

But, let’s take a lesson from a 10 year old and look at what we CAN do to make the most of what we...

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The difference between interruptions and distractions and what they are costing you

You may have enjoyed some of the ways live TV has been gatecrashed by little people of late. The now infamous “Mummy, what’s his name?” clip shows both the challenge of home working with young children and the brilliantly professional and kind response of the BBC reporter in response.

Interruptions (whilst always interfering with our productivity) have ramped up to a new level during home working. Whether it’s hungry children, delivery drivers or even the home phone cutting through your day - we cannot escape the interruptions at home.

Work-place interruptions can be just as frustrating, but our tolerance for them seems to be higher. Perhaps as they happen in our workplace, we feel less guilty about them?

However, a full 5 months of working with unsolicited interruptions is enough to drive anyone to distraction. And here’s where the two collide.

Interruptions are essentially another train of thought  gatecrashing your focus. They can break our...

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We’re not all going on a summer holiday, but here’s why we should.

Holidays are (literally) the hot topic this week. As we approach the traditional summer holiday period, the majority of parents have already entertained their offspring for several months, often whilst juggling work and surfing the anxiety wave of the COVID crisis.

Yes, we do definitely need a holiday. But there are some people struggling with this concept. Whilst the government has relaxed various travel rules, there are many conflicting issues around whether a summer holiday is what we ‘should’ be doing.

Interestingly, the bigger questions I’m hearing from various groups is not around the safety of travel (that’s a topic entirely of its own and not one for this blog!). The dilemmas that people are bringing to me exist around the morality issue.

“When others have been working on the frontline tirelessly, who am I to take annual leave?”

“But I’ve been home working for months, won’t taking a holiday seem ridiculous?”


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Why being unproductive is sometimes the most productive thing you can do.

If you’re like me, there will have been days throughout the past few lockdown months where you’ve felt on fire, productive, positive and capable and other days where you’re not quite sure what you’ve achieved. Your to-do list seems unchecked, your sense of overwhelm kicked in and the whole spiel seemed never-ending.

On those days you may find a carousel of questions rolling through your mind.

Are you achieving enough?

Have you been productive today?

Why didn’t you tick all of the items on your to-do list?

Were you available to everyone who needed you today?

Were your team heard, your kids fed, the dog groomed - did you drink enough water??

Very early in lockdown, one of the regular things my colleagues in  my social networks were thankful for was  the quieter pace of life. There was a short period of time as we adjusted into our lockdown lives where we appreciated just how BUSY we had been, how unnecessary it was and how tired we had become.

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Boreout Syndrome. It’s real, it’s unhealthy and it can be overcome.

Uncategorized Jun 17, 2020

We’ve all heard of burnout, but boreout syndrome? Yes, it’s a real thing and we’re feeling it more and more during the COVID crisis. 

It seems ironic that during a time of crisis, we could feel bored. But the reality is, whether you’re working on the frontline or working from home, our days (weeks, months!) are lacking the stimulation and variety they once did. 

The news cycles through the same world changing events every day and even our conversations with friends and family are limited thanks to the limitations of our current experiences - we’ve quite literally got nothing new to talk about!.

How is boreout syndrome identified? It breaks down into 3 parts:

  1. Lack of purpose
  2. Lack of intellectual stimulation
  3. Lack of prospect for progression

In our current circumstance, we have all of the ingredients for an en masse boreout syndrome !

At the start of the year, a friend of mine in a high stress job took an 8 week sabbatical to beat burnout and...

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How to rediscover your motivation when you’re working from home.

Working from home, for some, has become the norm. Our working days are no longer punctuated with the breaks and refrains they previously were; no more ‘water cooler’ moments or pauses for casual conversation in the shared kitchen space at work.

We are now aware how vital these moments were for spontaneous collaboration with our colleagues. That problem you were pontificating while waiting for the kettle to boil, was discussed with the colleague finding their preferred type of tea. The sudden post-meeting brainwave you had en route back to your desk could be shared as you walked through the office space.

Instead, we have fixed social interactions and too often, only written correspondence with our colleagues as we work from our home settings.

This can lead us to feel equally overwhelmed and underwhelmed or under-stimulated by some of the work tasks we’re facing. Without the collaboration of our colleagues, we can sometimes fail to find the enthusiasm we once did...

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Finding calm before fighting another storm.

We’ve talked about ‘Zoom’ fatigue, home working fatigue and frontline fatigue a lot over the past few months.

A dip into some research of the ‘re-opening phase’ as some are calling this stage, shows that some major UK corporations will only be able to have up to 50% of their workforce within their offices by Christmas. This way of working looks set to stay for quite some time.

Finding ways to help you work with this ongoing situation and keep your calm is vital to successful leadership and good mental health.

There’s one really simple technique that’s worked well in a number of situations for many people. One colleague uses this before public speaking when stepping onto a stage, when the amygdala takes over and the adrenaline kicks in.  

When this happens, your speech speeds up, your thinking isn’t focused in the right way and you might find it harder to make rational arguments.

By taking a mindful minute before that...

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Why the compassionate side of leadership is so important right now.

I recently heard someone say ‘People won’t remember what you did during the Coronavirus crisis, they’ll remember how you were.’

Never was a truer word said. At the end of the day, our attitude and the way we treated or family, friends and colleagues people will trump any amount of productivity and performance

A friend recently described to me how she had struggled with a really bad boss. Though he was a remarkable man with numbers, he was utterly terrible at anything involving people. 

He lacked empathy, patience, humility and was rather fond of belittling people for pleasure. 

The business itself was filled with some truly wonderful and talented individuals and his behaviour actually created a uniting force between the teams, a common enemy so to speak. 

She stayed in contact with many of her former colleagues and sadly, like many companies, theirs has been negatively affected by the COVID crisis with redundancies, displaced working and...

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Managing the challenge of family conflict when working from home.

Us Brits are a nation mired and wired in good manners. So this whole lockdown easing business is causing quite a conundrum for balancing our relationships with our anxious minds.

Having been desperate to see friends and family again after so long, some people are now finding that the new rules come with new questions and boundaries that we need assurance on before jumping into social and work settings again.

Differences of opinion within households need to be established and reasoned before decisions can be made, after all, the behaviours and interactions of one member of the house affect all members of the house.

So, with children returning to school, workplaces reopening and Ikea apparently doing a roaring trade - there is clearly an appetite for ‘back to business’ from some. But a quick scan on any social media or news platform will also show you that there is a fierce rejection of this from others.

As an example; if you are working from home, your partner is having...

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How to make sure your team feel like 'we're all in this together'.

A friend of mine this week received a package from her head office. As a company they are a multinational with around 50% of staff permanently home working. 

The package contained a branded cup featuring safety advice, some sterilising wipes for hand and computer hygiene and chocolate for...well, I guess for when it just all feels too much.

The message intention was, regardless of where you work we want you to stay safe, we’re thinking of you. The intention is for employees to remember to adopt safe working practice whether at home, or in the office. 

Creating behaviour change that is consistent and cohesive amongst your team can help to create harmony, reduce conflict and bring about a sense of ‘we’re all in this together’.

If you’re managing a team, then asking for sustained behavioural change needs to be not only delivered decisively but managed consistently, and perhaps most importantly - led by example

Difficulties can arise when...

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