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How do you continue to live and work when the world seems to be falling apart?

How do you continue to live and work when the world seems to be falling apart?

Many people have emerged exhausted from two years of the pandemic. While the health situation finally seemed to be improving, the war in Ukraine is now a new source of anxiety at home and at work. Here are some tips to deal with it. After two years of living through a pandemic, worrying about his health and that of his loved ones, about his living and working conditions, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threats that ‘they weigh in particular on the conflagration of Europe and nuclear war have deleterious psychological effects on most people. “For a brief moment, we had hope. The number of Covid-19 cases was declining, masks and sanitary restrictions were jumping, and morale seemed to be rising. And then Russia invaded Ukraine”, summarizes the American site Forbes, who, after questioning psychologists, continues:

This new disaster, right after two years of suffering, has made many people feel exhausted, burnout. Signs include lack of motivation and momentum and some lethargy. It’s hard to concentrate on work or other tasks. There is a loss of enthusiasm for his life and work. These feelings are the result of excessive and prolonged mental, physical, emotional stress.”

Similarly on CNN, Wendy Rice, a psychologist based in Florida, recalls that the stress of those who observe the conflict from afar is obviously incomparable with that of the populations directly affected, but “that does not mean that it should not be taken care of”. Psychologists agree that this stress is normal and can – and should – be recognized and treated. CNN points out that the conflict in Ukraine confronts us with uncertainty, helplessness, a sense of empathy with the victims and our own past traumas. But, for Lee Chambers, a psychologist based in the United Kingdom, we still have an advantage: the possibility of learning from the two years of the pandemic and applying to ourselves today the anti-stress methods that have been proven since 2020. The advice of psychologists is generally the same on both sides of the Atlantic: accept your stress, seek help from a professional, do yourself good with comforting moments, surround yourself with friends, keep a diary, disconnect from continuous information, be in action by helping refugees, for example. In Germany, the magazine Der Spiegel looked more specifically at the consequences of this stress at work and interviewed the psychologist Reinhild Fürstenberg, founder of the Fürstenberg Institute in which 150 practitioners work, in particular on how to reduce stress and improve the balance between work and private life. Currently, 80% of consultations in his cabinet relate to the war in Ukraine:

Since the beginning of the war, we have had a large influx of companies with Ukrainian and Russian employees who need our help. Then there are very specific questions: how do you deal with this when half of the IT department is conscripted into the army? Or if a Russian and a Ukrainian no longer want to work together? But most of the people who come to us suffer more from a vague feeling of helplessness. Things happen to us that we never thought possible, and this naturally triggers fears about the future. Many can no longer concentrate and complain of insomnia.

But for Reinhild Fürstenberg, the anxiety linked to current events can have “something unifying, it can bring colleagues together”. However, we must not lose sight of the fact that this news is not our only personal reality. Reinhild Fürstenberg advises managers and leaders to:

  • create small discussion groups so that employees can express their anxieties and feel that they are not alone;
  • picking up the phone to inquire about the well-being of each member of the teams, because “being seen and heard is extremely important at this time”;
  • remember that “maintaining normality is crucial. As long as we work, we are in action. It strengthens us.”
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