Contributing Author: Meri Althauser, Workplace Wellness Specialist, National Wellness Institute & Resilience and Thriving Facilitator, Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems
As we go back to work, it’s not uncommon to be fearful of the future: of going back to… “THE BEFORE.” We were scheduled to the gills. We didn’t see our families. We worked without pets and children and didn’t cultivate sourdough starter in order to throw it out weeks later. (Okay maybe that one is less important). Here are five quick activities to identify the Pandemic Pros and to make plans to keep them in your routine even as we go back to full-time hustle.
1) Pie chart. When data is your love language, draw a circle and make a pie chart capturing how you spent your time on your best and most balanced days. Be sure to capture everything: 5% mindless scrolling, 9% cooking, 30% work, 10% exercise, and don’t forget 7% stressing about the future. Draw a second pie chart capturing your old stressed-out state. And last, make your third capturing the perfect proportion of where you want to be devoting your time.
2) Vision. Did lockdown get you wondering what you’re doing with your life? A global sense of things being “off” or feeling lost can come from not having a clear purpose. There are lots of vision planning tools on the internet that will help you compile your values, your strengths, and lessons learned from life experiences to draft a clear personal vision. When looking for a tool, be sure to find o
ne that asks you lots of insightful questions, rather than just one or two fill-in-the-blanks.
3) Lifestyle goals. Though it seems obvious, maintaining a healthy lifestyle (a balanced, colorful diet, regular exercise, exposure to nature, and social engagement) is vital to your well-being. Think of it as building up your mental health immune system. Pick one small lifestyle goal that you can stick with to build traction (like drinking water or taking a short walk break) then snowball those goals as you get back to work. Protect the time needed to get these tasks done on your calendar so that you can be sure to maintain your well-being goals when you get back to the nine-to-five.
4) Office policies that support well-being. If keeping up with travel, billable hour requirements, or time-wasting meetings prevents work-life balance, staff this with your office leadership. You’re probably not alone. To support well-being, offices can implement small but meaningful policies like allowing a few billable hours to go toward exercise, mental health breaks, or volunteer time. All staff should honor each other’s calendar entries for well-being activities. Or try brainstorming a well-being group activity at each weekly meeting to make balance and well-being top of mind and inclusive for everyone.
5) Workplace mindfulness. Mindfulness is the art of calming the brain to gain better focus and well-being. When overwhelm creeps in, use a “do not disturb” feature to try spending just .1 hours meditating. Encouraging employees to focus on only one thing at a time helps to increase productivity and decrease overwhelm. This can be facilitated by streamlining workflow to decrease interruptions, clearly planning out project tasks and deadlines, planning out collaboration with support staff, and by blocking work schedules by type of work in a way that everyone understands and respects.
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Meri Althauser is an attorney of 10 years, certified Workplace Wellness Specialist through the National Wellness Institute, and a Resilience and Thriving Facilitator through Organizational Wellness and Learning Systems. Please contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org or 406–325–7100.