Staying sane in a crisis
If ever there was a timely webinar it was this one, designed to help AQR's Young Disruptors' mental wellbeing when working and living at home just as the lockdown started.
I joined AQR's Young Disruptors session, 'Staying on your wellbeing A-Game while working from home', more in hope than expectation. The publicity had told me to turn up, pour myself a glass of wine, and to join mental wellbeing coach Tahirih McLaren-Brown in a virtual workshop geared to building and maintaining positive mental health in the current rather limiting circumstances.
The webinar proved far more reassuring and supportive than I was expecting. I had thought it would be mainly centred around how to help us be more productive at work, while stressing the general importance of looking after your wellbeing. The advice we were given, however, was insightful, easy to understand and realistically achievable. We also covered changes we could make in our day-to-day lives, and not just in our work.
I found the interactive sections particularly useful. It was enjoyable inputting my thoughts in response to each of the questions in the chat session and brainstorming with everyone. It was reassuring, too, to see other people in the same situation as me and I found their ideas inspiring. They encouraged me to broaden my thinking, helping me to think more in depth about how I want to spend my time. It has motivated me to put in place more structure to my day and to create a morning routine which suits me best and gets me into a positive mindset.
Previously, I hadn't thought too much about work/home boundaries, particularly as my home is now also my office. For example, I had been leaving my work stuff out on the desk at the end of the day. It just seemed convenient, not to mention sensible, to be able to just sit down again at 9am the next morning and have all my stuff ready.
The advice given in the webinar, however, made me rethink how I ought to separate work from my personal life. The way I was previously managing my workspace meant I couldn't relax in my own time as I was constantly reminded of work. Ever since this webinar I have created stricter boundaries between work and home and have really noticed a difference to my wellbeing.
Overall, it has made me really analyse how I am finding working from home, something I hadn't stopped to consider much. It has motivated me to incorporate the things I need in my day and my week to make me happy and feel fulfilled at a time when I (and I'm sure others) lack the social interaction and structure of the office. I feel more motivated at work now and excited to complete my goals each day, even if it's just to eat lunch in the garden and not at my desk.
Project Manager, RDSi
This article was first published in InBrief magazine, June 2020
Copyright © Association for Qualitative Research, 2020