Coronavirus has affected the working lives of swathes of the population with the potential to cause anxiety and other mental health issues for many people.
Even the most ardent ‘stay calm and carry on’ kinds of people might find their wellbeing tested during the COVID-19 lockdown with many people having to isolate and work from home, says Dr Richard Sherry, a Consultant Chartered Clinical Psychologist and specialist reserve officer (SRO) with the British Army.
Anxiety was already becoming more prevalent within our interconnected lives and, according to the World Economic Forum, some four percent of the global population suffers with an anxiety disorder.
More people are likely to be feeling anxious as they cope with the uncertainty and challenging conditions presenting by a working life locked indoors for great lengths of time.
The most important advice for people who suffer from anxiety, and often the most challenging to get into a routine with, is to find ways that reduce their daily stress.
Dr Sherry is a psychoanalytic psychotherapist who has training in extreme environments and has lectured on complex post-traumatic stress disorder. He has specialist experience of working with the military and other patients to reverse cycles of trauma both in the UK and the US, where he has run the clinical psychology section for the US Military Inpatient’s Service for more than seven years.
Here, as the Armed Forces, their families and the wider public cope with the challenges to our wellbeing posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, Dr Sherry examines the essential ingredients for our mental health and how we can psychologically thrive and work from home during the quarantine.
Psychologically Thriving And Working From Home In Quarantine
1) Priorities And Plan – if you are working from home sit down and think what your goals are and how you are going to meet these each day and week.
2) De-clutter And Clean — work in a clean, calm space. This will also help make a safer healthier space to prevent the spread of the virus as well as give you a nicer space to work and live in.
3) Schedule And Try To Stick With It —try to vary what you are doing to create a good balance of activity. For example, build in time for exercise, even if it's just a few minutes a day. Try to change what you are doing, from the types of tasks, make sure you have some social time and downtime as well as concentrated allocated times for focused work.
4) Understand — what are the challenges that interfere with your work activities? Be compassionate towards yourself and others. Therefore, if you are feeling tired, hungry, or upset, try to know what you are feeling and take a step back to create space so you do not need to react.
5) Troubleshoot — what may cause problems? Be proactive about keeping ahead of deadlines and anticipate how to proactively problem solve. This will help reduce needless stress.
6) Teamwork — whether it be who is around you or virtually - human relationships are the key to support and happiness or can be a cause for extreme stress. How this is managed is the secret to success.
7) Mindfulness And Gratitude — enjoy having time where you are and what you are doing as best as possible.
8) Switch On Switch Off — when working from home you need to be able to switch off from work and ensure that you are not overly relying on social media and that alcohol is drunk only in moderation.
9) Review And Debrief — with your work and with the people who are around you. Communicate what is working and what needs to be changed.
10) Patience — working where you are living, especially during a major event, requires that everyone is kind and compassionate to themselves and to everyone around them. We are all in this together. Let's work as part of a cooperative unit.
Dr Richard Sherry is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Psychoanalytic Psychotherapist with training in extreme environments.
He is the Director for Psychological Systems Ltd that offers psychological and psychotherapeutic treatment both face-to-face and virtual as well as psychometric tests. https://psychologicalsystems.org
(Copyright - 2020 Dr Richard Sherry).