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Challenging COVID-19 – Eustress

Updated: Aug 17

This third article in our series of 6, looks at the ongoing challenge of the COVID-19 restrictions. The article will focus on how these challenges are affecting employees physical and psychological health and most importantly how they can lean into difficult times using the Eustress mindset.



As the weeks roll on and restrictions continue in our battle with COVID-19, this is the time that staff will begin feeling some of the negative side effects of spending so much time cooped up at home. They will naturally be getting more frustrated or anxious at the situation and unfortunately more irritated with each other because of what is going on.


Their sleep will start to be affected as their routines are shifting, as they are not required to get up at the same time as they used to when they were traveling to work, or school drop off. A new routine will be settling in which requires them to perform a few other extra commitments such as extra child minding, schooling, cooking and cleaning and an extra effort to be committed to exercise.


Our bodies love routine and structure, so the shift in adapting to this new routine will be causing some tension psychologically, emotionally and even physically with tiredness, broken sleep and sometimes skin irritations like eczema flaring up.

Now is a good time to invest in Eustress!

Eustress stems from the ancient Greek word ‘eu’ meaning well or good stress. Unlike common everyday stress, and unlike distress, Eustress is very good for us. The best way to think of Eustress is to imagine it as the feeling we get when we focus on something we enjoy doing, over an extended period of time. A hobby or project that we invest time and energy into, not for anyone else but because we want to do something for ourselves, something new, where the challenge is reward enough. Eustress actions are personal challenges we set ourselves that are not too easy but are ultimately rewarding.

These activities bring a healthy distraction from what is going on in our world at any time. Allowing us to commit and focus our mind and bodies in a very productive, engaging way which will ultimately provide healthy results.

Examples of Eustress include learning to:

  • Sing, draw or paint

  • Speak another language

  • Author a short story or book

  • Play an instrument

  • Code

  • Create a website or understand graphic design

  • Clothes design and creation

  • Practice calligraphy

  • Understand more about the cosmos

  • Take a course in DIY

  • Complete a professional course of interest

The Eustress mindset is about committing to something that requires an ongoing regular focus, leading to the success of achieving a larger goal. There are many Eustress activities that staff can sign up for and accomplish over the next number of months. One of the keys is for them to find an activity that has structure to it and could lead to a test.

For example:

  • Find a competition that they can sign up for in the future e.g. a marathon, performance, test or exam 6 – 9 months away

  • Set a timeframe based on this deadline and work backwards, with weekly or daily sessions

  • Be creative and really commit to a challenge to create some personal pressure

Encourage them to enjoy these focused sessions as a break from the norm, so choosing something they are genuinely interested in is important. By applying their time and energy, employees will begin to feel better over the coming months as they progress their Eustress strategies.

To find out more about what is available check out the Wrkit learning section for ideas and courses staff can sign up for. POWR also provides hundreds of plans, articles, blogs and daily, weekly and monthly goal setting measures, including workplace challenges.


Blog post provided by Wrkit - The employee engagement platform: https://wrkit.com


Author: Jason Brennan, Wellbeing & Leadership Director

Psychotherapist, leadership and mental skills coach Jason Brennan specialises in Personal & Professional Development through workshop based learning, brief talks and one on one coaching sessions. Jason is co-author with Brent Pope of 'Win: Proven Strategies for Success in Sport, Life and Mental Health'.


#mindset #mentalhealth

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