By Bernd Debusmann Jr
Psychologists recommend maintaining a routine and controlling the flow of Covid-19 news to reduce anxiety
A number of simple steps can help employees maintain productivity and reduce stress and anxiety while working at home during the coronavirus pandemic, according to psychologist Dr. Sarah Rasmi, the managing director of the Dubai-based Thrive Wellbeing Centre.
In an interview with Arabian Business, Dr. Rasmi said that Thrive – which is now conducting all its therapy sessions remotely – has witnessed a surge in patients reporting anxiety and relationship issues related to Covid-19, as well as concerns about how to maintain focus while working.
“People are also reaching out to us for suggestions on how they can be more productive at home,” she said.
The primary advice that Thrive gives, Dr. Rasmi added, is to work to establish a level of structure and routine, even while physically separated from their workplace.
“What we experienced a week ago, and what we even knew a week ago, is quite different from what we know today and probably what we’ll know in a week,” she said. “With uncertainty, we tend as human beings to experience stress, anxiety and worry.”
“One of the ways that we can be productive and one of the ways that we can relate to each other in a productive way is if we feel some sense of safety, stability and security,” Dr. Rasmi added. “Routine really brings that.”
Additionally, Dr. Rasmi said that it is strongly recommended that those working from home during the Covid-19 crisis try to do many of the same things they would have done when they were still going to office.
“There’s an urge to work in pajamas because nobody can see us, or can’t see us from the waist down,” she added. “There’s so many different lifestyle things that we know are important for maintaining productivity, like maintaining a healthy diet, finding some way to exercise and trying to make sure we’re getting a good amount of sleep.
Lastly, Dr. Rasmi said that much of the anxiety that people feel about the coronavirus pandemic – workers and non-workers alike – is related to the constant stream of news about Covid-19. This, in turn, often leads to disrupted sleep patterns.
“A lot of people are experiencing disrupted sleep because you can’t escape news about Covid-19 unless you very deliberately put up boundaries around what you’re going to consume, and when and where,” she said.