• Annie Rodgers

Four steps to take when WFH turns into WTF!

By Annie Rodgers

How to manage anxiety in lockdown.

For many of my clients in the UK and Europe we are on week five of working from home and the great myth of multi-tasking has never been so tested (and no, we can’t do it all, and women are no better at it than men). 


For those with children, the blurring of schooling to holidays and back again, and the never-ending domestic chores have meant learning to accept that this is the time to do enough and forget the rest. 


No surprise of course, but I am hearing a lot of anxiety and fear which can be paralysing to clients.  It’s normal for all of us, but amidst all that’s out of our control, we do have the power to chart those emotions on a different course.  


My role is to help my clients manage those emotions and find their way through them to a place that brings space for reflection and reframing, and back onto the path towards our goals.  We might not be discussing stakeholder management in quite the same way, but we are adapting without losing sight of being our best. Learning to manage our emotions has rarely been put to a greater test. So, when anxiety begins to take over, I’ve been taking these four steps:

  1. Take three deep breaths to calm your parasympathetic nervous system. Focus on the exhale not the inhale for a calming effect.

  2. Acknowledge the feeling of fear and anxiety look inward to its source. 

  3. Describe it, give it a name (though not too many), explore how it serves you and how it’s manifesting itself in your day to day is next. Decide what you want to do with it and examine the consequences of that decision.

  4. Finally, ask yourself how you would rather feel? Think and do and shift your thinking with those goals in mind.

We have the power to channel our emotions and feelings, but it takes practice and requires a process. It won’t come naturally as we are hard-wired to lean towards the drama and negativity. Accepting this and making a conscious effort to redress the balance will ease the burden of worry and anxiety. It will open up the possibility of what you’d rather feel, and what the actions and behaviours are to help yourself get there.


Over the past few weeks, this process has revealed insights from clients that have allowed them to channel their thoughts into a more focused and happier place, whether practically or emotionally. If you’re getting stuck in the weeds, or if you are just over Zoomed and starting to feel anxious, take a step back, reflect and recalibrate.  These simple steps will serve you now and long past these challenging times.

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