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How to deal with uncertainty at work

Alex Hattingh, Chief People Officer - Employment Hero

As widespread inflation and the long-term impact of the pandemic continues to affect everyone, it sometimes feels like there’s been very little respite from the last few years. Everyone has been affected, be it financially, physically or mentally.

Accepting uncertainty and remaining resilient can be a challenge on a practical level, but here are some ideas on how you can build that resilience to support yourself and others when personal wellbeing takes a hit.

Step 1: Be kind to yourself and your team members
If things are really tough and they are affecting you day-to-day, the reality is that you can only do what you can do. The key is to recognise how you can make things work when the productivity well is running a little dry.

  • Manage what you can in the present moment, make sure workloads are spread evenly.
  • Focus on the good things happening in your day.
  • Make a conscious effort to maintain a positive attitude when things get too much, reach out to someone or step away from a difficult task and come back to it.

Step 2: Find a routine
If you’re a caregiver or trying to balance personal commitments and challenges as everything else gets tough, things will feel destabilising. This is where it can help to find and stick to a routine as best you can.

  • Choose a rhythm that works

As best you can, it can be helpful to have control over one thing – your personal routine. There’s plenty of research that suggests our brains thrive on routine. For the sake of your mental health, set some simple routine staples that you can include.

  • Remember the basics

This is a hard time. It is inevitable that some days will feel tougher than usual. Whether you’re already living with mental health issues or you’re feeling their effects for the first time – take it easy on yourself and practice acceptance.

Step 3: Consider ways to support your mental wellbeing

  • Reach out to someone you trust

Particularly for introverted types or those who might feel self-conscious talking about mental health, it can be all too easy in times of struggle to shut yourself away from others. However, this can lead to feelings of isolation that compound existing challenges. It could be as simple as texting a friend or going for a walk with a colleague. You might find that they’re in the same boat or that they can give you a good distraction from things that are troubling you.

  • Healthy body = healthy mind

If you want to keep your mind healthy, you need to care for your body. Our psychological state is intrinsically linked to our physiological health. Especially in times of increased stress; practising self-care is essential. Our mental health is hugely influenced by what we fuel our bodies with, so be mindful about what you’re eating and drinking. Hydration is important for brain function and therefore for mental health. Make sure you’re drinking enough throughout the day.

  • Meditate

One of the best parts about meditation is that it only takes a few minutes each day. You could even try setting an alarm to help develop a constant habit. Social media is a good place to find free guides to start your meditation journey.

  • Take breaks

Taking more breaks is essential for employee productivity, mental wellbeing and overall work performance.

Step 4: Find community
The after-effects of the Covid-19 pandemic and the stresses around the cost of living have left many of us feeling anxious and isolated. This is bad news for our mental health because after all, we are social creatures. To protect your mental health, seek community.

  • At home

Maybe try bringing your household together for a painting night or a trivia quiz- they’re cost-effective and fun.

  • At work

If you’re working from home, make the most of technology. Staying in regular contact with colleagues is important. Have a video chat or pick up the phone if you can. The same goes if you’re back in the office – make sure you’re reaching out and getting involved.

  • As a team leader

If you’re a leader at work, there are specific challenges when mental health gets tough.

It may also be that you have to support people in your team with their own mental health challenges. Look into different ways you can engage your team, even if it involves setting up different activities at different times.

  • The wrap up

It’s been a difficult few years, and it’s understandable if you feel overwhelmed and stressed. With a few strategies and mood-boosting activities, you can feel more in control when you face uncertainty and negative events.

Take care of yourself and your employees and remember to reach out to trusted people for support.

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