Did you know there is a website that showcases artists whose shows had been canceled due to social distancing? Social distancing has affected us in many ways to be sure.
Social distancing hasn't only impacted our daily routines either; it has also impacted our health. While it has definitely helped to curb the spread of the coronavirus, other health impacts have not necessarily been as good.
After nearly two months of working from home and social distancing, people are starting to feel some of the longer-term health effects. Most people are reporting some level of insomnia, nightmares, fatigue, anxiety, loneliness, and stress. These in combination have caused interesting results. According to a National Geographic article, anxiety and lack of activity diminish the quality of your sleep, so you wake up more often and can remember your dreams more vividly. While cooped up, our dreams may be less than pleasant, nightmarish even, due to a minimized outlet to process our emotions.
Bad dreams are not the only result though. A recent Kaiser Family Foundation survey found 45% of adults felt the coronavirus has had an impact on their mental health, with 19% of people indicating that it has had a "major impact." People's mental health has been affected in a variety of ways, but more seriously has led to fear, sadness, and depression. The long-term effects of these could be devastating.
Just as social interaction and the presence of loved ones have been found to diminish the cardiovascular impact during a stressful time, prolonged isolation under stressful conditions could actually lead to heart issues, dementia, and other serious ailments, according to research analysis done at BYU.
Helping employees work through this difficult time with health and wellness support is critical.
- Keep emphasizing the importance of staying healthy and provide your employees with important resources, such as health and wellness websites and apps. Encouraging them to adopt exercises at home, practice mindfulness, and cook healthy food will help them to stay fit. Also, make sure to specifically point out where your employees can find mental health resources. Remind them many others are feeling the same way; they are not alone.
- Encourage them to take downtime from work. It can be hard to "disconnect" when working from home. As an option, allowing a long weekend for different teams at a time would be well received.
- Suggest creative outlets such as writing, which can also help people manage their health. One example is to write down fears and anxieties. Joshua Gordon, Director at the National Institute of Mental Health says, "Just the act of writing them down and stepping away from them can really help you, number one, crystallize what your concerns are, and then number two, leave them behind on the paper or the computer file."
We know you are all looking out for your employees and we hope some of these tips will help.