Be in Control of Covid-19

As many countries begin to ease the restrictions they had imposed on their citizens to manage the Covid-19 pandemic, people are beginning to consider the future and how they will return to “normal”. But what will the new normal look like? Do we want to return to the old normal, or are we ready to embrace the change thrust upon us and find a new way of being? Covid-19 has turned society on its head, especially with regard to our work practices and our values. Before the onset of the pandemic many people suffered from burnout, or at least felt like work was consuming too much of their time and energy. Let’s take this opportunity to embrace transformation and consider what changes we can take with us into the future. Today’s article by therapist Teyhou Smyth looks at how we can move away from burnout at work by using this opportunity to change how we manage work.

time for change in covid 19Burnout Recovery: We Get to Decide How COVID-19 Transforms Us

Times sure are strange, huh?

The stress of our normal lives have given way to this bizarre new version that now involves risks of breathing contaminated air and running out of toilet paper and sanitizing products.

Most of us are feeling a distinct and unusual emotional strain at this time, due to unfamiliar sets of problems. COVID-19 has certainly thrown us many curveballs and we’re having to change the way we live to accommodate this unwelcome guest.


For some who have been managing workplace burnout prior to the pandemic, the shift in workplace demands may have a very different effect. Increased flexibility to work at home, the ability to prioritize certain aspects of work over others and set one’s own schedule to work around personal needs may feel kind of magical and surreal.

People who have been on the verge of burnout in the workplace may be experiencing a collective sigh of relief, as the burdens of work have shifted. There may even be a small amount of guilt that people in this situation experience. Is it wrong to feel a sense of relief during this period of international disaster?

After all, it feels good to have a decrease in work demands and greater flexibility, but is it self-serving to feel this way and actually enjoy the workplace changes that the pandemic has forced on us? Nope. Don’t do that to yourself.

It is certainly appropriate to feel grateful for work-at-home options and improved flexibility but try not to flog yourself for that sensation of relief that you may be experiencing.
Let it inform your consciousness; let this imposed set of changes transform you and awaken new possibilities for the future.

Burnout in the workplace has been a catastrophe for many decades now, as people are working longer hours and culture has steadily trained us to wed ourselves to work at the expense of ourselves and our families, in many cases.

COVID-19 has forced us to retreat into our homes, to set up home workstations and to spend more time with our families who are in the same situation.

While this is a lot to juggle, it also establishes a new reality in which our health and wellness is the most important thing, rather than being last on the priority list.

The environment is having a chance to heal a bit, with less emissions being pumped into the atmosphere. We are finding new and better ways to take care of tasks that don’t demand us to spend excessive hours in an office and away from loved ones while pumping toxins into the air with our vehicles.

There are countless heartbreaking circumstances and these events will forever change our lives, but there are some positive transformations taking place that cannot be denied. We can choose to embrace these positive outcomes and use them to inform our future. We have to ask ourselves, what changes are worth keeping? If we get through this pandemic and fail to learn anything from it, that is simply adding to the tragedy.

Disaster and crises often result in transformation. Just as forests flourish in the aftermath of a fire and grief can transform our consciousness after loss, COVID-19 will change us. How will your life change as a result of the pandemic? What has this experience awakened in you that needs attention and care?

[This blog post originally appeared on Teyhou’s website ~ some content may have been modified for the UK context.]

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