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Topics: Leadership, Talent Management
COVID-19 and Sustained Anxiety
Sustained anxiety can have physical and psychological impacts on us individually, our families, and our teams. Are you concerned? If you are, what do you believe we should do on the personal and project fronts to mitigate the impacts?
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On a personal level, I do a lot of walking alone (social distancing as required to contain this pandemic) in the morning sun as much as possible that helps with anxiety somewhat due to my current projects that have to deal with severe schedule impacts as a result of many vendors reporting supply chain disruptions with no estimate when it will return to normalcy...
Sustained anxiety should be broken. Refocus. Fear comes from uncertainty. A project manager‘s job is to provide security and certainty.

Make a plan.
Establish structure.
Create results frequently.
Communicate, learn what others feel, offer a sense of community, help and encourage.
Support key people, medical staff, 1st responders, supply staff - have a smile, cheer them up, thank them, offer help. (Be a servant leader).
Celebrate successes.

We are project managers and can provide relief like we do to our clients, sponsors and teams.
Dear George,

At personal level a stopped to watch almost all media news (only a few that matter), is unbearable constantly being flooded with covid-19 news, I think also the media should rethinking the way they transmit the message they also contribute for the increase of anxiety.

At familiar level is all calm, as a father I have to transmit information with serenety and be selective in communication, they must be aware of the problem and consequences but without panic.

At profissional level we are all well informed people, all team is aware not only of the health impact but also of the economic impact, this is a theme that is aborded in some meetings most of them remote.
It's important to reassure that the company will provide for them in times of need, and give flexibility for who wants to work from home, is not possible for all , but a plan was made to minimize the number of persons in the facilities, as preventive measures like disinfection kits, masks, we also have a medic that makes a weekly visit to our facilities to consult who is wishing to be consulted, etc...

Now, all that we have to do is continue working , and wait and see the impact, it's not necessary to predict in my country that a economic problem will occur, because the tourism is 10% of GDP and all is closed so the near future it will be bad.

Alexandre
Dear George,

After only a few days of this self imposed isolation and social distancing people have been knocked out of their routine and people who need the fix of the constant pressure of work are finding it difficult to adjust to this new reality.

As time goes on, you will start to notice and uptick in people who will be diagnosed with mental health issues. Either this is a delayed diagnosis due to the distraction of work or as a result of confinement and restricted social interaction only further research would shed light on this but the reality of the situation is that people need to repriortise their lives, their careers, their families and other commitments in their lives.

At this point with shifting deadlines and timelines for project implementation and delivery, in a lot of projects the business cases are being revised to see if the project objectives can be realized and if the project documentation is still relevant. A lot of projects are on pause until the situation in relation to COVID-19 is further clarified.

As public health service announcement have said, eating healthily, avoiding comfort food, regular exercise, social communication with family members, neighbours and friends can make this time more fruitful and responsible at the same time.

Structuring your day that allows you to conquer and achieve objectives that you have been putting on the long finger is one way to gain reward from this ongoing situation. By looking at the positive and what can be realistically achieve as apposed to the negative and the restrictions that are being imposed a fresh perspective and outlook can be realized.

Daire
...
1 reply by George Freeman
Mar 20, 2020 9:51 AM
George Freeman
...
Hi Daire,

I’m with you on the “… uptick in mental health issues.”

These are unprecedented and historic times that we are living in, and the consequences are unclear. However, I personally believe that anxiety-triggered illnesses (both physical and psychological) could be the second-wave of medical issues to impact our society during this crisis.
There is no difference (generally speaking) with manage anxiety into any type of projects/programs.
George -

1. Be mindful of how much pandemic-related news/updates/misinformation/memes you are digesting each day. This is very similar to what happened after 9/11 - some folks spent their whole days watching the Towers fall over and over again. While staying up-to-date is important, be aware of the volume of this.

2. Maintain your network - even if it is virtual, reach out and connect daily with others.

3. Find hobbies to keep yourself mentally challenged.

4. Exercise.

5. Model the behaviors you'd like to see your team members demonstrating.

Kiron
I love Kiron's response.
When I check the headlines, it's nothing but panic, panic, panic.
When I check on my neighbors, they're doing ok. Most people just want to know how they can help.

I do think, however, that there's a limit to how long people will stay confined to quarters. I don't know what that looks like when we reach that limit.
Mar 20, 2020 6:00 AM
Replying to Daire Guiney
...
Dear George,

After only a few days of this self imposed isolation and social distancing people have been knocked out of their routine and people who need the fix of the constant pressure of work are finding it difficult to adjust to this new reality.

As time goes on, you will start to notice and uptick in people who will be diagnosed with mental health issues. Either this is a delayed diagnosis due to the distraction of work or as a result of confinement and restricted social interaction only further research would shed light on this but the reality of the situation is that people need to repriortise their lives, their careers, their families and other commitments in their lives.

At this point with shifting deadlines and timelines for project implementation and delivery, in a lot of projects the business cases are being revised to see if the project objectives can be realized and if the project documentation is still relevant. A lot of projects are on pause until the situation in relation to COVID-19 is further clarified.

As public health service announcement have said, eating healthily, avoiding comfort food, regular exercise, social communication with family members, neighbours and friends can make this time more fruitful and responsible at the same time.

Structuring your day that allows you to conquer and achieve objectives that you have been putting on the long finger is one way to gain reward from this ongoing situation. By looking at the positive and what can be realistically achieve as apposed to the negative and the restrictions that are being imposed a fresh perspective and outlook can be realized.

Daire
Hi Daire,

I’m with you on the “… uptick in mental health issues.”

These are unprecedented and historic times that we are living in, and the consequences are unclear. However, I personally believe that anxiety-triggered illnesses (both physical and psychological) could be the second-wave of medical issues to impact our society during this crisis.
...
1 reply by Daire Guiney
Mar 20, 2020 11:47 AM
Daire Guiney
...
Dear George,

I agree and as hospitals struggle to cope with the increase of cases and already finely tuned resources being stretched it is up to GP's, psychiatrist and other trained professionals to step up and make their services known and available to the public. These professional should make it easier and less stigmatized for the public to avail of their services.

However by following the few simple suggestions that people and health professional have made each person who is responsible for their own mental health can manage the situation as best as possible.

Daire
Hello George: I am looking for ways to support my stakeholders, coworkers, peers, neighbors, family and friends. I have an uncle who is paralyzed in a VA hospital - he is very afraid, so we text. I am texting and sending words of encouragement and calling those close to me. My best friend is a single mom whose kids are grown and live far away - she is in Seattle, a COVID-19 hot spot. Hearing a calm voice amid the frenzy can diffuse fear. As PMs we are leaders, and while many of my hospital projects are "on hold" as they deal with crisis situations - we can take the lead within our sphere of influence to support others. In doing this, I find my own stress and anxiety reduced. I want to do that on this site too - bring support and empathy to my PM peers.
...
1 reply by George Freeman
Mar 21, 2020 3:37 PM
George Freeman
...
Lori,

I appreciate your posts as they always have an empathetic tone, and your words truly do provide support and encouragement for us all.

You make an important point about reaching out and helping others; that is, it acts as therapy and brings internal peace to our being.

Thank you for all that you do!
Mar 20, 2020 9:51 AM
Replying to George Freeman
...
Hi Daire,

I’m with you on the “… uptick in mental health issues.”

These are unprecedented and historic times that we are living in, and the consequences are unclear. However, I personally believe that anxiety-triggered illnesses (both physical and psychological) could be the second-wave of medical issues to impact our society during this crisis.
Dear George,

I agree and as hospitals struggle to cope with the increase of cases and already finely tuned resources being stretched it is up to GP's, psychiatrist and other trained professionals to step up and make their services known and available to the public. These professional should make it easier and less stigmatized for the public to avail of their services.

However by following the few simple suggestions that people and health professional have made each person who is responsible for their own mental health can manage the situation as best as possible.

Daire
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