If you’re like me, you don’t read a lot of blogs. You might throw them a “like” on LinkedIn and Twitter every once in a while to show support to people you follow. The most long-form content you read on a regular basis is likely from newsletters like Morning Brew, The Skimm, or some other iteration of digital digest designed for the type of people who start their day with a black coffee (or Yerba Mate for the more gut health-conscious) before they lace up their Allbirds, zip up their Patagonia vests, pop-in their Airpods, and head to a well-appointed and open-concept office space to get to work. If I’ve held your attention up until this point, I’m urging you not to let this be a blog that you skim up until this sentence and backspace back out to your feed. Chances are if you’re like me, you need a gentle reminder (or violent shake) to remember what’s really important.
The truth is that for many of us in professional services, finance, high-growth SaaS, and other high-stakes environments, we’re so busy “crushing it” that we suppress our innate feelings of stress, anxiety, and burnout by categorizing them as necessary or even a productive mechanism for achieving our goals. What’s more, now that we’re all part of remote workforces, it is easier to let these stressors manifest into poor health habits like skipping commutes to spend more time slouched over a desk in our homes working from the early morning until the night time with an insufficient amount of food and water.
Working remotely has always been associated with positive attributes like balancing caretaking responsibilities, saving time on commute, and freedom to live wherever you’d like, time-zone permitting. Interestingly though, recent data suggests that signs of distress have increased since more people have begun working remotely according to McKinsey. This means it’s up to us to take matters into our own hands. In order to do that, we first need to take ownership over our most valuable asset.
Conduct a self-check-in
When was the last time you took a clarity break? By that, I mean the last time that you dedicated a proper amount of time (30-60 minutes) to sit alone and do a pulse check on how you’re feeling. Today, there is no shortage of content on mindfulness and mental health tips, but it all starts with establishing an honest baseline for how you’re feeling and where your current levels are. If you’re not sure how to begin, NHS has a free and publicly available assessment to get you started.
Categorize your thoughts
The feeling of racing thoughts and having too many things to focus on at once is very common, especially for those who spend a lot of their time in solidarity without many people to talk to. Once you’ve conducted your self-check-in, try sitting and documenting all of the thoughts that come into your head with a pen and notebook. From there you can categorize the thoughts and even use this to generate a task list.
Take a tech break
We know that mobile device usage has been linked to stress, self-worth, lack of productivity, and a number of factors based on our social media habits. We also know that being isolated has drastically increased the amount of time we spend on our devices. Rather than taking a shot on best practices for unplugging, I’ll link Daniel Silvestre’s take on the matter, which I think is certainly worth the read!
Know your resources
We’re all at different places on our mental health journey, myself included, so I will not represent myself as an authority on the matter. However, with the help of Plative HR, I’ve compiled the list of resources that you may find helpful!
Videos and Articles:
- There’s no shame in talking about mental health
- How I live with high functioning anxiety
- Why we get mad, and why it’s healthy
- It’s OK to feel overwhelmed, here’s what to do next
- How to be your best self in times of crisis
Courses, Programs, and Guides: