It’s easy to feel anxious during this pandemic, especially when you’re working at home, juggling family and friends virtually, and trying to maintain your health. A Pew Research Center survey conducted in March found that 18% of U.S. adults have experienced nervousness or anxiety five to seven days a week when thinking about the outbreak, while 28% report feeling those reactions three to four days a week. Those who are affected financially report higher levels of emotional distress.
Collectively, we’ve all been experiencing COVID-19 for about four months. While it’s natural to feel anxious and stressed periodically, it can be debilitating to physically and mentally endure these emotions for long periods, which is why it’s imperative to prioritize our emotional well-being. Resilience is a crucial skill to develop to bounce back from various challenges in and out of the workplace. Demonstrating resilience helps you to rebound productively in challenging situations, and it has a robust protective effect against anxiety, which is helpful in today’s angst-ridden environment. Here are our six ways to ground yourself during an emotionally stressful time.
Start your day intentionally.
How you spend your first hour of the day sets the tone for how your day unfolds. Instead of working on a to-do list or thinking about the projects you need to complete, focus your intentions and thoughts inwards. Take 10-15 minutes to sit, reflect and regroup on what you need to do personally, and let go of feelings from yesterday or anything negative that comes to the surface in the morning to set your intentions for the rest of your workday properly. Spend time to clear your mind of clutter and manifest how you would like your day to go.
Stay present during your workday.
When experiencing tough emotions or situations, it’s best not to catastrophize in the moment. For self-preservation, it’s critical to not focus on the worst-case scenario in an effort to limit energy worrying about something that might not happen. Take a moment to pause, breathe deeply, and focus on staying present within your workday. Using simple breathing mindfulness techniques or meditation will serve to bring us back to the present, calm the mind, and reduce the high level of stress that we are all feeling now during this pandemic.
Focus on what you can control.
You can only control your actions, work product, and how you contribute to your teams. Unfortunately, you can’t control others and how they navigate the workplace and assignments. While many aspects of the pandemic are currently uncontrollable, it is helpful for us to work to control what we can, including our interpretations of and reactions to it. Helping others to find words to express and describe our experiences and opinions can help foster personal meaning and understanding. Developing and maintaining structure, routines, and consistency, which are antidotes to chaos and confusion, also helps streamline your workday and limit anxiety. Having several daily goals for your workday can help you stay grounded and focused. A project to-do list can create a sense of accomplishment, mastery, belonging, and positive emotions, even tackling seemingly mundane tasks.
Stay aware of your emotions.
Do a self-assessment hourly to gauge your feelings and emotions during your workday. Instead of focusing on negative emotions and letting anxious feelings get in the way, you can take productive steps to be in problem-solving mode rather than worry-and-stress mode. Learning to recognize and identify responses to stress, emotional strain, and exhaustion provides the foundation for resilient self-management. When you feel the anxiety starting to surface, do what you can to stay calm and work to keep your emotions in check. By catching anxious thoughts before they spiral you have the power to reframe them.
Reframe your thought process to find the meaning of a situation.
In any stressful situation, you can often find a deeper meaning if you search for it. Because we can’t overpower this pandemic, we must acknowledge the pain and fear this pandemic uncovers and the assumptions about our life that it challenges. However, COVID-19 can also reshape how we think about our circumstances and inspire us to make changes within ourselves and workplaces.
Take breaks to move your body.
Exercise isn’t just crucial for the body, it helps settle your emotions as well. Set some time aside each day to fit in some exercise. Being active creates endorphins, which act in the brain to relieve stress and promote feelings of well-being. Becoming resilient is not just about bouncing back – it’s about becoming tougher and better equipped for the next challenge. Challenges happen in everyone’s life, but how you view these experiences can make a big difference in how well you feel when you come out on the other side.