Many of us are working remotely and have quickly discovered it’s more complex than just working from home.
We are dealing with our own work and all the stress and uncertainty of these times, plus homeschooling and other activities that suddenly fell on our lap. We are confined to our own space in a way that feels suffocating.
How can we gain a sense of direction and stability?
This situation has blurred the difference between night and day, weekend and weekday, work-life and home life, and other ways that helped us have a sense of routines, progress, and direction.
One day we were all in our routines, the next day, we were all home, all day, every day.
Our outer world crumbled.
We’ve tried to pretend it is business as usual, but it’s not.
In the current situation, we are obligated to spend a lot of time with our own self —a self that used to be an after-business-hours thought. Exiled from the outer world, we have been repatriated into an unkempt inner world.
Here are a few practices that can make a huge difference in how we navigate the current situation and beyond:
Keep Routines as Guides, Not Straitjackets
As possible, keep routines you used to have and create new ones. More than ever, a practice to keep you healthy physically, mentally, spiritually is important. Make the start of your day a special moment. Incorporate some stretches or even yoga, go for a walk, meditate, or be in nature. Just because you don’t have to be anywhere, it doesn’t mean you need to stay in pajamas all day. Having said that, things are different and some routines of pre-coronavirus life simply cannot continue and, perhaps, should not continue (HINT: it’s time for renewal and discovery ).
As an example of establishing new routines, I adapted an idea from a friend and invited my family to write our favorite meals and put all the little papers in a basket. Every night we all look forward to drawing a paper in anticipation for our next meal; also the cooks in the family don’t run out of ideas.
Use Your Power of Choice
This is a hard one. You might feel under pressure and uncertainty. How can you ignore what’s happening? How can you pretend everything’s fine if you fear losing your job, for example? That’s exactly the point. You don’t ignore what’s happening. On the contrary, you recognize what’s happening. What’s happening is that you have a job. That’s what’s happening. Your power of choice means you can reorient your energy when is being drained by useless thought. Worrying about an uncertain future is a useless way of using your energy.
Orient Toward Resilience
Resilience is defined as the ability to recover from difficulties and regain stability. Resilience has a quality of strength and flexibility. You might find yourself in a situation of indeed having lost your job. Or perhaps a loved one, your home, your opportunity to do something. This is a moment of loss. A moment of collective loss. Again, we don’t gain anything ignoring what’s happening. We don’t gain anything trying to reframe the negative as positive.
Part of our sense of disorientation stems from being used to a culture that sold us the idea of being able to buy a shiny, jolly existence. It’s ok to feel sad. It’s ok to feel upset. Just pause. How would it be to just acknowledge your emotions? the situation? Can you find the difference between acknowledging the situation and dwelling on it? What do you need or can do in order to regain stability? Can you recall hard times in the past? Can you recognize subsequent growth from those trying times?
As Dr. Ellen Langer, Ph.D., Professor of Social Psychology at Harvard University, says, “Stress is a function not of events, but of our view of those events.”
The challenges of the current situation are real and it can be overwhelming to not be able to control them. However, we can find ways to work with the most powerful variable —the only one we control—, our own self to stay productive with all the activities and challenges, old and new. Here are some additional expert tips from successful people on how they are staying productive under quarantine.
In a Nutshell:
- Working remotely is more complex than just working from home.
- You have lost ways that used to help you have a sense of routines, progress, and direction.
- Exiled from the outer world, we have been repatriated into an unkempt inner world.
- Keep routines as guides, not straitjackets.
- Use your power of choice. You still have it.
- Orient toward resilience.
Would you like to learn more about how you and your organization can stay strong in the face of external changes and stop Feeling Disoriented? We offer 4-hour live stream workshops for you and your team to regain focus and stability and continue growing.