We’re Living In a Pandemic – But It’s Not What You Think
Vicky, here! I take care of content and SEO here at ULU. We’re currently being bombarded left, right and centre with news about pandemic flu. It seems we can’t even turn on the TV or open a newspaper without reading something about coronavirus. And whilst this is a worrying current event, I’m here to tell you that there’s been a different kind of pandemic hiding under our noses this whole time! Allow me to explain…
Let’s talk about the ‘P’ word
This week I was looking at some statistics. (such an exciting activity – I know.) But don’t worry – I’m not generally in the habit of looking at stats for fun on a Friday afternoon. I was actually doing some research to write an article on stress– it’s something we all deal with, and it’s something everyone needs help with from time to time. But while I was doing this research, I found something really interesting.
According to a UK Perkbox study from 2020, 79% of adults regularly experience workplace stress. It was also the most commonly experienced type of stress for UK individuals – outranking financial, family, health and relationship stresses. And only 1% of people said that they ‘never’ experience stress in the workplace.
And this got me thinking. With the recent fears over coronavirus, everyone seems to be throwing around the ‘P’ word. ‘Pandemic.’
According to the WHO, a pandemic is ‘an epidemic that has spread over several countries or continents, usually affecting a large number of people.’ And after looking at the statistics regarding stress, particularly workplace stress, it starts to look like it might fit into that definition.
But workplace stress isn’t deadly…
You might be thinking ‘well, that’s a pretty wild comparison – it’s not like stress can kill you.’ But actually, that’s where you’d be wrong. There is a direct link between stress and the 4 most common causes of death (dementia/Alzheimer’s, cancer, heart disease and diabetes) – not to mention that stress is also a leading factor in suicides.
And in fact, The American Institute of Stress reports 120,000 people die every year as a direct result of work-related stress in the USA alone.
Here’s what to do about the workplace stress pandemic
I’ll be honest – I’m a worrier. If there’s something to worry about (and sometimes even when there’s not) – I will find a way to overthink it. So, you’d better believe that I have read the CDC’s advice on how to personally prepare for a pandemic several times over the past few months.So, I’m pretty familiar with how to personally prep for pandemic flu.
However, if workplace stress is experienced at pandemic levels, then why couldn’t we use the CDC guidelines to help us manage this?
I’ve taken the following categories from the CDC guide: ‘Get Your Household Ready For Pandemic Flu’ – and I’ll use each category below to suggest ways to prepare for the pandemic of stress in the workplace:
- Everyday preventative actions
- Planning and preparing
- Taking action during a pandemic
1. Everyday preventative actions
The CDC pandemic preparedness guide stresses the importance of everyday preventative actions to prepare for an outbreak. These include generally staying fit and healthy to strengthen your immune system, as well as promoting awareness.And this is something that you can also do to prepare for dealing with stress in the workplace.
To keep mentally fit and healthy, you could practice some form of mindfulness every day such as meditation or yoga, or even just engage in a stress-relieving activity. (Finding a sport or form of exercise that works for you can be great for managing stress in the workplace.) This will train your mind to become much more resilient, and much more able to deal with stressful situations.
Another important aspect of CDC prep comes from understanding signs of pandemic illness to promote awareness and caution. So, in the case of workplace stress, it’s important to know your triggers, stress points and signs of overwhelm. One of your strategies for managing stress in the workplace should be to understand potential problem situations, as well as being able to recognise when you’re approaching your threshold so that you know when to take a break.
2. Planning and preparing for a pandemic
When it comes to preparation, the CDC firstly recommends talking with people who need to be included in your plan. If you feel that regular stress at work may be an issue for you, you should discuss this with your manager or supervisor. This way, you can help them to understand your triggers as well as well as keeping them in the loop if you feel that you might need to take a personal day due to stress.
The guide also recommends making yourself aware of people in your community that could offer assistance. We all need some extra support from time to time. So, it can be really useful to make yourself aware of various community groups and mental health organisations that you might want to contact if you need some extra help with managing stress in the workplace – or stress in general! Alternatively, even just having a friendly face you know you can turn to during stressful times can be really beneficial!
It is also recommended that you plan to have some extra supplies of important items on hand. In this case I’m not talking about stockpiling toilet paper from your local supermarket! However, it can be useful to stock up on things you know help you to manage your stress levels. This could be your favourite brand of herbal tea, a good supply of things to read for when you’re feeling overwhelmed, and some comfort food (healthy if possible!)
3. Taking action during a pandemic
The pressures of modern working life are arguably greater than ever before. And of course, occasionally everything gets on top of us. The CDC recommends staying home from work if you become sick. And stress is like any physical illness – sometimes you need to take a personal day to focus on your mental health.
The guide also recommends making smart decisions about attending events and gatherings. And of course, whilst bouts of stress and poor mental health aren’t contagious, you should still assess whether you feel up to social occasions, or whether you need some time at home to recharge. Ultimately, only you’ll know what works for you!
Managing stress in the workplace
So, there you have it. A guide for dealing with and managing stress in the workplace based on CDC pandemic guidelines. And if at the end of this article you still think I’m crazy then I’ll boil everything down into 4 main points:
- Understand that workplace stress is something that most people experience
- Accept that it’s okay to take a personal day if you’re getting consistently stressed or overwhelmed
- Familiarise yourself with potential problem situations or scenarios as well as your own signs of stress-related burnout
- Take preventative action – work on building emotional and mental resiliency through mindfulness
And above all else make sure U love U!
For more content about mental health, I’ve recently written an article about living and working with anxiety!
And for more content about coronavirus and the recent quarantine, read Anthony Peacock’s insightful blog, Reframing Lockdown: Time To Make a Change?
Anthony Peacock: Back to School
This week’s blog is from Anthony Peacock. Read on for some really beautiful and thought-provoking insights into the spectrum of human emotion found in airports and the wisdom we can all gain from the folly of youth.
Back to School
I’m writing this from an airport departure lounge in Barcelona, sometime after 5am. It’s pitch dark outside, bitterly cold, and the terminal is largely deserted.
There are a few lone travellers about. Plus a massive school group, all done up in identical orange and white fleeces. Because these days you can fly to London for less than a tenner as long as you don’t mind getting up before most people in Spain go to bed.
At least the kids are happy. They’re talking about the exciting adventures they are bound to get up to while away. Underage drinking, illicit smoking, and perhaps a bit of amateur seduction for the more risqué among the crowd.
Everyone else, me included, just looks plain miserable. After all, there’s no more depressing place than an early morning airport, is there?
We’ve all got our own reasons for feeling unhappy. For me, it’s an unscheduled journey I’d rather not be making, at a time when all sorts of other stuff is going on too. Having been to bed at 1:30am and waking up long before the alarm went off at 4am doesn’t help. Especially after a sleepless night in a grotty part of town next to the airport.
The man opposite me is engrossed in his computer, although it’s clearly not a happy relationship. He’s not liking what he sees, jabbing at the keys, scowling at the screen, which contains some sort of interminable excel file, from what I could see earlier. So much anger, so early in the morning.
I’d guess he got up in even more of a hurry than me, tie at a weird angle and collars that are sticking up. He keeps running his fingers through his hair. You can almost feel the stress running off him. Probably he needs to be prepare for a meeting that’s happening way sooner than he wants it to. And if he screws up, he’s in trouble.
Then there’s the woman sitting at the end of the row, about as far as possible from everyone else as it’s possible to get. She’s staring vacantly into space, a million miles away, clutching a tissue very tightly in her left hand.
Airports are funny places. They’re associated with happiness and sadness, excitement and desperation, reunions and partings, work and leisure. And for many people – whatever their reason for travelling – fear and anxiety.
In his book, ‘A Week at the Airport’, writer Alain de Botton describes airports as a crucible of human emotion: a microcosm of mankind placed on a conveniently-sized petri dish.
“There is a painful contrast between the enormous objective projects that we set in train, at incalculable financial and environmental cost – the construction of terminals, of runways and of wide-bodied aircraft – and the subjective psychological knots that undermine their use,” writes de Botton. “How quickly all the advantages of technological civilisation are wiped out by a domestic squabble. At the beginning of human history, as we struggled to light fires and to chisel fallen trees into rudimentary canoes, who could have predicted that long after we had managed to send men to the moon and aeroplanes to Australasia, we would still have such trouble knowing how to tolerate ourselves, forgive our loved ones and apologise for our tantrums?”
That profound truth, like every bit of genuinely insightful writing, reflects our everyday reality. It’s not only present in that airport lounge in Barcelona, but also in everyone you see around you, right now.
And it’s too easy to focus on those negative issues and think of all the modern conveniences of everyday life, such as airports, phones and computers – as just a way to make them more acute.
Even if you’re flying to the other end of the world, text messages, emails and social media will always follow you. Whatever crisis you face, modern transport and telecommunications will bring you closer to its epicentre faster than ever before. There’s even Wi-Fi on the actual plane now: previously the final frontier of digital seclusion.
Whether they like it or not, people are being forced to confront situations sooner and faster than they think. And it’s all too easy to be sucked into a web of useless anger and negativity, especially at 5am.
In fact, the only people who weren’t abjectly miserable in that airport were the kids. Because they didn’t have a care in the world, they didn’t mind the earliness of the hour, they saw each day only as an adventure and an opportunity. They wore their worries as casually as their school fleeces.
That’s the mindset we could all do with getting back into from time to time. In theory, we’re meant to be the responsible adults setting an example to kids about how to behave. In reality, it’s us who can often learn a lot from them.
For more insights from Anthony, read his last blog, ‘Sleepless in Seattle – Or Was It Toronto?‘
Anthony Peacock: Sleepless in Seattle. Or Was it Toronto?
Hi, I’m Anthony Peacock, known as ‘Anton.’ (Yes, everyone round here appears to have an alternative name). I’ll be writing regular articles for the ULU community section of the blog: ULU Nation! I’d love to tell you a bit more about me, and how I became an avid user of CBD for jetlag!
I look after public relations for ULU but that’s not my only job. The rest of the time, I’m running around the world, meeting new people and trying to influence them. That’s the theory at least.
In practice, I work in PR, or to put it more accurately, ‘content creation’. You’re probably now thinking that this sounds like some hipster millennial buzzword coined by someone with a long beard who spends too much time in artisanal coffee shops but honestly – I’m about as far from millennial as it’s possible to get. Very shortly, I’m going to be closer to 50 than 40. And while I like coffee shops, the truth is that pubs tend to be more fun.
What ‘content creation’ is all about is simply producing material: blogs, articles, press releases, features, videos and photos, then putting them together in a hopefully interesting way. It’s a bit like being a writer in 3D, because all the boundaries between different communications methods are definitely being blurred these days.
Were Charles Dickens around now, he’d definitely have a blog – he sort of did, actually, in Victorian newspapers – while Shakespeare was so mercenary that he’d be constantly updating his LinkedIn page.
There’s such a massive number of media outlets around now, especially digital, that the Internet feels like a giant beast that’s constantly hungry. And it’s part of my role to feed it. So, you can probably add ‘digital zookeeper’ to my job description too.
Now that does sound contemporary. I might just stick it on a business card and see how long I can keep a straight face for. After all, it sounds no less ridiculous than ‘inversion and holistic imaginative cognition’ that genuinely appeared as a speciality on somebody’s calling card I was handed recently. To this day, I have absolutely no idea what George does, apart from make people wonder what his job is.
What I do
I work on media content in quite a few industries, from CBD to watchmaking, but – like our founder Pablo, who you will have heard from earlier – I spend a lot of time doing automotive stuff, which is why from time to time you’ll hear our take about what’s going on in the world of Formula 1 and other things on four wheels.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect to writing about cars is just how much time you spend on planes. So much time, in fact, that you become a repository for absolutely useless information, such as the fact that YYZ is the airport code for Toronto. Obviously. And that the only London tube station not to contain any of the letters found in the word ‘mackerel’ is St John’s Wood (thank the reruns of QI on British Airways for this gem).
The only real downside to the job, apart from having to constantly justify why you’re leaving behind a carbon footprint the size of a yeti, is the jet lag. For many years, I simply clung to the mantra of ‘sleep when you’re tired, stay awake when you’re not’, and that served me pretty well. There’s something smugly satisfying about sending emails at 4am, before having a well-deserved nap at 9am.
How I started using CBD for jetlag
But the relatively recent occasion in which I fell asleep on a plate of spaghetti carbonara, aided and abetted by a good quantity of Chianti and the company of some pretty boring people – let’s hope they’re not reading this – forced me to re-think.
While there’s not a lot you can do to stay awake when you’re falling asleep (apart from avoiding dullards and directing as much cold air as possible onto your feet – this really works) there’s actually a lot you can do to fall asleep when feeling awake.
Tormented by various time zones, as well as nightmares about how to persuade people to slake their digital thirsts at my various online watering holes (another 100% genuine description, this time delivered at a seminar from a British sports car company that should know better) I decided to try taking CBD for jet lag. And I found out that CBD drops helped, taken on a nightly basis.
The effect wasn’t instant, but it did briefly pause the hamster wheel of creative thought long enough for sleep to take over. Combined with other sensible practices (switching off phones, placing iPads out of reach, along with all other tempting distractions like the keys to the minibar) I finally found myself sufficiently relaxed to gain a proper night’s sleep more often than not. Who knows, I might even have discovered holistic imaginative cognition.
Thanks for checking in!
I’ll be on the road again shortly, so will keep you posted. I’ll be writing more about using CBD for jetlag, as well as more about my life and what I’m up to. In the meantime, keep dipping your bucket in my digital well. And stop sniggering, you at the back…
If you’d like to read more content from members of our community: ULU Nation, why not read about Tom Corbet, an avid cyclist who uses CBD to relieve muscle fatigue.
Tom Corbet – ULU Community
Here at ULU, we’re passionate at building a community of CBD users. We know that when it comes to CBD, there’s a lot of misinformation out there. So, helping our customers get to know each other as part of a community helps people to stay connected and informed. Today’s blog comes from Tom Corbet, avid sportsman from Essex. Learn about his sporting career, what he’s currently training for and how he uses CBD in cycling.
Tom Corbet, avid sportsman from Essex
I’ve always been a keen sportsman and enjoyed the many challenges it brings. I’ve tried my hand at most sports including football, golf and sailing but I probably reached the highest level in rugby playing for Kent University, Canterbury RFC and more recently for my local home club Rochford Hundred Rugby Club in Essex, where I joined at the age of 11, but this year I’m taking on a very different challenge: cycling.
I hung up my boots as it were in 2018 and since then have taken up cycling. It’s something I’ve always enjoyed since having a mountain bike as a child, but I didn’t really have time for it alongside rugby training and matches. Since giving that up, cycling is now my sporting focus.
Why has cycling become such a focus for you?
The main reason; a big challenge I’m taking on in May, cycling from London to Amsterdam, the long way! It’s a four-day ride covering over 500 kilometers starting in Greenwich, London heading to Dover, then jumping on the ferry to Calais and heading to Bruges, then Rotterdam and finishing in Amsterdam.
Like all good ideas, it started as a discussion in the pub as a way to raise money for charity following my wife’s diagnosis of Hodgkins Lymphoma in 2018. It’s been a tough couple of years of chemotherapy and a stem cell transplant but luckily the signs are good and she’s no longer having treatment.
I’m doing this along with seven friends for three incredible causes; Willow Foundation, Women on the Move Against Cancer (WOMAC) and Lymphoma Research Trust, all causes that are very close to my heart as they’ve been a great support during a difficult time.
The trip is quite the family affair as it’s a self organised, self funded ride so we have three support cars including my wife and two-year old son, as well as parents plus some friends are flying out for the final day so I’m really looking forward to arriving in Amsterdam to a warm welcome.
How are you training for this huge challenge?
Training for this challenge is taking a few different forms, long rides with a local group at the weekend, usually around 80 kilometres with an average pace of 30 kph. I really enjoy this element of the training, although it is a little chilly this time of year, but it’s fun to be out in a group and we always find a nice café to refuel.
I’m also doing twice-weekly Trainer Road sessions on a turbo trainer. I’ve created my very own spin room in our garage, it’s not pretty but it does the job. These sessions aren’t the most fun but I turn the music up and hope the hour or so goes quickly.
How do you use CBD in cycling?
Cycling is a very different sport to rugby, endurance is key, whereas in rugby strength and speed were the focus. After all you don’t see many road cyclists you could mistake for a rugby player!
This means that the training is very different to what I was used to. One thing I’ve felt more from cycling is DOMS and flexibility issues. I’ve taken on a few things to help rectify this, yoga once a week, using a foam roller on my legs and ULU CBD exfoliating rub. It’s all definitely helping to relieve muscle fatigue and get me ready for my next training session, which is never far away.
Wish me luck for May!
It’s always great to hear about achievements and success stories from within the CBD community. And it’s fascinating to hear about how Tom Corbet has used CBD in cycling to relieve muscle fatigue!
We love to feature anyone who uses CBD in their day-to-day life on our blog. If you’ve bought one of our products and want to be featured in the ULU community blog, please get in touch with us today!