Improving wellbeing during COVID-19 by valuing differences in people

Life in Lockdown blog

Improving wellbeing during COVID-19 lockdown

Appreciating and valuing others, knowing how our differences can boost or grate, can make lockdown more tolerable and improve everyone’s wellbeing during COVID-19 lockdown.

We have all been locked together with people we often don’t spend much time with. As a result, temperatures can rise over dinner, or colleagues might not notice someone is having a down day. Even the most buoyant and cheerful of us can feel low.  A strengths approach to valuing and appreciating others can help you manage your own and others’ positive well-being during the COVID-19 pandemic.

There are times in lockdown when everyone clashes and loses sight of others’ greatest attributes. Contrasts abound. People stressed with too much to do, and others equally stressed with too little to do. Some enjoying the isolation and relishing a lack of physical contact, while others are feeling starved of human touch. Never has there been a more important time to notice the things about yourself that cause your frustrations. Knowing the activities that offer you a deep sense of personal reward could be the best thing you ever knew. These are both key to your wellbeing.

Reflecting on our Family Corona Hothouse (FCH) has offered endless musings for me. Placing these alongside knowledge of our Top 5 CliftonStrengths themes I have translated them for you to a workplace team setting.

The data and analytical obsessed versus the person with positivity

During the pandemic, we’ve been subjected to a deluge of numbers and statistics. Number loving historian types are in their element. They dive in headfirst and compare and contrast; have a daily feast of data; and bombard everyone with numbers and factoids. Their need for more and more information overwhelms others. The effect of this on the person concerned about others, the person who has a positive outlook, can be draining. The tunnel looks long and dark. The pragmatist announces that every tunnel has an end.

If you are the facts and figures scout, try to balance the data hunt into a search for measuring the ways people are helping each other, the changes in the environment, and the opportunity to get to know people nearby. Other’s will value you for it. Mutuality can bring balance and connection. And avoid the cactus prickles.

The organised list-user versus the easy-going, live in the moment character

I don’t know how many books have been written on time management. The fact remains that some just do it. Systematically. Innately. And love it. Others flit between tasks and find it hard to focus or get started. Some are distracted by looking for more and more information, examples or data. And then find there’s so much material they can’t possibly read it all. We see it every day at work or in students and their approach to deadlines and exams. Tools such as Notion can be a help for the first group and a massive distraction and time-waster for the others.

Simply don’t impose your own methods onto others. Few people like being told what to do. My parenting and management approach (forever in development) is more about nudge. A small question here. A ‘What if’ there. Asking how the other person thinks something might be achieved. Or ‘How they would go about doing it’. For data and fact collectors, discussion and systems for fact-checking can improve the data quality and help manage it.

The people-focused versus the happy to be in isolation

Missing contact with others has been exceptionally hard for those who live alone and those who yearn for a close connection with others. And it is doubly hard if you need other people and also live alone. If you are in the camp of people who are happy to be more remote, then this is your moment.

Knowing (notice or just ask) which of your family or team members are in this group can help direct your actions. Reach out to them for a phone chat or a ZOOM call.

If you are happy isolated, and enjoying the freedom from being too close to others you can reach out and ensure your friends and colleagues know you are there for them. Initiate calls and let them talk! If someone is quiet in a team call, call them for a 1:1. We don’t all like to fight for airtime in a meeting.

Get up and go energisers

If you are the person with ‘ants in your pants’, who rarely stays at home. You could be the greatest source of prickles going. Give yourself and everyone else a break. Bring your focus into your immediate environment. Rather than agitate to get others to get things done, try and tune in to others by listening. Create conversations where you can identify a suitable project that will engage and benefit others. Develop a shared goal. And then help create a celebration of success.

More steps for improving wellbeing during COVID-19

The same summary message goes for your teammates as homeschooling your kids to improve wellbeing during COVID-19.

  • Give people a chance to design how they do something for themselves.
  • Get together with others and share good practice
  • People who are great planners and organisers, stay on top of things that can be done.

And above all:

  • Be kind to yourself. We are all on the corona coaster together
  • Take regular breaks
  • Force yourself to leave your desk
  • Stay active, stretch and move
  • Give yourself space to be alone, to let your brain just wander

And finally, step back and regulate yourself so your life during lockdown smoothes out the prickly bits. The output isn’t critical, but your wellbeing is. Thank goodness we are all different. That there are others to help us. Others to bounce ideas off. And others to challenge and value us.

Who will you appreciate today for being different from you?

#wellbeing #CliftonStrengths #inclusion #diversity

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