Building Resilience To Cope with Stress And Fatigue

Posted in : HR Updates on 5 May 2020
Hugh McPoland
Clarendon Executive
Issues covered:

It is clear that we will in part, be in lockdown in some form for quite a few weeks more and I hear anecdotal stories of people reaching the end of their tether. The clamour to return to normal is rising.  Nevertheless, there may well be an inevitability that working from home will be more ubiquitous in the future and certainly that appears to be a keynote element of any attempt to kickstart the economy.  

Even prior to the current public health issue many progressive employers were investing in resources to help their employees to deal with the future which many saw as being one which involved preparing for an economic downturn and competing to survive. Those plans were based around the need to prepare to face the forthcoming challenges and included the digitalisation, if not automation, followed by developing flexibility and agility. Those plans certainly need to be brought into play in a hurry. All of this was significantly interrupted by the manifestation of known, but in the end, unexpected risk of a pandemic. So, where do we go from here? 

Many of the readers will be in furlough or even working on reduced hours and/or reduced income. Some may even be thinking of their futures both immediate and more long term - all of which adds to the stress of our current predicament - which is a unique combination of combining work in all its newfound manifestations, like WFH, being a parent, a teacher and a childminder in different degrees, and at the same time, worry about the potential impact on families if anyone catches the virus.

As alluded to earlier, good employers have in recent years deployed many strategies to help their people deal with stress ranging from mindfulness, yoga, reflexology, mental health first aid tactics, all of which have had varying degrees of success with individual employees. All of these remain valid tools in coping with the stress of working in isolation during quarantine and perhaps some simple tools which have become abundant in blogs are still worth stating;

  1. Reframe ‘I am stuck inside to “I can focus more time on my home and family”.
  2. Stay close to your normal routine but recognise it will be different.
  3. Control your access to the news. Perpetual stories of death will only heighten any concerns that you may have. Personally, I try to limit my time to lunchtime and evening news, although I am becoming obsessed with CNN not because of their Coronavirus coverage but the insight to how leadership can go awry, and understand how the approaches (follies) of some government leaders are seen by some to be successful.
  4. Practise self-care - make sure you are eating healthy foods, staying properly hydrated, and sleeping well and exercise, if even only to Mr Motivator or  Joe Wicks, depending on your age. 
  5. Social distance does not mean you have to be so socially isolated, take time to phone those you have not talked to recently.

Remember if it is all getting too much the HSC (and NHS in the rest of the UK) is still open for business and talking to professionals can only be of benefit. Many are now doing telehealth in a way that even a year ago could not have been anticipated. 

Resilience can be defined as the process of adapting well in the face of adversity, tragedy, threats, or significant sources of stress. There is no doubt that we will all need to adapt to whatever our world looks like over the next few years.  For many, they will be looking at the impact of the public health emergency on their future employment, and there are a number of key actions which people can start at this stage to prepare for the future. 

A key action will be to develop a pool of connections which will positively help in developing your new future, the lockdown means this can’t be done over lunch in the traditional sense but is there anybody not using zoom? Do not remain isolated. 

Now may be the time to reflect on Personal Purpose - is what you are or have been doing really what you want to be doing in the future? If not, now may be the time to start the preparations to do something different. Assess your strengths and see if they align with what you are doing, and does it help make you happy? We can see many multi-national corporations “not wasting a good crisis” to bring forward changes they previously thought impossible. Why not you?  

Develop your own goals and develop a plan for your future which you can control and use that plan as the guiding principle as we move out of the current emergency (it will end) BUT ARE YOU READY TO OPTIMISE THE OPPORTUNITIES? 

Be ready and If you need help to seek out a coach or mentor to help you develop a plan which will prepare you and make you more resilient for the future. 

Remember Rahm Emmanuel 

“Never let a serious crisis go to waste. And what I mean by that, it’s an opportunity to do things you think you could never do before.”


This article is correct at 05/05/2020

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Hugh McPoland
Clarendon Executive

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