With many people going into self-quarantine, being asked to work from home, schools and businesses shutting doors to do their bit to try and contain the impact of the Corona virus, it also brings with it a lot of change, anxiety and fear. (If you missed our discussion on the Expresso Breakfast Show, you can view it here)

This can leave people feeling overwhelmed, stressed and anxious and when fear sets in, irrational behaviour and thoughts can overtake us (just look at the empty shelves in shops due to bulk buying).

The majority of people don’t generally cope well with change and the average person does not like to be isolated for long periods of time leaving people feeling disconnected, isolated and alone opening us to the risk of depression setting in.

Right now leaders are going to have to draw upon and strengthen their human skills to guide their teams forward to help individuals and teams deal with the anxiety, fear and uncertainty unfolding around us.

Not being able to connect in person with your team, friends or family makes things that much more difficult. Whether protocol already includes a work-from-home policy or there is the need to implement temporary restrictions for office workers and work travel, you’re likely going to be making some adjustments as stakeholders put strategies in place to minimize impact to business as a whole.

There have been multiple research studies done on the impact and effect of loneliness on us as human beings linked to isolation in that it has the same impact on our health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, making it even deadlier than obesity.

Chronic loneliness can impact our immune system, making us less resistant to stress and increasing our risk of depression. A big factor to consider for people who are on their own such as single parents or people living alone as well as those individuals with already compromised immune systems. Obviously this is a great concern in times of COVID19 as we need strong immune systems to fight the virus (this is why the elderly and sick are being the most impacted at the moment).

With social distancing being a very real necessity and requirement, it’s important that both individuals and organisations take mental and emotional well-being aspects into account as part of their COVID19 strategies and needs.

Speak openly about this topic to mitigate stigma and encourage people to reach out for support, if need step up your employee wellness services if you have them in place. You can survive COVID19 as Andrew McPherson who is currently fighting the virus shares his story here.

Coping tips for individuals and organisations:

  • Try and maintain as normal routine as possible if you are forced to work from home.
  • Keep regular communication with friends, family members and colleagues so as not to feel isolated and disconnected.
  • Speak up if you are feeling anxious, stress or worried – make use of online coaching and counseling services.
  • Take turns entertaining the kids if both parents are working at home giving each other time to focus on work deliverables.
  • Set up a specific work area for yourself at home if you don’t have the luxury of having a home office or study.
  • Get to grips with new technology such as Skype, Zoom, GoToMeeting etc
  • If you’re a single parent, try schedule activities for the kids to keep them busy so you can work.
  • Take time out by taking small breaks, if you are able to: go for a walk, sit in the garden, meditate or exercise to avoid feeling cooped up indoors.
  • If you have to meet people face-to-face ensure you take the necessary preventative measures (keep your distance, wash your hands thoroughly, use a sanitiser etc).
  • Boost your immune system by eating healthy and stocking up on vitamins and minerals.
  • Take the time at home to up-skill yourself by learning a new skill through online learning platforms

Highlight or implement additional support systems that can be put into place to assist with the emotional needs of people such as online coaching, mentoring and counseling sessions via Skype, Zoom, Facetime, WhatsApp, as well as information and details of national support services such as LifeLine 0861 322 322 or SADAG 0800 567 567.

With the current COVID19 situation we are taking all the necessary precautions and moving our services online to Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp sessions for the next few weeks for your own safety and ours and will continue to provide our services to the best of our ability.

We also have a number of online programs and training for individuals and organisations that may be of interest to you in this time of online working.

If you, your employees and organisation needs assistance with support services to help reduce the impact of stress and anxiety through online coaching, counseling or training please reach out to us.

In the meantime, stay safe, take preventative measures and keep washing your hands!

Paula Quinsee: Relationship Expert, Tedx speaker and author of Embracing Conflict and Embracing No. Paula teaches individuals and companies tools and skills to immediately and positively enhance the quality of their personal and organisational relationships.

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