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Apr 2020

Mental health challenges in today's working world

Blog posts

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

In our best efforts to remain upbeat, how are we going to get through these peculiar times, with reduced human contact and a geographical range of what feels like a postage stamp?

It’s totally OK to feel extreme fluctuations in emotions when the world we have always known has become alien to us.  Some workdays (yes let’s remember that covers Monday through to Friday) it's business as usual, others we wake to a blanket of fatigue coupled with poor concentration. The new normal is far from regular and affecting a good daily routine really helps to keep on track.

As a learning first organisation, Kineo is experienced in providing learning that organisations want. Learning that helps to build the skills and practices they need for their workers’ compliance, professional development, and to support them as individuals. We're all different, we recognise that and because we are all different, we all react differently to stress and uncertainty.  Whether you are getting used to working remotely, or you are experiencing change, feelings of anxiety or stress, Kineo is here to help. 

Some simple tips for home working and isolation

This may be a completely new experience for you, or perhaps you had worked from home some of the time and now it’s 24/7. Whatever the change, it’s a big change and there are physical and mental adjustments to be made. 

A dedicated workstation is a must

For starters, your work set up may not be optimum. And then there are distractions aplenty: increased household chores, perhaps children that you’ll need to keep an eye on. If you are responsible for dependents, no doubt there will be times when they’ll interrupt you at the most critical times when you are on that all-important conference call.  Not to mention pets demanding attention, they are confused, and they’ll want to be reassured, their world has also changed.  In these and so many other examples - you get the picture, you ‘get it’ - we are all in limbo-land together. 

Dedicate a space for your ‘office’. If there’s no home office or a spare room you can utilise, then nominate a spot that lets in natural light where you will be comfortable (not the sofa, not good for your back).  You’ll need a good 90-degree angle seated position with your arms relaxed to reach the keyboard and your head on top of your pelvis. This is important to avoid the onset of neck, jaw and upper, mid and back pain or any combination of these aches and pains in the coming weeks and months.  And maybe have a plant, such as a peace lily, in your space as this will be naturally uplifting and oxygenate the room, helping to keep concentration levels up.

Each day make a list of what you would like to conquer in your workday - how does it look?  Make it realistic and apportion it into three sections. (three to accommodate breaks).  You need to be attuned to your body clock so listen to it and take action.  

Move regularly 

Exercise when you feel at your most energetic and sweat! When you exercise, the brain releases endorphins and serotonin chemicals that enhance your mood. If you can, get out into the garden. Putting yourself in touch with nature helps to reduce any feelings of loneliness and isolation, even if you have other people at home. You can feel isolated from your work colleagues and uncertain about where you fit in when you’re physically removed from them.

You may find that your sleep patterns have changed, so exercise can positively contribute to your restfulness through the night, which is important for focus and positivity during the waking hours of the day.

Exercise pumps blood to the brain increasing the connections between the nerve cells, thus protecting your brain against injury and illness.  It helps you think more clearly and improves your capacity to remember things as regular exercise has been proven to increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain accountable for memory.

Government health departments recommend at least 30 minutes of exercise most days if you can, or if not, doing less more often. The key can sometimes be to fit it in around your day. For example, a good walk with your beloved pooch before work or at lunchtime or an online yoga or Pilates (biased) online session to mark the end of your day. 

If you don’t have the oomph for movement at the end of your day we love the meditation and mindfulness app Calm and there are others out there you may prefer too.  This type of practice, even a couple of times a week, will help you to be more present and keep you on task through your day. 

A high level of communication with your key work colleagues is essential 

Do you have a daily ‘stand-up’ meeting with your team?  Ideally a video group conference is the ticket.  This will start off the day on a high note for everyone and only needs to be 15 minutes long.  A brief summary of what each of you are working on is usually all that is needed. Teammates can ask, if they need any support or input from others to progress their tasks, and this will ensure everyone is aware of the bigger picture and working effectively.  It’s great for team relationship building, also for holding you accountable, which will help to keep you focused.  While we are working digitally it’s also a good opportunity to receive feedback and give feedback to others. Team online chat tools can be assistive if not overused, but they can also easily be a distraction so monitor this quietly.  The same can be said for social media.  We are all on high alert for any changes that will impact us further, leave this for before and after work, along with your mobile, so you’re not tempted. 

Kineo provides off the shelf learning modules for many of these areas.  Consider looking at relationship building, how people communicate when under pressure as well as giving and receiving feedback.

To build resilience, there are digital courses that provide strategies to help deal with stress, manage emotions or encourage positive thinking.  

If you are an individual undergoing significant change that is causing stress beyond your control, it is essential that you contact a work based counsellor or an appointed mental health individual that is equipped to provide you with support and information of where you can receive help and guidance to steer you back to a manageable position. There are many support mechanisms that are established in the workplace or through independent affiliates that your workplace will have arrangements with. 

Make whatever adjustments you need to make your home feel it can morph manageably into a workplace and have you set up for success. It’s important that you feel you can contribute to the best of your ability so that you are accomplishing, whilst having the energy for your downtime too.
Browse Kineo’s course library that includes many topics of interest for you whatever stage you are in your work change metamorphosis. You can also take a free 14-day course trial to sample the courses content for yourself.

Sally Danbury

Sally Danbury

Nurture Marketing Specialist at Kineo APAC

Since the year immemorial Sally has exercised an avid passion for creativity with words, images and Pilates.  She is most content in the workplace when crafting enticing messages that inspire and engage. 

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