You’re having a stressful day in the recruitment office; candidates have dropped out of interviews, you’re working late to make up the numbers, and the KPIs are making you feel the pressure. What could possibly make it worse… How about a global pandemic of a new disease we know very little about?
Coronavirus panic has gripped the nation, and the recruitment industry is no exception. If you spend any amount of time on LinkedIn, you’ll be acutely aware of every other post being some comment on the coronavirus and its spread across the world. While the reality of the virus should be taken seriously, the mindshare given to it can have a negative impact on all our mental health.
Everyone knows that recruitment is one of the more difficult and stressful industries to be working in – with many recruiters finding their role more stressful than the average worker. Of course, it isn’t like this for everyone, but an influx of anxiety and stress thanks to the national news is the last thing many of us need.
That’s why it’s more important than ever for people within the industry to take steps to make sure their mental health remains strong throughout this taxing period. And while recruitment is an industry usually resistant to remote working, things are beginning to change. Now more than ever its important to examine our behaviours to discover how we can positively change our mindset in what is a particularly stressful period.
To help, we’ve compiled a list of positive actions we can all take, whether we’re working in the office or remote working from home, in order to ensure we’re all remaining stable over the next few weeks and months….
Limit your access and customise your experience on social media
What’s more frustrating than constantly worrying about the effects of coronavirus on your life? Listening to everyone else worry about it, too. It’ll be difficult to escape the constant talk about what is one of the biggest news stories of a generation, but it doesn’t mean you have to intentionally introduce more of this into your daily routine.
Social media has been shown to already have negative effects on mental wellbeing, and during a particularly tense time across the globe, this can only be exacerbated as a constant stream of anxiety hits your news feed. With LinkedIn playing such a major part in people’s daily recruitment structures, it doesn’t seem wise to suggest people turn away from social media altogether (although nobody would blame you for deleting Facebook for the time being…) There are, however, multiple actions you can take to limit the effects of social media on your mental health while coronavirus-related posts are at their height.
Muting individual accounts that circulate negative content and experiences is one way of limiting your social media exposure. You can also block content about specific subjects across different social media accounts, too. For example, twitter allows you to block tweets containing certain phrases from your timeline, so if you’re tired of the constant tweets about the #toiletpapercrisis, just go ahead and block anything related to toilet paper!
Blocking negative content is just one way of changing your experience on social media for the better – but you can also do the opposite. By actively engaging with and following accounts that relate to more positive content, you’ll turn your timeline from one fraught with worry, to a timeline of positivity and encouragement under difficult circumstances (Instagram is a great platform for doing this!)
Keep your work-breaks varied and active
Making sure you’re taking time away from your desk during a relatively stressful period is one way to ensure you’re keeping on top of your mental health – however its also important to make sure that any breaks you are taking are varied, especially when you’re outside of work. This advice is particularly important to people who are working from home, who will find themselves otherwise stuck inside the house for pretty much 24 hours a day. While working from home allows you to have easy access to your home comforts by just reaching across your desk, it also makes it tempting to keep yourself locked behind your front door.
Making sure you’re staying active is particularly important to keeping your mental health strong, but as gyms start shutting their doors as the pandemic gets worse, you need to get creative with your activities. If you find yourself no longer being able to go to the gym before or after work, consider strapping on some trainers and going for a run (or even a nice walk) instead. If you’re working from home, it’s the perfect opportunity to start getting active during you lunch breaks. This also allows you to get the fresh air and sunlight that are essential to combatting anxiety and improving overall mental health.
Don’t obsess over the news
It’s easy to fuel your anxiety by sticking the news on in the background and constantly glancing at the 24-hour ticket-tape coverage of every single infection that happens in the country. While it’s important to stay informed so you’re able to make sensible decisions, it’s also important to take breaks from the coverage in order to reduce its impact on your mental health. You can also actively avoid listening to news about topics that make you feel actively nervous or increase your levels of anxiety. There’s a reason the news often seems so negative – because it’s the negative stories that have the greatest impact on our day-to-day lives, and coronavirus is no exception.
Again, keeping yourself limited to just the important news stories of the day is especially important when you’re working from home. It seems sensible to stick the news on your TV while working away, but even if you’re not watching the news with your full attention, the stream of headlines relating to death-rates and infection levels is bound to have a negative impact on your mood and fuel your worry.
Limiting your news intake across the obvious sources is easy, but social media is also one of the biggest sources of news – however it also happens to be the biggest source of misinformation, too. If you’re a keen follower of current events, make sure you stick to trusted sources to avoid the panic that often follows misinformation on social news sources like Facebook.
Stay connected to family, friends and colleagues
It’s important to make sure you follow the self-isolation rules if you find yourself suddenly encumbered with symptoms of coronavirus (you can find these here!), but keeping yourself isolated from others can be an incredibly lonely experience. Even if you aren’t isolating yourself at home, many people are avoiding contact with vulnerable and older loved ones for fear of passing anything on to them – something which is completely understandable but can feel quite isolating in itself. Not to mention, if you’re working from home you find yourself suddenly without the constant social interaction of the office that you’re so used to.
Recruitment is an industry already known or its difficult to manage work/life balance – particularly if you’re working in a firm that doesn’t respect your need for balance – so introducing isolation issues into the fold makes things even more complicated than they usually would be. Not only do you have to contend with your usual high-volume of work and difficult hours, but suddenly your contact with friends and family is cut too.
This doesn’t mean you have to stay completely disconnected form people – though. While we’ve already talked about the need to cut down on social media, using it as a tool to stay connected to people you care about is one way of tackling the loneliness that can creep in during isolation or while working from home. And while it might be difficult to see people face-to-face at the moment, making an effort to pick up the phone so you can keep talking to friends is an excellent way to staying connected to your network.
Keep your office (or work-from-home desk) clean – but don’t fret about it
We’re all being told to constantly wash our hands and keep our homes and offices clean – and while this advice is essential to making sure you remain healthy during a pandemic, its also easy to over do it. Anxiety is fuelled by negative thoughts, and these thoughts are often solidified by your actions – particularly when these actions are repetitive. If you’re forcing yourself to wash your hands every 30 minutes or wipe down every surface in your house on the hour – it’s time to take another look at the advice we’ve been given.
This can be particularly hard for people who already have health-related anxiety issues – as suddenly the actions you’ve been trying hard to suppress feel like they’re now justified thanks to a worldwide pandemic. It’s important to keep yourself clean, but turning that into an unhealthy obsession will have a much more negative impact on your mental health without actually reducing your chances of contracting an illness.
If you’re working in an office, one way to tackle this issue while keeping your office clean is by getting everyone involved in cleaning common spaces. By making sure everyone in the office pitches in, the amount of effort and thought you put into doing it is reduced and you’re able to more easily relax. When you’re working at home, sticking to a routine is the easiest way of making sure you don’t go overboard.
These are just some of the simple steps we can all take to reduce the impact of Coronavirus-hysteria on our mental health – something that’s important to do considering how taxing recruitment can be without a global pandemic! By keeping ourselves stress-free, we all remain safer and more productive – whether we’re working at home or from the office.