By Lizzie D’Angelo.
With the latest news on the government’s four-step coronavirus roadmap, there are plenty of challenges facing communications professionals as we emerge from lockdown life.
Hands up who’s feeling burnt out? That was the recent subject of my team meeting, over video call, of course, as we discussed the end of another incredibly busy month.
When we first moved to homeworking at the start of the pandemic, there was a feeling of excitement as much as apprehension.
We thought we’d be here for a few weeks, a couple of months tops. There was a novelty in the Zoom meetings and Microsoft Teams chats, of tackling morning emails with a coffee and slippers for those of us used to waking up at the crack of dawn to pile onto busy commuter buses and trains. Long-standing home workers found the world suddenly reorientated to them, remembering the old days of dodgy conference call dial-ins and broken Skype connections.
Roll-on nearly 12 months and the mood is somewhat different.
As we begin to emerge from the coronavirus pandemic in line with the government’s four-step roadmap, many of us are feeling the pressure.
It’s the exhaustion of juggling family responsibilities with work demands. Of feeling like we’re ‘always on’ – spending the day in back to back video calls with barely ten minutes to grab lunch or nip to the loo. We’re missing catch ups over a cuppa, chats with colleagues and contacts, dashes across town to a meeting or the buzz of finishing an important pitch or presentation with our team.
It’s just as things are starting to look more positive, that many of us are reaching the limits of our own personal resilience. And that’s not to consider the impact on those of us who’ve been furloughed or who have lost jobs or contracts as companies have tightened their expenditure.
That’s why burnout is something we’re starting to see in our friends, colleagues and in ourselves. Often it comes hand in hand with anxiety, trouble sleeping and staying motivated. It can lead to those stomach-churning flutterings of stress and the sleepless nights we all dread.
Now more than ever, it’s important we speak up and seek help. But knowing where to turn is difficult as our usual support systems and networks feel very remote.
This is why I’m proud to be a trustee for iprovision, the benevolent fund dedicated to supporting CIPR members past and present, and their families.
Last year we launched a dedicated confidential Mental Health Hotline and support hub, in partnership with Health Assured. The timing was fortuitous as none of us could have anticipated the impact of living within a global pandemic on our wellbeing.
On the end of the phone, you’ll find dedicated accredited counsellors who can provide advice and support on the issues which matter to you, as well as valuable resources and information to help you manage your mental wellbeing. It’s completely confidential and you are fully in control of what you share and discuss.
For CIPR members who’ve fallen on hard times due to the impact of Covid-19, iprovision can provide financial assistance and practical support, with help just a phone call away.
I know personally that I’m feeling the pressure, and I’m making a conscious effort to try and make sure my friends and colleagues know they have places to turn if they’re feeling it too. Sometimes it’s just a case of asking how someone really is, probing a little deeper than the ‘I’m fine’ response, and helping them access the support they need.
Let me leave you with one final thought. It will get better. But if that feels like a future which is all too distant right now, please know that you’re not alone. At iprovision, we’re here to support you when you need us.
All you need to do is call.
To access iprovision’s Mental Health Hotline and wellbeing support hub click here.
Lizzie D’Angelo is a trustee of the CIPR benevolent fund iprovision and Marcomms Director at the pregnancy research charity Tommy’s.