Editor’s Note: This month, that is January 2021, FII’s #MoodOfTheMonth is Work and The Workplace, where we invite various articles to highlight the profound changes that our workplaces may or may not have undergone and the effect that these changes have had on our personal and professional lives and ways of living in the time of the pandemic. If you’d like to share your article, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Posted by Lakshmi Prakash
Covid-19 has completely changed our lifestyle, and most people across the world would agree that 2020 has been one of the most difficult years. Some of my own clients got into relapse after showing several signs of improvement during therapy because they had to deal with sudden financial, academic, career, and relationship problems, which they were not at all prepared to deal with.
A friend even remarked that according to him, “most people have only one goal during the pandemic, and that is to come out sane.” While factors like the vaccine distribution and its efficacy, economic downfall, and the new strain of Covid-19 are all completely out of our control, we can still focus on self-care. It is never too late to start on self-care for anyone. In fact, thinking about taking self-care seriously itself is a welcome change when it comes to mental health and wellness.
Here is a list of things you can do to start off with your self-care check during this pandemic.
- If you are happy with the job you are currently doing, see if there is anything you can do to make it better for you. Do you prefer working from home to be extended? Do you think it is time for you to try out tasks outside what you are usually assigned? Do you think you need to take a short break or prefer to work on less complicated tasks? As they say, communication is extremely important. Have an honest discussion with your supervisor, manager or team leader.
- If the current job or the team or the company you are working for is stressing you out much or you feel uncomfortable where you are now, try your best to relax and not stress yourself out much. Instead, try to look at what needs to be done. There is no need to hurry. While the stress we experience in our daily lives, the stress caused by different routine activities and our responses are normal, research shows that chronic stress can be highly damaging for one’s health.
- Keep a check on your food, sleep, and exercise. All of us know the importance of food, sleep, and exercise in our health, yet we tend to get carried away sometimes with our work and ideas or even procrastination. There are apps for everything these days, and they can be motivating. Would you like to keep notes of your food intake, the calories, nutrition value, and amounts? You can use multiple applications that are easily accessible on your devices. Or if you are old school, you could make notes of what you eat, for how many hours a day you sleep, and how much exercise you do, in your diary. The point is, try not to let your work interfere with your eating and sleeping habits.
Also read: How Did The Indian Media Cover Menstruation During The Pandemic?
- Discuss with your family about your work routine. While working from home has its advantages like not having to travel to work and staying at home to feel safer, it also has its own disadvantages. One of the commonly reported disadvantages is getting disturbed by family members or children and not being able to focus on work. And for those who are compelled to go to their places of work, especially for people involved in the healthcare sector, family members could get worried about you getting affected by Covid-19. Whatever the problems be, try to spend some time with your family members to gently explain to them what you are going through so that they would understand, feel understood, and also feel acknowledged, which is very important in relationships.
- Go out and get some sunlight. Another disadvantage of working from home that we might not notice is that we tend to not get much sunlight because most of our time these days is spent indoors. Sunlight also plays an important role in mental health, so maybe you could go to your terrace or balcony and spend some time walking or reading something sitting out in the sun. See if you can take short breaks from work and do this.
- Talking about taking short breaks, yes, spending the whole day with gadgets can be boring. To get yourself to work better. Have you tried practicing the Pomodoro technique yet? This is considered one of the best time management techniques. Proper time management helps us focus better and feel better.
- Do you have a lot of free time or are you on a sabbatical or did your company have to shut down during the pandemic? Again, try not to worry yourself much. Breathe. See how you can learn new skills that would make you more valuable on the work front. Read books or sign up for courses or workshops online that might help you.
- Stay financially safe as well. One of the top reasons for suicide is being heavily distressed because of financial problems. Our spending and saving habits and earnings affect our mental health considerably, so see where you stand financially. How can you make yourself feel financially more secure? As several economists have already noted, plenty of middle-class people have now started investing in stocks and making other forms of investments. A sense of security certainly helps us stay mentally healthy.
- Last but not the least, do not forget the safety precautions. Always wear a mask when you go outside. Carry an extra mask with you if you need to. Wash your hands and carry sanitizers with you. And maintain social distancing. Let’s not take our health for granted no matter what.
Apart from all this, if you are significantly affected by one or more factors for quite a while now, and you can see that your personal and/or professional life has been affected badly, or if you are experiencing some kind of grief or fear or panic or depression, please feel free to talk to a therapist.
Maybe it is time you reached out to the counsellor? There are also several psychotherapists that offer counselling online these days. Too often, we tend to fear talking to a therapist because of irrational fears and the stigma attached to therapy. Let’s put our own health above all other factors, shall we?