For most of us, our work life has shifted drastically, and our social interaction has decreased severely. In a time of great uncertainty and change our normal routines are no longer something we can rely on.
Workplaces and community groups offer us far more than a consistent place to visit or a source of income. They offer us a strong sense of connection, value, belonging and meaning. There are many ways we can all continue to connect, strengthen workplace/community ties and support ourselves during this period.
Here are some things I’ve found effective so far:
Use video calls wherever possible
I am a very social person so for me going to work, the gym and seeing friends/family are not only daily routines – they really help me to stay mentally well. In the process of adapting to spending most of my time at home, I have made the effort to reach out to friends and work colleagues far more regularly via video calls. I may not be physically with them but seeing and hearing them has been beneficial. Checking in over lunch breaks provides social interaction we would otherwise have in a lunchroom or around the office.
Getting dressed even though PJs would be far more comfortable
I’ve caught myself a couple of times thinking “what is the point” when I am getting prepared in the mornings. But in a time when most things are out of my control, I know keeping some normality to my routines will be helpful and productive. I have kept my morning routine as similar as possible to normal – getting my lunch prepared, getting dressed in work gear and doing my makeup. This helps me shift gears from home life to work life… even though I am only steps away from my makeshift ‘office’.
Keep up the contact
I love team input – it gives me guidance and accountability. Making sure I am on the right track is something that gives me a sense of value and belonging. In our office, we constantly go to each other for feedback and ideas. I might not have the team in front of me, but we have found creative ways to support each other.
Video/phone calls, emails and texts have quickly taken the place of in-person contact. Rather than dropping off the contact through being physically separated, we have just substituted it through technology. It may not be as good as being in person and it may take a little more effort, but it gives us the next best thing!
Take the time and make the effort to find things that keep you supported and give you a sense of value and belonging. Remember, mental health needs to be a priority for all of us right now!
Tash – Community Engagement Officer