Wednesday, September 1, 2021
Mental Health in the Time of COVID
Below, we will go through a few ways we can take care of our mental health in the time of COVID.
Control the Controllable
Prioritizing mental health, is always important, but especially during this time. Take the time to list out what you can and cannot control by creating a list in a t chart (blank chart below). Whatever is on the uncontrollable side of the chart, let it go and focus on what can actually be maintained by you.
Set (Reasonable) Expectations...for yourself as well as other
By setting small and attainable goals, we are setting ourselves up for success. Ticking things off our lists does something to us and makes us feel as though we have accomplished something. If you have a big project that is due, break it into smaller chunks and set times/deadlines (soft and hard deadlines). Once you've met a deadline, celebrate that. Anything we get done during this time is a huge accomplishment. The things we need done or others need us to do will get done but making the task more palatable can aide in maintaining a more positive outlook.
How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
Set Office Hours...also known as BOUNDARIES!!!!
Set a dedicated "late work day" in the event the work wee is a busy one and things begin to pile up. By having a set day and time that's a bit longer than your office hours, you have the opportunity to get more accomplished while still maintaining those boundaries.
Silence group chats! Every person reading this is currently or has been a part of group messages. Group chats can give us a great chuckle but they can also be the cause of stress/anxiety. Make a point to let your group members know what time you will be available and times you aren't...and stick to it.
STOP RESPONDING TO EMAILS at all times. "You have to teach people how to treat you" is one of the best pieces of advice I have received and I think about this often. If we are always available that will become an expectation and the one time an email is not responded to, an issue arises. Don't allow that to happen. Your office hours need to also include response times to emails.
If you, like me, just can't help yourself and you want to clear your inbox at night then draft the responses but don't send them. Either save them and send when you return to the office or schedule the messages to be delivered the next day during office hours.
Reach Out/Open Communication
All of us are a part of a team and it's important we are keeping our team abreast of what's happening. Being a private person, I can appreciate the desire to keep things inside however, your team cannot advocate for you if they don't know what's going on. Nobody at SMS is here for a "gotcha" but it is important that everyone is aware of how you are feeling.
If thoughts of stress and feelings of anxiety don't naturally dissipate by setting boundaries, controlling what can be controlled, and having realistic expectations, it may be time to speak to someone for further assistance.