This is the morning after last night’s announcements of the much discussed restrictions and conditions that are being placed on live in the UK. Other countries have already been through the challenge of limiting freedoms once again as Covid-19 infection rates start to rise. Like many I watched the Prime Minister talk last night but felt the urge to write not about the content of his speech but about the impact it will have.
Back in March and April 2020 I spoke to many heads of communications and communication professionals to offer some help and support. One of the things I said over and over again was to take care of themselves and recognise that this is going to be a marathon not a sprint.
This morning media reports are talking about the impact of the first phase of the pandemic on the healthcare professionals and particularly nurses who are dealing with the mental strain placed on them. I heard one quote that said ‘I can’t go through this again’. It resonated really strongly with me. In the aftermath of the attack in May 2017 I said many times ‘I can’t keep doing this’, and again in New Year 2018 when there was another incident.
The mental impact of Covid-19 has not yet really been seen. Many people haven’t accepted that they are struggling and may need help. Others will be hiding their battle for fear of losing their job, showing weakness or feeling further isolated. Every crisis leaves a last impact on many. It is why prioritising staff wellbeing, and your own wellbeing, is so vital. People who are exhausted, stressed and suffering cannot work at their best and will not be able to face the months ahead.
For communicators who have been working flat out for so long, now is the time to make sure they can face the months ahead. For me there are six key steps to take:
- Ensure you are taking time off and away from work
- Switch off the news when you don’t have to watch it
- Prioritise what has to be done, you can’t do everything
- Tell bosses and managers when you need help or to stop a piece of work it is no sign of weakness
- Seek help when you need it or when someone tells you it may be needed, you don’t always recognise when you are struggling
- Look out for each other as the team can help people through tough times
We are all going to be living with this crisis for some time and getting through it will only be possible if pepole look after themselves. If you need help or some time off do something about it now and don’t wait until you reach exhaustion.
I have seen first hand the impact that dealing with a crisis can have on communicators. I have also experienced the devastating effect managing through a crisis can have on an individual’s wellbeing. It took me some time to work through things but I am moving forward. It is why I am so concerned with the wellbeing of those facing communicating through the next phase of this crisis. In the words of Jerry Springer ‘look after yourselves and each other’.
If you would like to talk to me about an emerging crisis communication issue get in touch for a free #thinkthroughbrew . If you are interested I have also launched a coaching package to help people to develop their crisis communication skills. For either email me firstname.lastname@example.org to chat things through.