ArticleDecember 3, 2020by included

Exhausted by an extraordinary year!

As we come toward the end of the year, one thing seems to be true for all of us no matter what industry, organisation, or country we’re working in: we’re exhausted.

2020 has been a tumultuous year that has upended everyone’s lives. Having to adapt the way we live and work, the way we interact with each other, the way we celebrate and mourn… All of this has been a constant source of stress.

A survey we did earlier in the year found that maintaining the mental and physical health of colleagues was the number one priority for leaders. But we’ve noticed that fatigue and mental health has begun to drop from organisation-level conversations, even though individuals are continually experiencing it. When we sent out a survey 3 weeks ago to assess how things had changed since March for individuals in our network, the words “fatigue” and “exhaustion” came up repeatedly.

Fatigue is a natural byproduct of dealing with the stress and anxiety that comes from the situation we’re all dealing with – less connection to each other, fewer personal interactions, staying inside more often, balancing working from home with homeschooling with caregiving with just the stress of dealing with massive life changes. Not to mention the fact that for most of us our work and home lives are blurring together.

We need a collective break. And part of that means setting better boundaries about when we work and when we don’t. We might shut off email notifications on our phones. Or when we send emails, we could consider adding our work hours to our signatures so people know when to expect replies from us.

Designing more effective schedules for ourselves, and communicating about them, is just one way we can start to reduce our stress and fatigue. And it really can have an outsized positive effect on our mental health.

As we go into the holiday season, let’s emphasise taking care of ourselves and each other.