Building Resilience When You’re Pandemic-Fatigued

Forbes.com

Posted October 12, 2020 by Mark Perna

Employed or unemployed, you can bounce back with these strategies. Mark’s article, “Building Resilience When You’re Pandemic-Fatigued,” published at Forbes.com on October 7, 2020.

In 2020, crisis fatigue got a new name: pandemic fatigue.

Crisis fatigue sets in when the human body experiences heightened levels of cortisol and adrenaline for an extended period of time. “When our bodies remain in crisis mode…cortisol and adrenaline can wreak havoc on our physical and mental wellbeing,” says Psychology Today’s Michael Pittaro.

It’s easy to see the connection between crisis and pandemic fatigue. Justin Black, Glint’s Head of People Science, defines pandemic fatigue as “the general sense of malaise employees are experiencing as a result of the intense emotions and sense of uncertainty we wrestle with on a daily basis.”

In 2020, crisis fatigue got a new name: pandemic fatigue. Click To Tweet

In the workplace, this translates to workers feeling less positive, less connected with their peers and leaders, and ultimately less engaged and productive. These feelings are often magnified for the unemployed worker, who may feel lost in a sea of equally qualified candidates—and tired of trying to swim to the top. How can we respond productively when we hit a wall at every turn?

There’s no silver bullet to solve all of our career and mental-health problems at once, but there is a trait that every worker, employed and unemployed, can start developing to tackle these challenges. And that trait is resilience.

Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, failures and adverse circumstances—things we’ve all experienced more than usual these past six months. Resilience is what will separate success and struggle.

Resilience is what will separate success and struggle. Click To Tweet

Here are four ways you can start building it.

  • Recognize the opportunity. Just as we can’t build physical muscle without resistance, nor can we build the mental muscle of resilience without adverse circumstances. The COVID-19 crisis is far from a blessing in disguise, but it does present an opportunity for growth. Recognize the opportunity you have, right where you are today, to become a more resilient individual.
  • Stay networked. When we’re numb or stressed with the ever-changing demands of pandemic life, it can be easy to retreat or withdraw. But now is the time to stay connected. Both in your personal life and professionally, keep relationships alive through honest and regular communication, where you seek to listen as well as share. Making the effort to listen will not only give the other person a lift, but may also give you a fresh perspective on your own challenges. There’s always someone who’s got it tougher.
  • Feed yourself on healthy content. ‘You are what you eat’—and this holds true for more than just what we put in our bodies. What you feed your mind with will determine what your mind puts out. If you’re overwhelmed with negative thoughts, trace them back to the content you’re consuming. It might be time to make some changes, like switching up some of your social media or news sites for something more positive.
  • Focus, plan—and take action. Focus directs our undivided attention to the problem at hand. The potential solutions we then create are our plan, leading toward action to address the problem. These are the ingredients of positive change in any area of life—including pandemic fatigue. When focusing, planning and taking action become the default response to any challenge life throws at you, you’ve become a more resilient individual.
  • When focusing, planning and taking action become the default response to any challenge life throws at you, you’ve become a more resilient individual. Click To Tweet

How employers can help

“It’s more important than ever that organizations be proactive and intentional about connecting with their employees frequently,” says Black. “Our latest Crisis Insights Report found 80% of employees expressing interest in ‘more employer-sponsored mental health and well-being support.’” The findings also highlighted the need for work-life balance and advancements in technology to facilitate workplace connections with leaders, teammates, and friends.

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A sense of ongoing connection is especially important for younger workers, who are reporting the highest percentages of loneliness as a result of the pandemic. According to Glint’s research, 24–38-year-olds most desire employer-sponsored support for mental health and well-being, while those 54 years of age and older asked for it the least. “While all employees can benefit from employer-paid mental-health support, either through insurance or EAP, younger employees prefer affinity and connection in organizational settings,” says Black. “Practices like mental health days or well-being support groups aimed at educating and sharing stories of how and when to seek help can be particularly valuable with younger populations.”

The effects of coronavirus, and everything else 2020 has brought, are not going away any time soon. That means that everyone—employed and unemployed alike—will have significant opportunities to build resilience as we navigate the ongoing fallout of the pandemic.

Resilience isn’t built overnight, but with persistence, you can grow in your ability to bounce back stronger than ever after a crisis. Starting now.

Read at Forbes.com


About The Author
Mark Perna
Mark C. Perna is an international speaker and bestselling author. He also serves as CEO of TFS Results, a strategic consulting firm at the forefront of the national paradigm shift in education and workforce development.
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