It may not seem like it, but the COVID-19 pandemic and its ongoing effects have been somewhat of an equalizer. Economically, of course, people who haven’t suffered work stoppages or who had adequate savings to weather pandemic-related losses have fared better than those living paycheck to paycheck. But stressors exist in many forms, particularly if you are responsible for running a business. It’s not just about concern regarding profitability and staying viable; it’s for your employees and their welfare.
Stress and related tension existed prior to pandemic-related, self-isolating practices, of course. But many of the lingering stressors piling up are new for many as we navigate extraordinary and novel circumstances. It’s important to take steps – even small ones – to get out from under the crushing weight.
Cutting the stranglehold that tension seems to have on you is important so you can rise and believe that if you are strong enough to carry these burdens, you also have the strength to get out from under them and transfer that energy to taking care of your employees – and yourself.
The regimen of relaxation
As busy as you are, making a conscious and concerted effort to find time each day to relax is critical for your mental and physical health. If scheduling that around work duties seem overwhelming, find a way to perform or combine some of your necessary routines. For example, Mental Floss points out that being outdoors is one of the best things you can do for your mental and physical health. It’s also one of the safest places for you to be. This can be accomplished simply by going for a quick walk. Even 20-30 minutes is beneficial, and the world you leave behind won’t dismantle while you’re breathing in the fresh air.
In that same vein, if weather permits, move some of your work out to your patio, gazebo, or other outdoor seating areas. If it’s not optimum for working on your computer, use that space to do work-related reading or respond to emails on a handheld device, or take that Zoom call with a phone app. While you’re working, you’re allowing the magic of Mother Nature to work on you – in a positive way – and may even find yourself being more productive.
Create an outdoor space for your exercise workout or meditation time, as well. Even a 15-minute yoga session can help ease tension. Remember that you can do deep-breathing exercises anywhere and anytime, as Home Care Assistance notes, even while you are working, and still reap benefits from it.
Inside the home, where you likely spend most of your time, make sure you identify and remove any potential stressors. The first step is to get rid of clutter that’s piling up in the corners. Then incorporate some feng shui and a few indoor plants that are known to remove toxins from the air you breathe, and open up those blinds or curtains to allow as much natural light to stream through. Once you’ve pumped up the positivity inside your living space, you’ll find that following a healthy routine come much easier.
Realities of responsibilities
Small things can seem to loom large when you feel like you’re facing them alone. This is true for both personal and work-related responsibilities, particularly if you are a manager who now has to steer your office team to productivity and success remotely. Keep in mind that if you are feeling this way, so are others in your office, even if you haven’t discussed it with one another before.
Reach out to other managers to use as sounding boards. For example, plan a weekly video conference as a “managers’ moment” to share ways that each of you has found to cope. That commiseration and understanding can be just what you need to realize that you aren’t alone after all.
You can (and should!) also take advantage of any telehealth services your insurance offers that allow you to visit remotely with your doctor or mental health professional. You can also find mental health apps – free, low-cost, or subscription-based – that offer a range of helpful services from meditation guidance to counseling by mental health professionals.
Time’s up for tension!
Your time is valuable, so don’t let tension steal any of it from you! It may be hard to believe some days, but worry and stress don’t solve problems – they create more of them! Remind yourself that you are not alone, and then prove it to yourself by reaching out.
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