Staying resilient in uncertain times – how to look after your career and yourself

For many of us it feels like the world has tilted on its axis this last few weeks. The routines and norms we previously took for granted have been thrown away and replaced by a blended world of home/work that all happens in the same place.

For others there might be no work at all, with little prospect of securing anything suitable soon. Many of us are worried about our own health, or the health of loved ones and neighbours. It’s a scary time, described by many as our generation’s war.

So what can you do to stay resilient when the world is in crisis and everything seems so uncertain? Are there any positives we can take from having some enforced time at home? What practical steps can you take to make sure you come out of the other end in the best position possible? Here are some thoughts from me.

Create your support network

If you’re having a tough time you’ll need people around you. I call them cheerleaders, but use whatever name you want as long as you have identified a few reliable people who can scoop you up when you’re struggling. You might have someone at home who normally has this role, but it’s useful to have a few others in your network too.

I have friends in business who understand what it’s like to work for yourself, along with all of the risks (and benefits) it brings. I also have good friends who I’ve known a long time, and of course my husband and business partner Chris plays a key role. Having a variety of people will give you a range of ideas and perspectives when you need them and support you in different ways.

Do healthy stuff

It could be easy to disappear into a long-term Netflix binge, emerging pink-eyed and pasty-faced when the lockdown is over, but we all need to look after our emotional and physical well-being.

The brilliant thing is that businesses all over the world have created a wealth of online resources to help us stay fit and healthy while at home. Joe Wicks has become the nation’s self-nominated PE teacher, and gyms all over the country have produced online workouts using minimal equipment that you can watch live, or at a time that suits you.

We’re all allowed to go outside once a day, so take the opportunity to explore from your front door. Ask local friends where they like to walk or just get out for a stomp on your favourite routes. Be sure to spend a bit of your outdoor time in the moment, noticing the world around you. Right now the birds are loud, the cherry blossom and magnolias are beginning to bloom, and tulips are making an appearance. It doesn’t matter what you notice, as long as you try to spend a few moments tuned in to what’s around you; it will stop you thinking about everything else, even for a short time.

Do something positive every day

Make yourself a list of all the stuff you never get time to do and start to work through it. Whether that’s washing your curtains, painting the room you never got around to, or finishing the pile of books on your bedside table. Pick up an old hobby or try a new one! Just find something positive to do each and every day as this will help you feel like you’re living, not simply existing.

Help others

Whether you join a local online group to help the vulnerable or sign up as an NHS volunteer, there’s something we can all do to help other people.

If you have a particular skill can you share it with people? Could you make a video and share it online so that others can benefit from your talent? If you don’t, simply checking in with neighbours to make sure they have everything they need is a great thing to do. And there’s lots of evidence that helping others results in a mental boost for us too.

Adopt a growth mindset

A term coined by Carol Dweck, growth mindset means seeing everything as an opportunity for growth. Asking yourself what can I learn from this? rather than dwelling on how difficult a situation is can help you reframe and approach things more positively.

If you’re working from home for the first time you’ve learned at least one new skill by virtue of doing just that. You’ve probably also learned more about time management, self-motivation and prioritisation of work.

If you don’t have any work right now you could be using the time to put yourself in pole position once the fog lifts, but you could also take an online course, finally finish that pile of books you’ve been wanting to read, or spending quality time with your family.

Allow your emotions

It’s not over-selling it to say that the current situation has resulted in a rollercoaster of emotions for everyone. From children adapting to not seeing their friends and having to be motivated to do school work at home, to the parents trying to ensure they juggle the family and their own work, to people who live alone facing serious loneliness.

The extremes of emotions could range from anger to deep sadness to fear about the future and back to anger again. The best advice I can give you is to allow that to happen. Give your emotional state a name. Differentiate between how you feel and who you are – you feel useless, but you are not useless. Say this out loud if it helps – I feel useless, I feel angry, I feel frustrated, I feel sad. It is okay to experience negative emotions and process them but don’t wallow in them, use your support network to help you keep a balanced view in both your head and heart.

For more on positively handling your emotions take a look at Lucy Whitehall from Transform and Thrive, who has done a lot of work in this area

If you want some help to work through your career options, give me a call on 07765 894040 to book your free chemistry session. I can do all of my career coaching via Zoom, Skype or other video call, so there’s no barrier to getting the help you need even while we’re in lockdown.

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