Experts at The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center have explored what is being dubbed “remotional” health, mental challenges related to remoteness, personal connections and uncertainty. Dr. K. Luan Phan, professor and chair of the Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Health at the center in Columbus, Ohio, shared eight specific do’s for workers regarding their own remotional health and that of others during these times of workplace changes and unease:
1. Do recognize that everyone is different in how they feel about returning to work.
2. Do validate and normalize each other’s concerns.
3. Do reaffirm the importance of physical distancing, face masks and hand hygiene.
4. Do look out for each other.
5. Do control what is possible to control.
6. Do remember to care for personal health and hygiene.
7. Do get the facts.
8. Do find positive outlets when stressed.
Because COVID-19 has affected everyone differently, and each personal experience with the illness is unique, Phan cautioned that some don’ts are:
‒ Don’t downplay someone’s fear or stress.
‒ Don’t disregard public health guidelines.
‒ Don’t say, “There’s nothing to worry about.”
‒ Don’t meet in person or in a group unless it is essential to do so.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have provided education on COVID-19 work-related stress factors, such as concerns over exposure, child care, job insecurity and more. Also on cdc.gov are emotional health factors to consider: communicating concerns with management and employees, accessing mental health resources, identifying stressors and taking care of physical health through good nutrition, sleep and regular exercise.