Project Management

Managing Your Well-Being During a Crisis

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These are surreal times that we are living in right now. The COVID-19 global health crisis is taking a toll on everyone. Some are personally affected by the virus. Some are on the front lines battling this pandemic. And many of us are charged with ensuring that work continues to move forward for our organizations and those that we serve.

Personally, it hasn’t been easy. I’m grateful that I am able to get work done and find ways to maintain some sense of psychological and emotional balance while ensuring that my team (and all of you!) still feel like someone is there for them. That is invaluable during this time. However, that’s not always the case for many.

Here are a few things to remember for yourself while you’re trying to get through.

Check-in with yourself

It’s ok to not be ok. And it’s easy to stuff those feelings down and tuck them away in order to make sure that others feel cared for. But the fact of the matter is that it’s not helping anyone if you don’t address your own feelings. If you’ve ever taken a plane ride anywhere, what’s the first thing the flight attendants tell you about the oxygen mask? Put the mask over your own face before trying to help your neighbor. If you need a break or help or someone to talk to, seek that help and give yourself room to breathe so you can be of help to others when they need it most.

Stay active and eat well

Taking care of our bodies is essential to supporting our own care. Studies have shown that regular exercise and maintaining a healthy diet can have positive impacts on the brain and its chemistry, relieving stress, improving memory, and lending to a good night’s sleep. Even when we aren’t in times of crisis, physical well-being and mental well-being go hand in hand and are essential to ensuring that you feel some balance. And just because we’re social distancing right now doesn’t mean you have to skip out on physical activity and healthy diet. There are plenty of apps available that can help you get a 30-minute cardio session in or create a culinary masterpiece that will have your taste buds dancing!

Take a break

This is easier said than done if you have a team of people helping you move work forward. If you are a team of one, look for ways to get what you can done and set the expectation with stakeholders that you may be unavailable for a few days just to reset, if you have the luxury of doing so. It’s okay to unplug and not be connected for a period of time to allow yourself room to breathe. In fact, it’s almost a must. You can’t be any good to anyone else if you’re not allowing yourself a little breathing room (see the oxygen analogy under “Check-in with yourself”). I also think it’s extremely important to note here that if you have a team, you need to make sure they have the opportunity to take a break, as well. I cannot stress this enough. This isn't an easy time for any of us. Give them time outside of the weekends to recenter. Insist upon it. Let them take care of themselves, too.

Talk to someone

There are a thousand different ways that publications and journals will tell us to make sure we take care of ourselves during uncertain times. And there will be times when it seems like none of it is working. Reach out and talk to someone. That someone can be a counselor, a best friend, someone in your network, or a support group. If you’re having a hard time coping, acknowledge it and find someone you can safely express your concerns to. Don’t feel like you have to hold it in.

Continuing to operate "business as usual" isn't easy during a crisis. It’s even more difficult when we’re not sure how we’re going to get through it. But it can be done. Take care of yourselves – first and foremost. And then make sure others have what they need to keep moving forward. 

To all of those on the front lines and deemed essential during this pandemic - THANK YOU. Your work is not in vain and we're here to support you.

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: April 13, 2020 08:51 AM | Permalink

Comments (20)

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Drew Craig Coach, Practitioner, Consultant, Humanist| North Highland Philadelphia, Pa, USA
This is great, Marjorie. So important to remember the impact this can have on us, even is not directly affected. This is an entirely new experience and struggling is okay. It is recognizing when we are struggling and find ways to pick ourselves up.

I have seen so many more people and families out for walks during this time than ever before. That makes me feel good :)

Emily Luijbregts Project Manager| Siemens PLM Software Breda, Netherlands
Great post Marjorie! I think that the "little" things like taking a break and making sure that you can stay active and eat well.

Take care of yourself!

Evi Prokopi Top 100 HR Influencers | Success Coach | Project Leader| Skema Projects Athens, Greece
Thanks, Marjorie! As a matter of fact, I submitted an article on editorial, over a week ago but never heard back. My article is about managing negative emotions during this crisis so it is quite aligned. I am wondering if I could write it here as an answer? What do you think! :-)

Rami Kaibni
Community Champion
Senior Projects Manager | Field & Marten Associates New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada
Great points Marjorie, thank you. Stay Safe and Healthy.

Kiron Bondale
Community Champion
Mentor| World Class Productivity Inc. Welland, Ontario, Canada
Thanks for the great advice, Marjorie! Stay safe & stay home!

Eduin Fernando Valdes Alvarado Project Manager| F y F Fabricamos Futuro Villavicencio, Meta, Colombia
Thanks for sharing, very interesting article.

Tajudeen Muhammed Oyedele Abuja, Fct, Nigeria
Very good article. Thanks for sharing.

Denise Rosko Project Manager/Business Solutions Senior Architect| Service Experts Plano, Tx, USA
Great advise. Take care of yourself so you can lead the Team.

Amjad Ali Senior Business Analyst - Information Security| IFC Delta, British Columbia, Canada
Those are definitely great tips. Thanks for sharing.

Ruben Manga Senior IT Officer (Portfolio Mgmt)| Asian Development Bank Mandaluyong City, Ncr, Philippines
Thank you for the practical tips, esp on having a “breathing space”.

S. Gino Ariel AKOHA Functional Manager| ESMT Dakar, Senegal
Thanks for sharing. Great and very useful article

Ebert Martin Zegarra Mollesaca Arequipa, Arequipa, Peru
Great advise!. Thanks for sharing it.

Maya Kalach Head of PMO, IT| Middle East Airlines Beirut, Lebanon
thanks for the advice

Mishirika Scott PMO Portfolio Manager, IT Strategic Initiatives| University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Greater Los Angeles Area, Ca, USA
I really like the reminder to check-in with our teams to make sure they're also practicing self-care habits. This is good advice that will keep team momentum and morale high, even in a virtual environment. This is helpful, thanks Marjorie, Kimberly and Laura!

Raphael Rodrigues Manufacturing Engineer - Team Leader| Embraer São José Dos Campos, São Paulo, Brazil
Very good!!!

Pedro Pablo Pérez Capote Supplier Quality Development; PM - PMO agent| GENERAL ELECTRIC Qro, Mexico, Mexico
Thank you so much for sharing this. Exactly what I needed to read today!

Mohannad Katerji Senior QA Auditor| IKK Group of Companies Jeddah, Western Region, Saudi Arabia
Well-being is the key to success. By promoting and supporting such practices teams can be more productive and optimistic.

Phyo Papa Experienced Project Management| MBA (project management) Yanagon, Yangon, Myanmar
Thanks for your sharing. Well-being is the most essentials thing to human and the can bring success. But we also need to take care of our inner mind to be healthy.

Joshua Yoak Evanston, Il, USA
Thank you. Very timely.

Latha Thamma reddi Sr Product and Portfolio Management (Automation Innovation)| DXC Technology Mckinney, Tx, USA
Very interesting., thanks for sharing.

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