A cover image for our 'Staying in Control' Insight

In the face of the current health crisis, with the economic fallout meaning job losses and financial difficulties for many, coronavirus has plunged the world into a state of uncertainty as we strive to stay in control of the pandemic. At a time when most people are isolated in their own homes, working to stamp out the spread of the virus, the constant news about the outbreak can feel relentless.

The human brain is not wired to tolerate uncertainty, but it is wired to be alert to any threat, so it is only natural to sometimes feel overwhelmed as you read news about the outbreak and deal with the huge changes that the virus has thrust upon our daily lives. You only have to read about panic buying in supermarkets and the hoarding of face masks to understand the fear and sense of helplessness that many people are feeling.

With the recent lockdown, it’s not surprising that people all over the world find themselves struggling, not being able to do what they want to do on a day-to-day basis and feeling like they aren’t in control of their actions.

Recognising this as a real challenge for many, our Workplace Wellbeing Services Lead, Ross Miller, decided to create a video around the topic of control. The video looks at the issue of control and how much of an impact it can have on our lives in terms of positivity. This received a huge response on Linkedin from many people all over the UK, many of whom were struggling to maintain a positive mindset, often not identifying their emotions as linked to not feeling in control. In the video, Ross introduces an interesting concept – the concept that we are still in control of our lives. But how can this be the case?

How Are We in Control?

Control can be split into into two groups – situations we have absolute control over, and situations which we are unable to control, and can only control our reactions to.

Look closely at your day, you will notice the countless decisions that you make as soon as you wake up, without even realising it; what will I have for breakfast? what will I wear? when will I start work? Some research suggests that on an average day, an adult makes around 35,000 remotely conscious decisions. Some decisions will be less noticeable, such as whether you decide to check your smartphone when you hear it buzz, but each decision will have some impact on your day, however small.

Granted, our days may be a little different whilst in lockdown to our usual day, however with our daily routine facing constant changes, and those working from home having more flexibility and freedom than before, you could argue that we are faced with more decisions than ever. We now need to ask ourselves; when will I take a break? what should I do for exercise? how will I spend my time after work? When we recognise the small conscious decisions that we are making, we begin to see that our days are almost entirely shaped by the answers that we give, and we start to realise that we are in fact in control.

The Bigger Challenge

What about the things we aren’t in control of? for example, having to work from home, not being able to go and visit friends or family, or perhaps facing potential job losses. Many of these things we have no power over, but we can still control the way we react to them.

So if you are switching to home working, you can decide where you want to set up your workspace, how it will look, whether you keep it clutter-free. If you’re not working, you could choose to spend time looking for a new opportunity or upskilling to support a potential new role. By taking control and choosing what we do and how we react to situations, we can make a big difference to our mindset, as we feel empowered and in control.

Anxiety can be helpful at times; it can help us to keep safe and do the right things – but fixating on what we cannot control is not a healthy thing to do and can be damaging to our mental health. So, take the challenge that Ross presents in his video, and stop thinking about the things you can’t control and focus on the things you can!

Mary Gober International Learning

This message is inspired by our work with training experts, MGI Learning, who have helped us to build their mantra of “Positivity breeds positivity” into Cantium’s service culture. A message which, now more than ever, is key to our teams at Cantium continuing to thrive.

Using the Mary Gober Mindset, Language and Actions Toolkit, our internal trainers support our staff with a number of different skills and techniques to aid communication, recognize how they are feeling and how this can impact their actions. This helps our staff to not only provide a first-class service to our customers, but supports their wellbeing and mental health; something which is at the heart of everything we do at Cantium.

You can watch Ross’ video on control and see more of his upcoming video posts by visiting his LinkedIn page.