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Working through uncertain and stressful times isn’t easy, especially when you’re working from home. In fact, it can feel downright impossible some days. But it is possible to manage your stress and anxiety, and even thrive, during these times. It can be difficult to navigate stress and uncertainty when working remotely, that why we’re sharing these six strategies to help you endure, overcome, and thrive.
Strategy #1 – Practice Gratitude
Practicing gratitude can help you reframe how you’re thinking about your current situation. Instead of feeling like everything is against you, take a step back and look at all the things you’re grateful for.
It could be something as simple as having a roof over your head or access to food and water. Maybe you’re grateful for your health, your family, or your friends. Whatever it is, take a moment each day to reflect on the things you’re thankful for. When you start to focus on what you have, instead of what you don’t have, it can help put things into perspective.
Strategy #2 – Establish a Routine
Have a set daily routine, and stick to it as much as possible. Getting up at the same time each day, taking breaks at regular intervals, and scheduling “work hours” can help create a sense of normalcy during uncertain times. Make sure you schedule breaks throughout the day and have a set finish time, too, or else you may find yourself working all day and into the night and still getting nothing accomplished.
Of course, there will be days (and maybe even whole weeks) when your routine is thrown off. That’s okay — do your best to get back on track as soon as possible. Just implementing a routine can erase so much of the uncertainty and stress you may be feeling.
How can I navigate stress and uncertainty when working remotely?
Navigating stress and uncertainty are struggles that everyone shares and can easily relate to. It’s helpful to remember that your human, and that everyone struggles and feels pressure when there is stress and uncertainty in their personal and professional lives. You might be waiting to hear back from a client about a proposal, perhaps you lost a contractor who provided a key skill for your remote team. Or, maybe you work for a company remotely that is going through a round of layoffs. You don’t know what tomorrow will hold. It’s time to breathe deeply, try an app such as the Calm or Headspace app to learn how to stay in the present.
At the same time, if you work for a company where their is employment uncertainty, you might way to start a side hustle like a niche blog to take some action and build a business on the side. All these moves can give you a feeling of control and help you take steps toward positive mental health.
Strategy #3 – Focus on One Thing at a Time
When you’re feeling stressed, it can be tempting to try and do everything at once. But that’s usually not possible, and it’s certainly not effective.
On the scientific side, our brain is not good at multitasking. When we try to do too many things at once, we’re actually just quickly switching our attention back and forth between tasks, which can lead to mistakes and poorer quality work. So, resist the urge to multi-task and focus on one thing at a time instead.
Start with the most important task on your list and work your way down. As you complete each task, check it off your list. Seeing your progress will help motivate you to keep going, and knowing that everything else can wait will help reduce your stress.
Strategy #4 – Communicate With Your Manager & Co-Workers
If you’re feeling stressed about your work, or uncertain about what’s expected of you, talk to your manager. They can’t read your mind, so it’s up to you to communicate how you’re feeling and what you need from them.
Your manager may be able to give you some clarity on your current situation or projects, help you prioritize your tasks, or give you a little leeway when it comes to deadlines. Whatever the case, it’s always better to ask and get the answers you need than to try and guess or make assumptions.
Talking openly to your colleagues and manager can also help reduce stress by building trust and fostering a team environment, even when you’re not physically in the same place.
Strategy #5 – Take Time for Yourself
Make sure you’re taking care of yourself both mentally and physically. Eat healthy foods, get enough sleep, and exercise regularly. These things may seem like they have nothing to do with work, but when you’re taking care of your body and mind, it’s easier to take on whatever challenges come your way.
You may also want to consider some relaxation techniques, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises. These can help you calm your mind and body when you’re feeling overwhelmed.
Set aside some time each day — even if it’s just 15 or 20 minutes — to do something you enjoy. This can be anything from reading a book to taking a walk outside. Whatever it is, make sure it’s something that relaxes you and helps you forget about your stressors, even if just for a little while.
Strategy #6 – Remember, These Times Are Temporary
Overall, it’s hard not to stress and fear what might happen during a pandemic. However, there are things you can do to manage your stress, take care of yourself, and get through this uncertain time.
The Bottom Line
It’s important to remember that these uncertain times won’t last forever. Things will eventually go back to normal, and you’ll be able to get back to your regular routine. In the meantime, do your best to manage your stress, take things one day at a time, and focus on the things you can control.