There is a lot of attention paid to NHS workers (rightly so) as they are on the front line. But there are many other workers, who do not share in the benefits given to NHS staff.
The current crisis has been difficult for so many people, with some difficulties unique to particular situations. As people start to return to work, we're facing another period of adjustment. For those who have been working through out the crisis. Today's blog looks at how all of us can support those at work, and ourselves as we return to work.
1) Checking in
It's great to check in on friends and family, and many of us are more connected than ever. But, if you are trying to work, a stream of phone calls and messages can be very distracting and frustrating. As someone who has worked through this crisis, this is something that I find annoying. So, if you do want to check in, perhaps send a text or email that they can respond to when they take a break, rather than interrupting a meeting or their work. If you are trying to work, you can look at using one of the many apps or programs that help you shut out distractions
2) Be polite and courteous
Sadly, many of the people who have been working have been subjected to a barrage of abuse from customers, particularly over changes to shopping. I spoke to one checkout assistant who described how unpleasant it was. Bear in mind that they are as much a victim of circumstances as everyone else, and that they don't make the rules. If you do think a rule is objectionable, then take your complaint to the management, but in a reasonable, and pleasant manner. Be pleasant, and polite, and appreciate what they are doing to support you and the nation.
It's also fair to mention that many people have made an effort to show their appreciation to those in service jobs, through cards and chocolate and notes to express their thanks. It is so encouraging for those working to receive this, so if you haven't already thanked your delivery people; postman; dustman etc, then perhaps you could consider leaving a note?
3) Change is stressful
Change can be very stressful, and it's easy to get lost in the chaos. By now, many people are used to isolation life, but the new normal will change rapidly, so allowing yourself time and space to adjust is important:
- Create a schedule: schedules help us to get things done, and provide a framework for our days. Once you have a schedule, keep reviewing it, and adjusting it where necessary.
- Be kind to yourself: make sure you take time to do things you enjoy, get some exercise, and look after your physical health, as well as mental health.
- No one can do everything. Accept that some things may have to wait. If you're feeling stressed, and lacking time, look at what you're doing, and ask - is it really important to do this now? What things can I ignore for a bit?
- Accept the things you cannot change, change the things you can. The old AA mantra is a good one - there is no point in getting upset over situations you can not control or change. Focus on things you can deal with, and resolve them.
4) Stay connected
- Talk to your friends and family about what you're going through. It helps to talk about issues. often you discover you're not the only one who is feeling that way.
- Talk to your boss. If you are feeling under pressure at work, have an honest conversation with your boss, and see whether there are any adjustments that can be made to help you. Your employer does have a duty of care towards you.
- Get professional help: if you are struggling to see the light, and have been feeling low and anxious for a few weeks, and nothing is helping, then perhaps it's time to seek health. Talk to your GP - they still want to hear from you!
5) Be prepared
Consider whether or not you want to have your own PPE for travelling to work, to help protect yourself. Amazon does have a lot on sale at present. They ring-fence certain items for the NHS, so you don't have to worry about depleting their supplies.
Be part of the solution, not the problem: if there is a way to make your work place safer, then talk to your boss.
6) Give preference to those working
Having to stand in a supermarket queue for hours after completing a full shift at work is not easy or pleasant. But it is the reality for care home workers, dustmen, and many others who are listed as 'essential workers' on the government website. If you are in a position to make their lives easier, then please consider doing so.
These are challenging times, but standing together will help us all to make it through.
*Image by Henning Westerkamp from Pixabay