We caught up with Gerry Lynch to hear his thoughts on forming a structure in lockdowns, connecting with others and taking time to korero.
It is tough being behind a computer for most of the day, with no people to talk to and maybe only a pet following you around. This is the world most of us live in now and for the next few weeks at least, so how can we ensure that our mental and physical health does not suffer as a result?
Firstly, go easy on yourself; it is normal that you might not be as productive as you are in the office or feel sad because you miss people. That is all ok, so take the time to stop and listen to how you feel and then think about what you can do to adapt to the ‘new normal.’
One model I like that can help us think about this situation is Stephen Covey’s circle of control/influence and concern from ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People’.
Many of us are spending too much time in the ‘Circle of concern’. ‘How long will this lockdown last?’ ‘Why are people not getting vaccinated faster?’ You can’t change this, so stop wasting energy on it.
What can you directly control? How you structure your day is crucial for lockdowns. I had a situation with someone booking back-to-back zooms and I know that I need at least a 5 minutes break every hour, so I said to the organiser that 10 minutes between meetings worked for others too, but they just hadn’t spoken up.
You can control your attitude and intentions. I have stopped listening to the news in the morning. There is plenty of evidence to show hearing ‘bad’ news first thing in the morning does not set you up well for the day, so either find good news or something that sets you up positively and gives you energy.
The other key elements that most lockdown strategies focus on are:
- Structure – Ensure that you plan out your day, build in regular breaks, get out into the fresh air at times and don’t overpack your day with zooms (if you have control over them). Make sure there is a clear start and end to your day, and don’t feel guilty if you know you start at nine and finish at four.
- Exercise – Even getting out for a 15minute walk will make a difference. Little and often is better than once or twice a week
- Sleep – The above will help with your sleep, but it goes without saying that if you are stressed in the day, you will not sleep well, and it will impact the following day.
- Make sure you use technology to connect more with friends to get the people interaction you would generally have at work. The mental health NZ theme this year (w/c 27th Sept) is to take “time to korero” (take time to chat)
- If you are struggling, make sure you reach out for help. There are also a few resources below to do a self-check-in.
Remember, focus on your attitude and actions, and accept that there will be other stuff outside your control.
I am passionate about building great leaders and high-performance teams and cultures, so if you need some help and want to be challenged to be your best, drop me a line – Gerry@realleadershipNZ.co.nz