How are you holding up? Over two months have passed since Metro Manila was placed under quarantine and many of us haven’t left the house since. While staying at home seemed enticing at first, you may have noticed that it can be exhausting as well – especially if you’re also dealing with household concerns while working from home.
Sheila Tan, a licensed Meta-Coach, Team Coach, and NLP and Neuro-Semantics Trainer says that those staying at home experience challenges during these times. “Many are bored and finding it difficult to focus on work. Common challenges also include battling with anxiety over everything that’s happening and the lack of predictability over what’s to come,” she shares.
Can you still recall the last time you wandered outdoors? How about your last trip to the mall? All these things feel like a lifetime away, making us feel lonely and isolated. “There’s a feeling of disconnection from our normal lives. Not being able to go to work and do activities like we used to can make us feel like we’ve lost something abruptly. Some would feel bored, others would feel extremely pressured to be productive, and there are those who would feel detached from their loved ones. In a sense, we all experience a level of grief. David Kessler calls it collective grief because, in a way, we all lost a world that was known to us,” Coach Sheila explains.
Though the feeling of uncertainty can be too much to bear, we shouldn’t neglect our mental health at this time. Similar to how we give importance to our physical health, we need to look after our mental well-being as well. After all, our mental state affects how we focus and go through the motions of each day.
To stay mentally healthy, Coach Sheila says it would be good to be mindful of one’s thoughts and emotions to be able to manage them better. “It’s recommended to be intentional on how you want to spend the quarantine period. Do you want to learn something new? Do you want to take a digital detox? Choosing to be kind to yourself is a good theme that can get you through these difficult time. Be in tune with what you need in the moment and connect with people who can help you feel supported,” she adds.
Have clear boundaries
If you’re working from home, you need to set boundaries. It can be difficult to go through you to-do list for the day when you’re also worrying about cooking your meals and tackling the pile of laundry. While you can easily dismiss these chores when you’re not at home, this may not be the case when you’re working from home. To help you manage the day, try setting a schedule. Know when to do your chores and when to focus on work deliverables. It can be difficult at first, but once you get the hang of things, it will be easier.
“Having clear boundaries can help you cope better as well. One of the most helpful boundaries is time. It would be good to know when to switch off one’s’ mind from work-related things,” says Coach Sheila.
Give yourself quick breaks
It can also help to give yourself quick breaks in between tasks. Treat yourself to a cup of coffee, watch a quick video to recharge your brain, or simply put your computer on sleep even for just a few minutes. A break, even if it’s only for a few minutes, can help you feel refreshed and ready to take on more tasks.
If you’re a parent who is managing the household and taking care of the children at the same time, scheduling is also key. Consider giving your kids a playtime schedule that would coincide with your own to-do list can be beneficial. Making sure they are occupied if you have an online meeting coming up can help as well. You can also time your tasks depending on their nap schedule.
Have a “Me-time”
Coach Sheila says that having a “Me time” can help you relax as well. Don’t be guilty taking time off your to-do list. Take a nap, read a book, catch up on your favorite shows, and simply do something you enjoy. “Making sure that you take care of your wellness is vital in maintaining good relationships with the people around you, too,” she adds.
In addition to these inputs from Coach Sheila, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Mental Health Foundation shares these helpful reminders as well:
- Always pay attention to your needs and feelings. Engage in activities that help you relax.
- Exercise regularly and eat healthy.
- Follow a regular sleep routine.
- If watching the news can make you feel stressed or anxious, filter the news you follow. Listen to reputable resources and don’t believe everything you see online.
- Stay in touch with friends and loved ones. Instant messaging and video calls are just some of the ways we can keep the lines open, especially when you have loved who live and work abroad.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for help. If you feel like you need to talk to a doctor or a professional, don’t hesitate to reach out. Here are organizations and numbers you can call:
National Center for Mental Health Crisis Hotline: (0917) 899-8727
Philippine Mental Health Association, Inc: (0917) 565-2036
UP Diliman Psychological Services: (0906) 374-3466
Prescription Psychiatrists: (0977) 795-3097
Coach Sheila Tan holds a diploma in Self-Actualization under the International Society of Neuro-Semantics. An executive and relationship coach, she does consultancy for family businesses, L&D and HR under Altius Coaching and Consulting. Coach Sheila facilitates trainings in leadership, sales, coaching, and mental health. She also used to be the Sales Capability Leader for Procter and Gamble Philippines. You may reach her at email@example.com and follow her on Instagram: @upwithsheila and @altius.coaching