– How To Build Resilience In Times Of Zoom Fatigue
At the beginning of the pandemic we thought that it would only take a few weeks, maybe some months. However, nobody would have thought that we would still be mainly working from home a year later. The pandemic hit us in so many ways – some are more visible and some less visible. Mental health issues are one of the less visible consequences of the pandemic and there’s surely a high number of unreported cases.
Spending much more time in virtual meetings and less with actual human interaction is taking a toll on one’s mental health, the ability to concentrate and the possibility of expressing oneself freely and spontaneously. As a consequence, a feeling of disconnection, solitude and despair can occur, which yields frustration and helplessness.
Resilience is the “ability to be happy, successful, etc. again after something difficult or bad has happened”. Unfortunately, we’re still in the middle of the pandemic and have to be resilient now, and not only once it has passed. Hence, every day is a good day to start building your resilience.
“Where do I start?” you might ask. The short answer is “Where it hurts.” When something difficult or bad happens, it’s important to not immediately want to turn the page. It’s like that drawer where you put all the things you don’t know where else to put. At one point it gets so full and literally falls apart. So before you do the same, it’s important to feel what you need to feel, to reflect about what has happened and to be kind to yourself. Does the famous “Why me?” come up? It’s natural, but don’t go there. Setbacks and traumatic experiences are part of life, and as nature very nicely models it: after a dark period, there’s also always light. This might sound way too banal, but it’s the truth.
Change of perspective
One way to slowly come up again is to give yourself some distance from what happened and explore a different perspective. It’s about what you focus on and if for example a problem occurs in one area of your life, it doesn’t mean that your entire life is doomed. If your issue resulted from a specific situation, one way to look at it from a different perspective is to repeat what happened to you in the third person (e.g. You start with “YOUR NAME did x and then HE/SHE said). It might sound silly to tell you a story about yourself, but what happens is that the linguistic change creates a cognitive change. This means that you’ll find yourself outside the situation and will rather look at it as when a friend shares a story about themselves and not you. You could even record yourself and then listen. Be playful and see what you will learn about yourself and the situation.
Speaking of friends, never underestimate the power of a good conversation. Talking to a friend, exchanging with family members or even a colleague will lift some weight off your shoulders and you will feel lighter and less alone. There are also many online groups and services for different topics in case you don’t feel ready to share your sorrows with someone you know. Talking about things out loud is very often the first step to healing and also a sign of courage. Be courageous and speak your truth!
Emotional piggy bank
It’s time to fill your emotional piggy bank with activities and tools that will help you to weather difficult situations. It can be powerful questions like “Is what I’m doing helping me or harming me?”, as mentioned by wellbeing and resilience expert Lucy Hone in her Ted Talk “The three secrets of resilient people”, or activities that will help you to do the previous steps more at ease. Your emotional piggy bank is a personal repository. You can actually have a physical piggy bank that you fill with small pieces of paper where you write down things that help you to connect with others (e.g. going for a walk, calling a friend), to change perspective (e.g. idea of “third person story”) and acknowledging what is going on (e.g. “journal your thoughts”). If you’re looking for more inspiration, you’ll find plenty in 5 Tips To Boost Your Mental Fitness or How To Turn Your Staycation Into A Self-Care Festival This Summer. This kind of exercise might seem unnatural to you, but once you need it, you will be happy that you put in the work and can benefit from it when the next storm hits.