The pandemic has created “interesting” new challenges for us all, or using less positive words Covid-19 has thrown lives into disarray and caused stress for many people.
Here’s how I’ve kept my sanity by watching my breath and why working from home has created more stress for introverts than many expect.
Introverts and working from home
It’s been said that lockdown and working from home created the perfect time for introverts. I disagree, stresses around “WFH” exist for everybody.
Firstly introverts DO like people, so we miss seeing our close colleagues in the office. The problem is we’re all forced to communicate differently now. The team meeting is even more important when we’re working from home and they often don’t work for introverts.
What’s an introvert?
Introverts aren’t shy, timid nor do they dislike people. Two key points about introverts, who tend to:
- re-energise by being on their own, rather than extroverts who are energised by being with people.
- employ internal processing (that is, they think to talk) where extroverts may respond more quickly with their external processing (talk to think). Neither is better, or right, they just are different. This difference can cause difficulties in discussions and especially virtual team meetings.
The virtual team meeting
One of the key working from home stressors is the remote team meeting.
Being with people can de-energise introverts, whether virtual or face to face. Issues in most remote meetings add to this effect.
Breaking into virtual conversations is harder than face to face ones, mainly because of lack of non verbal cues and technical issues around sound transmission.
Add to this the fact that most virtual meetings are poorly facilitated, favouring those who speak the most and the seeds for additional stresses are sown.
These can be mitigated by running meetings that make things happen and better facilitation.
Regardless of what causes the extra stresses one of the best short term fixes is breathing, reflection (something introverts do well, or overdo) and perhaps meditation.
Our breath is the simplest function of our lives to focus on. It can help calm and restore energy.
How I create focus and sanity in my “WFH”
My focus on breathing has helped maintain my sanity, provide complete relaxation and after an hour of focus I feel energised and calm
BUT – over the last few months I may have taken the breathing focus further than many. Once or twice a week, immersed in seawater, with only fish, crabs, lobsters and shipwrecks to gaze upon – I relax and watch my breath.
Is scuba diving introvert heaven because it’s quiet and peaceful, or is it a coincidence that it keeps me sane? I don’t know, but it works!
How do you focus on your breathing?
And from some of my relaxation sessions….