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Man floating on a paper boat looking towards the horizon

How to Cope with Pandemic Burnout

This is the third in a 12-part series of blog posts that focus on Centro’s corporate guiding principles, and how those values show up in the workplace and in the lives of our people.

The great Socrates once said, “Let him that would move the world, first move himself.” In these past few years, we have seen how quickly and drastically life as we know it can change, for better or for worse. The ways in which we react to change can have powerful effects on individual growth, development, and resiliency.

Whether it is positive or negative, change is the only constant in our lives, which brings us to Centro’s next guiding principle: “Embrace Change.” A world that is constantly evolving necessitates adaptation. We must learn to either welcome change, or risk falling behind.

Although it is necessary, coping with change can be complicated and difficult, a fact that the COVID-19 pandemic has emphasized. According to the CDC, 40% of adults in the U.S. reported struggling with mental health issues or substance abuse in late June of last year.

A disproportionate amount of those surveyed were “younger adults, racial/ethnic minorities, essential workers, and unpaid adult caregivers.” With the threat of another pandemic shutdown looming, exploring healthy coping mechanisms is essential to overcoming change rather than surrendering to it.

Allow Yourself Grace

In a pre-pandemic world, low productivity and high stress levels may have been easier to deal with. With continued isolation and the shift to remote work, the boundaries between work life and home life have blurred. The pressures of maintaining productivity levels and simultaneously juggling domestic responsibilities can be exasperating. Employees have taken to regularly extending workdays, and are finding it harder to disconnect from devices at the end of a shift. A survey from Staples reported that between 2019 and 2020, the average employee workday increased by 6.1%.

Allowing yourself grace can be a positive method for coping with changes brought about by the pandemic. Take breaks when you need to, and self-care days when you feel overwhelmed. Adjusting to this new way of life requires a considerable amount of energy and, understandably, you will feel burnt out. Find ways to reduce this feeling by disconnecting from your devices and focusing on activities that make you happy. Not only will this be beneficial to your mental health but may also diminish work-related anxiety. Also, take advantage of wellness events and activities offered by your employer (for example, Centro’s Wellnesspalooza).

Stick to a Schedule

Although it can be difficult while working from home, keeping to a routine will prove advantageous in the long run. If possible, continue your morning rituals as if you were still leaving for the office. Establish your work hours as well as a dedicated workspace to prevent work and home life from mingling too often and leading to distraction. A sense of normalcy may assist with adapting to post-pandemic changes as well.

Here are some additional tips for working from home.

Stay Connected

Sheltering at home has diminished our social lives by preventing us from seeing family, friends, and coworkers. Luckily, the virtual world has provided us with a way to socialize while avoiding the risks associated with the pandemic. By hosting movie streaming parties, playing online games, or even having simple video calls, we can retain our social connections. Participating in workplace community groups can be a great way to build friendships with colleagues as well.

Staying connected to our own minds and bodies is just as important. At Centro, employee mental health and wellbeing are priorities, and employees have access to free workout classes, mental health webinars, and even guided meditation subscriptions.

So, What Now?

As we know, change is constant and inevitable. There is no definitive way to embrace change, so we must construct our own methods for adaptation. Only then will we be able to progress towards a new—and hopefully even better—normal.

Sources:
https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/69/wr/mm6932a1.htmMental Health, Substance Use, and Suicidal Ideation During the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, June 24–30, 2020 | MMWR (cdc.gov)
https://www.staples.com/content-hub/culture/work-life-balance/an-analysis-of-time-use-2019-vs.-2020An Analysis of Time Use in 2019 vs. 2020 | Staples