Lockdown blues: Here’s how to cope with stress and anxiety during the pandemic

If you are worried about how to manage your time and life during the lockdown, check out some coping strategies from Ramesh Nair, CEO and Country Head (India) JLL, as he shares some of his own experiences

“In life, there are some things that we may never ‘Get Over' so, sometimes the best we can do is “Get Through” these situations.  

I do believe that this is true, given our present circumstances. Today, humanity is staring at a gamut of uncertainties. This is something that we have never seen before, and from this existential crisis, there could be a tremendous increase in anxiety.

Ramesh Nair (Pic credit: author)

The digital age with its cacophony of social media and other forms of media outlets is overflowing with negative stories, zapping out every bit of positivity that we may be holding on to as we try and manoeuvre this new normal.

Disruption of life

It is not the virus that is scaring us, but it is the drastic change, the uncontrollability and the uncertainty of the situation that scares us more. After all, we humans are slaves to our routines as well as the stability of the ecosystem surrounding us and any change in our environment always has a drastic impact on us.

At this time, we may not have control over our circumstances, but we do have control over our minds and our thought processes. To keep our minds engaged, it is important for us to make a conscious effort towards continuously learning, integrating new information and developing new practices both on a professional and personal front.

The new normal 

Here I take inspiration from none other than the father of evolution himself, Charles Darwin when he says - “It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.”

India is all set for a new normal once the lockdown is completely lifted (Pic credit: Shutterstock)

We must, primarily, accept the magnitude of these uncertain times and learn to balance short term actions and long-term initiatives. None of us predicted the lockdown to happen and then, we did not predict it to be extended either. The future may look uncertain and therefore, we must prepare ourselves for it, one day at a time.

How to be more productive?

I'm using this time to rearrange my thoughts stoically, both personally and professionally.

On a professional front, my team and I brainstorm on business ideas and practices for today and a better tomorrow, for both our people and our clients.

Stay connected with your teams for maximum productivity (Pic credit: Shutterstock)

Productivity is critical at this time and we need to ensure that there are clear priorities set for each team which are being closely monitored. I keep on reminding our leaders that in order to keep spirits up, they must assure teams that they have faith in them.

It’s imperative we stay connected to our teams and continue to show that we care. Financially all organisations are currently struggling and trying to explore solutions to manage liquidity and viability.

Finding new hobbies

On a personal front, I have been catching up on watching pending shows and reading. I also watched a few Malayalam and Tamil films after a very long time. My social media intake has also increased. 

This is also a very good time to catch-up with old friends. I spoke to my school and college friends and old colleagues on video calls after a very long time.

The best way to cope with anxiety is by chatting with friends online (Pic credit: Shutterstock)

The lockdown has been a great time for me to catch up on my reading. I have been reading book and articles and listening to podcasts on leadership, management and self-development.

This is not a time to put extra pressure on yourself. Try finding a hobby that keeps you both mentally and physically fit. Plenty of things can be tried out for the first time at home. Find something that is therapeutic and will help you relieve stress.

Manage stress

Managing stress begins with acceptance. While uncertain times make it difficult for us to predict anything, it also makes us realise the small things that we must be grateful for. When overwhelmed by negative imagery, try to overcome these feelings with positive thoughts. It is critical to control one’s emotional volatility.

At the workplace, managers and leaders have a direct effect on their employees’ stress and anxiety levels. Team members often look up to their leaders/managers to guide them during uncertain times and in the face of fear. Employees are attracted to companies that have a clean and positive impact on the world. 

Self approval is important

Over the last few weeks, I have tried and accepted the situation and myself. I believe self-approval is more important than the approval of others.

The key is to keep reminding yourself that everything will be okay and not to overthink. I always ask myself “Will it matter in 5 years?” and this has helped me significantly overcome stressful situations. 

As we move forward things will get tough, so it is important that we all take care of our mind /headspace, not just for our own health but for the health of others too.

(All representational pic credits: Shutterstock)

Edited by Asha Chowdary

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)


Updates from around the world