I don’t know about you, but I am over living in the virtual world. I spend most days sat at my desk in the spare room and most evenings on my phone. Every meeting is via the screen including the social ones.
I am tired and stressed and my emotional resilience is low (and I know I am not alone in this!). A lot is connected to things outside my control and the challenges of life in general but living in the virtual world seems to be exacerbating the impact of it all.
Rationally I can stand back and appreciate the benefits of working virtually – I really do enjoy being able to work in my pyjamas, and I can do heaps more with the time I save not commuting, and I love being able to spend more time with my family. I also recognise that I am isolated and spending far more time in my head than I would ordinarily, so contact with friends and family is vital.
My usual coping mechanism for stress is social – my tribe brings me much joy and energy! – and this isn’t possible in the same way. Perversely, this situation puts even greater pressure on organisation skills, e.g. making sure that we’re complying with the rules if we do meet (outside of lockdown obvs), booking time in for a zoom call or similar. Theoretically, we have more time available but it feels like it’s more difficult to schedule. And this means that I struggle to activate my usual coping mechanism and the vicious circle continues… I am constantly at low levels of awesome.
None of this is new in these extraordinary times and this article from April really sums it up for me: https://www.bbc.com/worklife/article/20200421-why-zoom-video-chats-are-so-exhausting
However, I also think we have gone a step beyond this. We are now in this situation for the longer-term, it’s not a phase we’re going through. This is an endurance exercise. And it’s a challenge that we have done very little training for.
What can we do then to build our emotional resilience and endurance and increase our awesome?
I’ve been reworking through my Lean Life Canvas with my revised scores and reconnecting with what brings me joy and energy, focusing on building up the positive balance in my emotional bank account, jettisoning those elements under my control that are bringing me down and trying to choose my response, rather than just reacting.
It’s all well and good thinking and reflecting but….. so I looked up endurance training preparation and found: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endurance_training. The key point here is that nobody goes flat out straight away. It takes time to build up the stamina and capacity to be able to sustain high performance over a long period.
The way to beat this vicious circle then is to start small. One step at a time. Yes, reflect but feed that into action, even a small one to get started. I am going to start by getting outside at least once a day (because that will mean I need to get dressed, that I feel fresh air on my face and in my lungs, that I am away from the screen). Join me?