Cope and hope in Covid time
I hope you’re doing well and you’re holding tight during these (still) challenging times. The spring is coming and like nature, we may feel that our hopes for better are growing and have even started to flourish. The Covid vaccines are an immense relief, but we still need to be cautious and armed with patience, especially in countries where politics and decision makers are moving slowly. So this year, maybe more than ever, we need to enjoy nature's beauty. It is after all a very efficient way to boost your health and mental wellbeing (Urban Nature Experiences Reduce Stress in the Context of Daily Life Based on Salivary Biomarkers)
We have all been through a lot this year, and while we all have our own ways of responding to this pandemic stress, no matter how resilient we are, we’re all experiencing a considerable amount of stress and an emotional roller coaster.
So how are you these days? What is stressing you out the most? What do you do to keep going?
Take a few minutes to reflect and allow yourself to express your emotions, whatever they are. Access your inner core, imagine your heart smiling and saying thank you to yourself, to your loved ones and sending a love message to the world. I’ve long valued gratitude and compassion, including from myself, but in the past few days, I feel I’ve pushed them to the next level. I listened to a recent episode of Brené Brown’s podcast with Dr Edith Eger as a guest - it is mind-blowing. If you ever feel down and like you need an infusion of hope, listen to their conversation.
You can also read Dr Eger’s last book, ‘The gift’ - you’ll feel that it really is one.
Here are a few other readings that can help you these days:
Stress, cortisol and oxytocin
Stress & remote work
Yuval Noah Harari: Lessons from a year of Covid
THE ‘HUNGER HUG’
There is a plethora of research explaining our basic need for skin touch and social interactions. Since the pandemic started, many people are experiencing a ‘hunger hug’ that can take a toll on their mental wellbeing. Here is a very recent article explaining how oxytocin, also called the love hormone (released with kisses, hugs, social bonding, maternal behaviour etc.) could reduce stress "when the going gets tough''. Oxytocin can act as a ‘stress buffer’ and having a high baseline of oxytocin can allow us to better cope with a stressful situation.
REMOTE WORK and MENTAL WELLBEING
How to cope with stress while working remotely? This question is a very hot topic these days and it will be for a long time. From my experience so far helping teams working from home, what is crucial is to trying to understand your people’s needs better than ever before. There are of course tips and tricks about how to manage emotional wellbeing with remote work that can suit many people, but an extra layer of help can be very useful for both employees and companies. It’s not easy to put our finger on those needs and communicate them. Although everyone would like to be mindful, showing empathy or taking care of themselves, the most difficult thing is how to do that, given the current situation, environment and resources that one has.
REFLECTIONS ON COVID YEAR from Yuval Noah Harari
A quick reminder, the author is a historian, philosopher, and the bestselling author of Sapiens: A Brief History of Humankind and Homo Deus: A Brief History of Tomorrow.
I invite you to read his recent article with his view on this pandemic, here is a short snippet:
“How can we summarise the Covid year from a broad historical perspective? Many people believe that the terrible toll coronavirus has taken demonstrates humanity’s helplessness in the face of nature’s might. In fact, 2020 has shown that humanity is far from helpless. Epidemics are no longer uncontrollable forces of nature. Science has turned them into a manageable challenge. Why, then, has there been so much death and suffering? Because of bad political decisions.”
I hope you got some inspiration today to better cope with stress these days and keep in mind that attitude matters!
If you have any questions and comments or if you need help with your mental wellbeing, do not hesitate to contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr Lavinia Ionita | CEO Akesio