Many of us have been experiencing the phenomenon known as “sudden onset working from home.”
Working from home has and always will be a great idea.
But when it’s all you have, you find out quickly that you need some strategies to keep your wits about you.
How do you stay flexible when unexpected challenges come up and sudden priorities prairie dog their way into your day?
The biggest factor in staying afloat in today’s constantly changing work environment is learning how to stay flexible.
If you can bend fifty different directions without breaking, you’re more likely to keep standing for the long haul.
In Day 25 of my book 31 Days of Mental Health Moments, I unpack an object lesson about flexibility using the physics of skyscrapers. It turns out basic architecture has some things to teach us about how to withstanding pressure from outside and inside.
Some days it seems like you have pressure coming from every direction, doesn’t it? How can you set yourself up to stay flexible even as some powerful winds blow?
At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you have to build some intentional practices into your day to keep yourself moving but stable.
Have some go-to ways to decompress during the day
The Industrial Revolution brought us the straight-up, eight-hour workday with its well-defined breaks. This is a long time to work at one time, in my opinion.
You need to have regular times in your day that you remove yourself from the pressure of the work and reconnect with you for just a couple of minutes.
- Take a walk,
- Watch an episode of “The Office,”
- Chop vegetables for dinner tonight,
- There are no wrong answers here.
Play around with a few different healthy practices until you find “your thing.”
The important thing is that you find some time and space to disconnect from that pressure. It will recharge you and help improve your creativity, too.
Use your phone to remind you throughout the day to step back for just a couple of minutes.
Develop a breathing practice to call on when you start feeling overwhelmed
Breathing deeply from your diaphragm will help you take your anxiety down a notch in those stressful moments. You can find the technique for this in my book as well.
This technique is used by combat personnel, first responders and other high risk workers to find some calm in the moments where they really need to shine.
It is possible to stay calm when chaos is spinning all around you. Learning how to breathe right through it is an important skill to have in your tool belt.
Practice deep breathing when you don’t feel stressed so you can more easily access it when you really need it.
Remind yourself of your own humanity
Being human means being powerful, amazing and breathtaking, while at the same time being fragile, vulnerable and prone to fracture.
We all share this.
It’s okay to not always feel like you’re on top of things. Some days just aren’t like that, no matter how hard you try.
Have a few affirmations near you that acknowledge that you showed up, you tried and you did move forward just because you were there.
You don’t have to confront anything or draw any lines in the sand.
Just acknowledge that it’s challenging to walk around in your skin sometimes and that tomorrow will be better.
Flexibility is about giving yourself the grace and space to make mistakes and to rise above your mistakes to succeed.