Aesop put it this way 2,600 years ago, “A crust eaten in peace is better than a banquet partaken in anxiety.”
It’s no modern myth, COVID-19-related stress is real and is having significant health effects on whole new groups of people across North America. From public health officials resigning due to tremendous stress, to an alarming outbreak of stress-related broken teeth stretching from New York to California, the effects of the pandemic go far beyond the frightening direct physical symptoms of infection.
This is confirmed by a University of California Irvine study of stress, depressive symptoms, and exposure to information about COVID-19 as the pandemic swept through the United States. The study found that “acute and depressive symptoms increased significantly over time as COVID-19 deaths increased across the US.” The following factors were associated with the increased stress and depressive symptoms:
- Pre-existing conditions
- Daily hours of COVID-19 media exposure
- Exposure to conflicting COVID-19 information in media
- Job disruption
A study from Kennesaw State University titled, “I’m Not Working From Home, I’m Living at Work,” looked at 370 white collar workers. 60% of those surveyed had not previously worked remotely, and 70% of those who had previously worked from home had done so 15 or fewer hours per week. So, working from home was generally a new experience for the nearly 90% of the respondents.
During the pandemic, average perceived stress increased for all participants, and significantly increased for workers who did not have the flexibility to work from home before the pandemic.
Three issues were identified as being the most challenging:
- Maintaining appropriate level of communication with team and colleagues – 21.36%
- Managing technology and communication tools – 19.20%
- Managing time – 18.42%
The very real concerns identified by these studies can be addressed by employers using a variety of resources and tools, including cloud-based legal software to manage the new normal.
- The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has assembled a helpful list of stress reduction tips & resources.
- Smokeball is hosting a free webinar on October 30, 2020 with Chelsy Castro, JD, MA, MSW, LCSW, a lawyer-turned-psychotherapist. Chelsy will discuss why lawyers are especially vulnerable to stress and anxiety, and provide science-based techniques to help you stay centered in turbulent times.
- Smokeball’s remote legal cloud software can help you address each of the key issues identified by the Kennesaw State University study. Addressing these issues proactively will build trust, confidence and competence in the team.
- The Matter Activity Timeline organizes and streamlines the multiple information feeds we live with every day.
- Time management is streamlined with the Legal Tasks and Workflow suite.
- To ease the frustrations of managing technology tools, Smokeball offers award-winning customer support to reduce stress and increase efficiency.
We hope these stress-reducing tips can help you to take Aesop’s advice and enjoy your crust of bread in a less stressful environment. Please join us at our October 30 wellness webinar for expert advice from Chelsy Castro.