During the COVID-19 outbreak, we’re all doing our best to stay healthy. While the majority of us are thinking first and foremost about our bodies, it’s important to remember our mental health, too. It’s clear that almost everyone is feeling anxious. The Dow is dropping, major events are canceled, communities are on lockdown, and suddenly parents are working from home with their entire families.

As we all adjust to our new ways of life – complete with constant cleaning and handwashing – it’s easy to feel cooped up and lonely without your community or coworkers around. But even amid all of the uncertainty and social distancing, there are still ways to remain connected.

The most important thing you can do for your community is to continue to “flatten the curve” by finding ways to stay busy while social distancing. At Workbar, we’re continuing to keep our doors open at the request of our members. With extra precautions in place, remote workers can find a sense of normalcy in their days, while our open layouts allow for social distancing. 

If you suddenly find yourself leading a remote team, it’s more important than ever to know how to communicate effectively. Communicating remotely is not the same as being in-person, as we usually rely on body language, eye contact, facial expressions, and tone of voice to apply meaning to the message. When those indicators are missing, it can be easy for you or your team members to misinterpret the meaning. You can help by setting up standing virtual meetings and encouraging as many people as possible to speak. Do your best to over-communicate and make sure that everyone on your team feels heard and included. 

Outside of working hours, you can continue to support your community – especially small businesses that may be struggling or workers who could be losing their wages. Beyond restaurant workers, there are hairdressers, exercise instructors, babysitters, cleaners, dog-walkers, and many others. You can help by pooling together funds for those people or even just check in with your friends who might be affected. 

Remember to check in with yourself, too. If you are feeling anxious or uncertain during these times, there are a few ways you can help put those feelings in perspective. Remember that while information is useful, too much information can be unhelpful. Try sticking to one reliable news source and limit your intake. Maintaining your regular routines and healthy habits is a good thing. 

As Arianna Huffington said, “it’s so essential to build practices and mental habits that protect us from cumulative stress and anxiety. Focusing on what we are grateful for and avoiding negative fantasies based on fear rather than data is as important for our mind as sleep and healthy food choices are for our body.

And as so much recent science has confirmed, we have more control than we realize when it comes to building healthy habits and resilience. So when so much of the coronavirus crisis is outside our control, it’s not only essential, but empowering, to focus on what we can control, which is more — much more — than washing our hands.“

Similarly, while we’re social distancing, it’s important for our mental health to stay connected. Call or Skype loved ones and – if you have little ones at home – use this time to slow down and spend it with your family.

From our Workbar family to yours, we hope you stay safe and connected, virtually at least.