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Much attention has focused on the importance of physical distancing but increasing attention is being given to social connection. During this time of physical separation from our workplaces, friends, communities and routines, it is helpful for each of us to reflect on the ways we can care for ourselves and each other during and after this crisis period.
Not all of these will resonate for everyone, but we encourage you to scan these suggestions for something that might work for you.
Maintain a regular meal/exercise/sleep schedule. It can be especially tempting to forgo these things when remote work is paired with flexible work hours, and possibly being responsible for a dependent's wellbeing. Try to establish a routine and avoid sacrificing sleep or other self-care.
Set predictable work hours and attempt to set boundaries in consultation with your manager and team. Maintain these boundaries with your colleagues as well as your dependents to the extent possible.
Maintain social interaction via telecommunication with colleagues and let them know you are thinking of them. Although opportunity for ‘casual conversation by the water cooler’ is not possible, checking in with colleagues by email, google hangouts or phone remains possible. Don’t wait until you have a work-related question or need to reach out to your colleagues.
Be flexible. Many folks are working from ad-hoc offices in their homes, or those of friends and family. This may mean background noise, interruptions and distractions. Consider returning to your work in off hours that allow for more focus and concentration.
Reach out to friends and family each day, even if it is by text or social media. Consider group chats or invite someone to join you virtually for dinner or coffee.
Be mindful of information overload as we are sharing and being sent a lot of information, work-related and not, over many different platforms (e.g., phone calls, email, social media). Be mindful. Recognize that this is a time of high volume information intake, and it may be more helpful at times to hold back from sharing.
Try to carve out some time each day when you can be alone if you live with others to sit quietly, exercise, read or nap.
Minimize consuming news or media that increase your anxiety around the pandemic. Consult trusted sources of information such as Toronto Public Health.
Join a virtual group of your liking for yoga, meditation, exercise, knitting, etc.
Most importantly, be patient and kind with yourself and others.
As we know, this is an unprecedented crisis and each of us is impacted in similar and different ways depending on our individual circumstances. This is a stressful situation for many people and the university recognizes this.
Employees with benefits can access the Employee and Family Assistance Program for resources and counselling. Workplace Wellbeing Services is also available - please contact them by email.
Check out these additional resources on wellbeing: