How to Manage Your Work Day

Work Days

COVID – 19 Learn how to make the smooth transition to self-isolation and home working and manage your personal stress


Mark Shields Explains

Whenever I’m coaching anyone one of my leading coaching strategies is to use my BIG 5 Rules for keeping ourselves on track and dealing with fear and anxiety. They are relevant to helping manage different forms of stress that induces fear and anxiety. A lot of both of these being experienced on a global scale right now as a result of COVID – 19 so these techniques are more important than ever.

My Big 5 rules for dealing with stress, fear and anxiety in everyday life are

Educate your mind
Strengthen your body
Take expert advice
Focus on what you have and are grateful for
Develop a faith in something bigger and greater than yourself.

We are currently experiencing unknown and unsettling times. We never know quite what we’re going to wake up to with the ballpark seeming to change every day.

This causes and un precedented level of fear and anxiety in all of us and the need to stay present and grounded is more important than ever before. We need to stay strong for those in our lives that need our support.

With most countries in the world on some form of lock down we are being forced to adapt to new ways of working and living our daily lives.

With everyone in some form of self-isolation the majority of us find ourselves working from home which although can appeal at first, has its own hidden challenges later on without the banter and connection life in the office can bring into our lives every day.

This coupled with the international pandemic we are all trying to get our heads around at the moment I think it’s fair to say most people are juggling numerous stresses from getting used to their new working from home in isolation routine, home schooling children, financial uncertainties, living in lockdown, shortages of supplies, career uncertainty, all the time aware we could get the dreaded virus at any moment.

In this article I want to look at the challenges of working from home whilst managing our personal levels of stress and fear created by the current environmental factors outside of our control.

The Psychology of Fear

We are all afraid of what we don’t know. As human beings we all have a set of needs that we need to be met every day. These are…

Security — safe territory and an environment which allows us to develop fully
Attention (to give and receive it)
Sense of autonomy and control — having volition to make responsible choices
Feeling part of a wider community
Privacy — opportunity to reflect and consolidate experience
Sense of status within social groupings
Sense of competence and achievement
Meaning and purpose — which come from being stretched in what we do and think.
Manageable amount of change at any given time.

And the areas of our life these need areas apply most to are…

Career / Business

So, it’s easy to see very quickly how the current corona virus situation is creating mass insecurity in the world and the reasons why.

We are all dealing with our main need areas of health, business and finances being turned upside down and affecting our feelings of security, control, manageable change, social connection, no wonder anxiety is at an all-time high in the world right now.

With most of us now working from home let’s look at ways of making this transition as easy as possible so we can be just as effective, whilst managing our stress and anxiety levels, all at the same time, in these uncertain times.

Working from home

1 Daily Routine – Ensure you have a daily routine that includes

Getting up at the same time each day

Checking in with family and friends on face time

Plan each day what needs to be done and write it down the night before

Create a dedicated work from home space for each family member

Check you have all the tools you need WIFI Connection, ensure access to SKYPE / ZOOM / WEBEX

Create a visual timetable for all

2 Protect your physical health

Drink 3 litres of water every day

Take daily recommended amounts of VIT D / VIT C / Zinc /

Exercise for at least 45 minutes perc day cardiovascular

Pay particular attention not to have an accident and really focus on looking after your physical health as there are limited services to GP’s and hospitals right now

Strengthen your emotional resilience with the POWER TRIAD MEDITATION

Ensure daily mind rituals to keep your mind strong. Our recommended daily mind exercise we recommend is called the POWER TRIAD. It is meditation with 3 levels of focus.

You begin with lying or sitting down somewhere quiet, closing your eyes down and doing 20 minutes of chill seeker / Meditation breathing.

In the through the nose counting for 4, holding at the top of the breath for 3 and then blowing out for the mouth for 5. This balances the C02 and oxygen in the blood and will relax you very quickly. You may fall asleep. This is fine.

Once you reach a sufficiently relaxed and deep level relaxation state you focus on 3 different things in turn

The first thing is to focus on things that worry you and these will vary each day. You say to yourself on the inside using affirmations that you now accept whatever was worrying you and your letting it go and moving on. You do these 20 times

The second area of focus is things that you have and feel grateful for. Again 20 affirmations.

Finally, things you’re looking forward to, plans you’re making for the next week or two, new learnings, new actions, new experiences. Again 20 times

The best time to do this is last thing at night or first thing in the morning. Just as you’re waking up or drifting off to sleep. It’s called the theta brainwave state and it’s a natural hypnotic state we all enjoy twice a day. This will ensure you strengthen your mind.

4 Manage your personal stress

The POWER TRIAD will help massively with your emotional resilience and stress. Additional methods of stress management in times like this include

Have a plan – We know COVID – 19 has an open-ended life span with best guestimates being 12 weeks to we hopefully see the back of it although no one knows for sure. Plan your weeks 1 at a time, keep busy.

Stay socially connected – Have weekly ZOOM hangouts. You can meet with friends online and replicate a night out, have a drink enjoy conversation, all at home of course.

Sleep. – Sleep is the first thing hit when we get stressed. Adapt a sleep hygiene action plan. Go to bed earlier, avoid food for at least 4 hours before bed. Avoid natures second round of cortisol. Nature produces 2 rounds of the stress hormone cortisol which dates back to caveman times helping us get out of bed in the morning and keeping us away in the middle of the night to help us hunt and gather. It arrives it most people between 11.30 AND 12.30PM. It feels like a second wind and is often described as such. The answer is to be in bed and asleep before it hits.

Stimulants – Avoid all coffee, tea, alcohol, anything that stimulates you. Remember coffee stays in the body for 40 hours.

Physical Exercise – Ensure at least 45 mins every day. Endorphins are the body’s natural opiates. They have a long-term calming effect.

Well there you have it. The beginning of ways to handle stress, adopt new practices smoothly and stay emotionally strong at times like we are experiencing at the moment. Keep up with all of these recommendations for 4 weeks and I will be back next month with more top tips to help you further