Is COVID-19 adding stress to your normal workday? You’re not alone. Many have reported fear and anxiety about this pandemic, and what can happen can be devastating and cause strong emotions in adults and children.  During this time of added pressure to keep everyone as healthy as possible—not to mention dealing with disruptions to your everyday professional and personal routines—it’s more important than ever to recognize the symptoms of stress and utilize stress management.

Recognition of symptoms of stress include:

  • Feeling irritation, anger, or in denial
  • Feeling uncertain, nervous, or anxious
  • Lacking motivation
  • Feeling tired, overwhelmed, or burned out
  • Feeling sad or depressed
  • Having trouble sleeping
  • Having trouble concentrating

Other occupational factors that can add to the stress include:

  • Concern about the risk of being exposed to the virus at work
  • Taking care of personal and family needs while working
  • Managing a different workload
  • Lack of access to the tools and equipment needed to perform your job
  • Feelings that you are not contributing enough to work or guilt about not being on the frontline
  • Uncertainty about the future of your workplace and/or employment
  • Learning new communication tools and dealing with technical difficulties
  • Adapting to a different workspace and/or work schedule

How one responds to stress during the COVID-19 pandemic depends on their background, social support from family or friends, financial situation, health and emotional background, the community they live in, and many other factors.

What can you do to manage stress: Below are some points to consider: 

  • Know the facts about COVID-19. Be informed about how to protect yourself and others. Understanding the risk and sharing accurate information with people you care about can reduce stress and help you make a connection with others.
  • Remind yourself that each of us has a crucial role in fighting this pandemic.
  • Remind yourself that everyone is in an unusual situation with limited resources
  • Know what to do if you are sick and are concerned about COVID-19. Contact a health professional before you start any self-treatment for COVID-19.
  • Know where and how to get treatment and other support services and resources, including counselling or therapy (in person or through telehealth services).
  • Communicate with your co-workers, supervisors, and employees about job stress while maintaining social distancing (at least 2 m).
    • Identify things that cause stress and work together to identify solutions.
    • Talk openly with employers, employees, and unions about how the pandemic is affecting work. Expectations should be communicated clearly by everyone.
    • Ask about how to access mental health resources in your workplace.
  • Look after your health:
    • Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals.
    • Exercise regularly.
    • Get plenty of sleep.
  • Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
  • Connect with others and your community. 
  • While social distancing measures are in place, consider connecting online, through social media, or by phone or mail.

It’s difficult to predict how and when this pandemic will end. However, while the uncertainty of this pandemic causes stress and anxiety, many will find this challenging as we adjust. Look out for each other and help one another through this difficult time.

For further information, contact ARM Associates.

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