The COVID-19 pandemic has brought with it uncertainty, fear and anxiety. These emotions have crept into how most of us carry out our jobs. While we cannot deny that pressure at the workplace is inevitable, the presence and spread of the virus has clearly made such pressure almost unbearable. This pressure, when not carefully managed, leads to stress.
Stress, in a biological or medical context is a physical, mental, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension. Stress can be external (from the environment, psychological, or social situations) or internal (illness, or from a medical procedure).
Some of the work-related factors that contribute to stress in a pandemic include: worrying about contracting the virus at work, more demands from clients, working to a tight deadline, uncertainty about the future of one’s employment, additional workload and learning to work with new communication tools. Not taking care of work-related stress in this pandemic can affect health and performance at work and the following are ways to handle work stress in this time of difficulty.
Have A Regular Schedule
Keeping a regular schedule is important. To achieve this, create a timetable detailing tasks that will be carried out and when they are to be carried out. This type of approach is very helpful especially when working from home.
On days when you work from home, the tendency to work around the clock is high so, set a time to close from work. Unless it is extremely urgent, do not fall into the habit of working continuously. Be conscious of being overwhelmed with work and if you feel that way, take a pause and then categorize the workload into manageable chunks and before you know it, you will meet up with expected deadlines. Also, remember to include break time in your schedule.
Having the right frame of mind puts you in the mood to effectively carry out your work but with this pandemic, the right frame of mind is readily thrown out the window on many occasions. One way this can be helped is to think positive thoughts. Think of it this way, when you constantly worry about things you do not have control over, your mental health suffers and slowly other things around you too follow suit.
We cannot wish the pandemic away but we can be hopeful and have positive expectations of ourselves and those around us.
Take A Break
Whether at work or not, take a break. Move around your home or office, stretch and temporary plug out from all the noise around you. Taking periodic breaks help clear the mind and improve mental health. In addition, you can do relaxing things such as reading a book, listening to music or basically any hobby that calms your nerves.
In conclusion, the environment we live in has normalized stress and hard-working conditions, but this should not be the case, especially with this COVID-19 pandemic on our hands. On our part, we can manage work stress by setting up a work plan, remaining optimistic and learning to catch our breaths as often as we can.