Adjusting to the “new normal” of COVID-19 has been difficult for all. However, many would agree that this has opened their eyes to a new perspective on what truly matters and has allowed them to fully acknowledge the importance of mental health.
Earlier this week, we hosted an open discussion centered around protecting mental health in our lives and stress navigation as a result of the COVID-19 crisis. This panel with Manpreet Dhillon, CEO of Veza Global, and Joanna Buczkowska-McCumber, Executive Director at League of Innovators, took an insightful approach to this topic. In this intimate virtual session, the two executive leaders opened up about their personal struggles and prevailing challenges. Joanna specifically touched on how she is dealing with being both a full time professional and a full time mom working from home right now. The reality is, so many women are in this same situation and it can be difficult knowing where to turn, feeling like there is just not enough time in the day to get things done. It is such an important time to take advantage of what we do still have access to and that is keeping connected online! Even virtual support can make a difference.
We are living in a world more uncertain than ever right now and for most this is a very scary time to be forging ahead with a business. Melanie Ewan, Co-founder and managing partner of Volition, who joined the session added that these unknowns “create and perpetuate anxiety at both an individual and collective level”. Joanna and Manpreet ran with this idea and delved into possible strategies of dealing with this.
Tips and Resources
What can we do to handle these unknowns and keep control, and most importantly how can a positive outlook be maintained?
A good place to start is by following these three approaches:
- Actively trying to align yourself with your own values.
- Don’t compare yourself to others! Remember that everyone copes differently.
- Get your body moving; exercise can make a world of difference particularly now while most of us are stuck at home in isolation.
Recall, not only are these approaches particularly useful during the present time but they are just as imperative in practicing otherwise.
Manpreet expanded on this last point about working out, expressing how much joy she finds in taking dance classes! Whichever method you regularly choose to get up and moving, exercise always helps to keep you grounded and blow off some steam. Varying forms of meditation and yoga can be equally as gratifying. Practicing things like controlled breathing can be very helpful in taking your mind off of stressful topics and reminding yourself of what is truly important.
Beyond exercise, there are several fun activities that can be useful when suffering from a stressful day. Among other ideas, participants of the session and the two panelists suggested things like karaoke nights, online drumming classes, learning to speak french, and reading science fiction novels as enjoyable activities to take part in when not working. As almost everyone would agree, a work life balance is crucial. Taking time to do things which, above all, just make you happy allows you to free your mind. This personal time is imperative in regaining energy and shouldn’t be thought of as time neglecting work.
Keep yourself connected with others
One of the biggest takeaways from this session was that a great way to lessen the burden of stress and anxiety is to remain connected. Making use of conversations with friends and colleagues can allow you to realize that whatever you are feeling, you are not alone! This especially rings true with the current situation. Manpreet suggested that one good way of completing goals in a day and feeling grounded right now is through basic accountability. Call up a friend in the morning and tell them what you want to get done and then at the end of the day let them know what you completed. Additionally, use the online resources at hand to keep in touch with family and friends. Whether you are referring to mental health and stress navigation during the pandemic or not, opening up and talking to others is essential. Stress will build up so let others around you help out!
Last but not the least, if you are a professional woman looking to meet other like-minded women, check out our app Locelle and make meaningful connections.
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