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.

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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Change your perspective to better understand others and yourself.

The way in which companies are managing the new ways of working can polarise opinion 

We’ve seen examples of companies who use punitive methods and threats which have a (not surprisingly) negative effect on their employees’ wellbeing and productivity.

Our heightened anxiety levels mean keeping calm and carrying on isn’t an option. We need to take a moment to breathe (and find calm), take a pause and ask ourselves what we and our teams really need right now? This article gives a great breakdown of how our brain and body respond to the coronavirus quarantine.

Companies, good companies, want their employees to feel safe and valued. We’re all continuing to, or are returning to work during a hugely stressful event. 

Using a 5 minute check-in with your team members is invaluable. Using this method, I listened to one colleague describe her frustration with another colleague’s constant and repeating questions.

After allowing her space to air her...

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How to explain why you don't feel safe?

Whilst some people are relishing the potential to escape from a permanent home existence, what if you don’t feel safe to return to your work environment?

This New York Times article exposes some of our concerns (albeit from a US perspective) and certainly demonstrates that any return to office anxiety you may be feeling isn’t yours alone.

It’s ok to express your concerns about returning to work, but a bit of planning can really help you work out where to begin. 

Start by establishing what your concerns are, make a note of them and review what is realistic as a concern and what might not be. Still have concerns? Then it's time to escalate to the next tier up.

This kind of reflection on what your concerns are can make your appeal for reassurance more pragmatic and therefore, more likely to be well-regarded. 

If you manage teams, it’s likely that they share your concerns and may harbour concerns you hadn’t considered. Before taking workplace...

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Can't sleep, won't sleep, don't sleep.

Can’t sleep, won’t sleep! So don’t.

When sleep is evading you it’s easy to get frustrated. The more you persist in pursuing it, the more aware you are of it’s refusal.

Distraction is often a great solution and one that is kinder to your mind. Grabbing a quick round of drum practice is probably not an advocated distraction device, but here are some great solutions you can turn too that might trick your mind into soothing to sleep:

1. Reading - tired eyes can often lead to rest. This list of uplifting novels offers an interesting range. Or you can explore the science of sleep with a choice of titles from here.

2. Writing - we regularly extol the virtues of journaling. Quite often jotting down the joys from your day can feel like a cadence to your waking self into sleep. If that’s not your cup of decaff, why not write an old fashioned letter to someone. And quite, honestly, who still doesn’t thrill in receiving a hand written note?

3. Podcasts...

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Know your zone of power to keep calm.

I came across this poem by Cambridge poet, Hollie McNish. It served as a wonderful reminder that we have all adjusted to life in our own way, and there is no right or wrong in how each of us choose the practise that.

our own way - Hollie McNish

no, she's not doing all the work the school has set

no, we've not learnt to bake chocolate croissants yet

no, i haven't managed to keep up with all my work

no, i've not had any urge at all to clean my house

no, we're not out jogging as the sun comes up to shine

no, we've not been following the extra class online

no, i haven't used this time at home for meditating

no, we've not made any masks or scrubs from our old curtains

yes, she's done a little bit of the work the school has set

yes, we tried to make hash browns, cook her first fried egg

yes, she's on my phone again so i can get these emails done

yes, i've cried a few times whilst hiding in the bathroom

yes, i can still see through my never-once-cleaned window glass

yes, we've played...

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How do you stop burnout if you work from home?

Working from home has many plus points - proximity to the fridge and kettle. As well as negative points - proximity to the fridge and kettle. 

Jokes aside, we've all had to adjust to make the new normal 'workable'. We're establishing some routines and habits that have enabled us to work in smarter ways. 

I've seen a friend relax her child's school hours to happen in the evening time, which better suits her work from home schedule and her daughter's natural energy peak. We've never been able to enjoy this kind of freedom before, but it takes some mental adjusting to overcome old ways of thinking to make it happen.

Finding how to separate work life from home life when it all exists in the same space is something that requires conscious action. 

This article describes how we were already skirting a fine line when it comes to personal and professional life separation before the COVID crisis. With the huge upsurge in home working, it's a more important time than ever to...

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Is Distraction A Problem For You?

Is distraction amongst your biggest problems right now? We’re all feeling that and that’s OK.

Practising attention management is about maintaining control of where your attention goes and recognising what your distractions are. 

Right now, there is so very much that can be distracting us, from having to find new suppliers, to the demands of your family, to overwhelming anxiety about the crisis.

Discovering what your distractions are can help you manage your way back to focus. This article offers some great strategies to turn your distractions into tools of empowerment.

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Keep calm and don't worry about the to-do list

It’s quite natural to start your day with a great ‘to-do’ list. But how often do you end your day feeling a lack of accomplishment, beholden to that never ending list and feeling like somewhat of a failure?

Lists can be great, but they can also be a burden. Personally I need lists and sublists for many areas of life, however - managing my lists so that they don’t manage me was something I had to learn the hard way. 

This article offers some great advice on lists and managing our guilt around them.

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