Mental health during COVID-19: Tips on coping with the anxiety and stresses of working from home
This month or so has been tough on all of us, but one good thing that has shone through is the unification of Singaporeans, as we bind together during these trying, uncertain times. Acts of kindness, empathy, and altruism have been demonstrated since our city activated the circuit breaker. And now, standing together as one, Singapore has joined the global campaign #MakeItBlue to raise awareness for mental health. 33 key landmarks – including Clarke Quay Central, ION Orchard, Sentosa, and more – will light up in a beacon of blue every Thursday as an act of solidarity. Apart from shining the spotlight on mental well-being, this movement will also pay tribute to all key workers on the frontline (including cleaners, bus drivers, delivery workers, and restaurant staff).
In that same vein, we can't discount the growing anxiety of being confined and working tirelessly from what was once dubbed a comforting sanctuary. To cope with the problem at hand, we've engaged best-selling author, workplace well-being teacher, and playful change activator with more than a decade of senior leadership experience in large organisations around the world, Dr. Michelle McQuaid for her two cents.
"The first thing to know is that feelings of stress and struggle are not signs that you are breaking, they are signs that something important to you is happening, which needs your attention. Rather than ignoring, suppressing, or projecting the struggle elsewhere, try to see these struggles as an opportunity for learning and growth." Dr. McQuaid says, "The second thing to know is that, prioritising tiny well-being challenges throughout your workday – like those featured in the Just Challenge Wellness program – can make it easier to care for your well-being, even during these uncertain times."
Just Challenge is an award-winning agency that delivers challenges and programmes for corporates, charities, and sports stars. In the light of the pandemic, they've launched digital platform Just Challenge Wellness since employees need support and wellbeing aid now more than ever. Curated by experts across the mental and physical well-being sector, video tutorials, podcasts, downloadable guides, and a programme of live sessions can be accessed by each corporate's employee database.
Here are some tips to adopt the next time you're feeling down:
- Get moving early by stretching, strengthening, or getting your heart rate up after getting out of bed.
- Prioritise a jolt of joy – a favorite song, a funny video, or anything that makes you smile – to start your workday and give you an energy surge.
- Boost your levels of engagement by aligning your strengths – the things you're good at and enjoy doing – to a task so you can turn a morning to-do.
- Improve your relationships by catching up virtually with someone over lunch so you can chew and connect at the same time.
- Make a positive difference by doing a five-minute favor to help someone out for an afternoon treat that is better than sugar.
- Savour what you've accomplished by taking a victory lap and reflecting on what went well, where you struggled, and what you learned as you wind down for the day.
- Most importantly, be gentle with yourself. The last thing you need right now is adding more stress to your existing load. Choose the challenges that you want to do and be sure to celebrate your progress as you go.