Managing Work-Related Stress during COVID – 19

COVID – 19 has brought about a whole new set of challenges for us all. This pandemic has instilled in us, a sense of uncertainty, confusion, and chaos among other things. Managing work-related stress has become more difficult now than ever. A study was conducted by Majumdar, Biswas & Sahu (2020) which investigated the outcomes of the COVID – 19 pandemic and lockdown on corporate sector professionals and students of India. It was found that the participants showed an increase in depressive symptomology which is likely due to confinement to home, anxiety, and stress along with sleep disturbances and abnormalities in sleeping patterns due to mental stress, anxiety, and screen exposure before bedtime. There were also reports of participants experiencing somatic pain. Other important stressors for working individuals may include factors like workload pressure, task interdependence, professional isolation, and family interference in work (Jamal, Anwar, Khan & Saleem, 2021), job insecurity, fear of getting infected, financial loss, stigma, and social exclusion (Hamouche 2020).

Apart from taking necessary COVID – 19 related precautions, here are some tips to manage stress at your workplace or WFH:

Practice Mindfulness

Mindfulness consists of being fully aware of ourselves and our surroundings and just observing our thoughts without judging or labeling them. The practice of mindfulness is linked with healthy emotional regulation. Hülsheger, Alberts,
Feinholdt & Lang (2013) conducted a study on employees which confirmed that the practice of mindfulness lessens emotional exhaustion and increases job satisfaction.

Establish clear boundaries
This may include saying no to things that you really can't do, avoiding checking work emails post working hours, and also communicating those boundaries to your colleagues and superiors. This may help you maintain a good work-life balance.

Take short breaks
Microbreaking is when you do brief activities to detach and disengage especially while doing monotonous tasks. This could include stretching, talking to another person, watching a funny video, etc. These breaks can provide you with calmness, reduction in stress, and improve attention and productivity.

Schedule a ‘worry hour’
Set aside a specific time in a day when you solely worry/stress. When these thoughts enter your mind at any other time of the day, gently remind yourself to delay engagement with those thoughts. This can help prevent stress from taking over you and negatively affect your job performance and efficiency.

Increase body movement
If your work requires you to sit on your desk all day, it’s important to include some body movements as leading a sedentary lifestyle could lead to problems in physical as well as mental health.

Whether you’re working from home or office, managing stress is crucial for
maintaining overall physical, emotional, and psychological well-being which is why YWP presents- Workplace Workshops: Happier Employees make Happier Workplaces! These tailor made corporate workshops focus on expanding safety and health in times like these with a larger aim to enhance mental health awareness. Please contact us at- rnd.ywp@gmail.com or call Akhilesh Nair +91 99588 27588 And for professional and or peer support please feel free to reach out to our team at YWP at peersupport@yourewonderfulproject.org

 

 

References
Majumdar, P., Biswas, A., & Sahu, S. (2020). COVID-19 pandemic and lockdown:
cause of sleep disruption, depression, somatic pain, and increased screen exposure of office workers and students of India. Chronobiology International, 37(8), 1191–1200. https://doi.org/10.1080/07420528.2020.1786107

https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/07420528.2020.1786107

Jamal, M. T., Anwar, I., Khan, N. A., & Saleem, I. (2021). Work during COVID-19: assessing the influence of job demands and resources on practical and psychological outcomes for employees. Asia-Pacific Journal of Business Administration, ahead-of(ahead-of-print). https://doi.org/10.1108/apjba-05-2020-0149

https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/APJBA-05-2020-
0149/full/html

Hamouche, S. (2020a). COVID-19 and employees’ mental health: stressors,
moderators and agenda for organizational actions. Emerald Open Research, 2, 15.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7342058/

Hülsheger, U. R., Alberts, H. J. E. M., Feinholdt, A., & Lang, J. W. B. (2013). Benefits of mindfulness at work: The role of mindfulness in emotion regulation, emotional exhaustion, and job satisfaction. Journal of Applied Psychology, 98(2), 310–325.
https://doi.org/10.1037/a0031313

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23276118/

Gorvett, Z. (2019, March 13). The tiny breaks that ease your body and reboot your brain. BBC Worklife. https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20190312-the-tiny-breaks-that-ease-your-body-and-reboot-your-brain