9 Ways to Keep Your Productivity during hard times:
- Limit your exposure to war news.
- Take a walk.
- Limit Alcohol/Nicotine intake.
- Set realistic goals and expectations.
- Examine your values and live by them.
- Reduce unnecessary stress triggers.
- Eat healthy at least once a day.
- Try guided meditation.
- Reduce multi-tasking.
It’s the N’th day since our daily life flipped to something of a dystopia playing in front of our eyes. We, as humans, are social animals, and seeing members of our society suffering so needlessly, pushes our brains into a loop of trying to find an explanation why is it happening? Many of us find ourselves lost in thoughts and emotions. Many can’t stop reading through all the news for that glimmer of hope. Searching or those small battles won. Looking at the horrors of war, reminding ourselves, that currently, we as a society, are choosing between our humanity and the chance of losing it all.
And for many of us, we feel locked by our emotions. Our brain is stuck in a constant loop of looking for a reason. But to help Ukraine, we need to keep our mental health strong. We need to be able to focus and be productive. We need to support our governments, so they could support Ukraine now. Most important – to rebuild Ukraine in the future. We need to keep our economies strong even with the energy prices rising and the war raging.
So how to help yourself, so you could help others?
I started looking for a way, to control my emotions, to try and stop my brain from burnout with all that information overload. Constant thoughts, looking for a logical answer that does not exist. I came to these things that may help you during these hard times:
- Limit your exposure to war news. Both: the frequency and the amount. It is the first, so well documented, act of aggression against a free nation, with all of its war crimes and horror at your fingertips, constantly being updated. What may help you is an old productivity trick, called the Pomodoro technique. Set a timer on one of your smart devices or download a chrome plugin. The quick explanation is – turn on a timer and work for 25 minutes, then have a 5-10 minutes break. Use a timer for a break as well so you would not get lost in the news. After 3 Pomodoro, take a longer 20-30 minutes break. But here take a real break, from work, news, and even other people if possible. As your brain needs to digest everything that is happening. I myself do it with 90 Minutes of windows and 15 minutes breaks, with an hour’s break after 2 or 3.
- Take a walk. For some, it is already hard to leave the bed in the morning, so we can forget about offering aerobic exercise. However, walking is an amazing stress reliever as well. Our nervous systems were built for our ancestors that walked daily and with the amount of stress and anger, a lot of us are feeling – walking some of it out, helps wonders. I would recommend doing it at least twice a day, for at least 15 minutes.
- Limit Alcohol/Nicotine intake. For many, these help to forget, get lost and relax. However, that is only a perception. Both of them create physical stress on our bodies. And when your head is in the wrong place, you may not notice, how you’re increasing your average intake. Count how much you consume and pre-agree with yourself on what you will consume.
- Set realistic goals and expectations. You are not okay. The world is not okay. The situation is not okay and you should understand that. If we can’t deliver 100%, we should understand it and not beat ourselves down for it. There is already enough stress in our current situation, just deliver the best you can, but dedicate time slots for it.
- Examine your values and live by them. It is important for our brains to act the way we believe is right. And for many – the current situation is not right at all. There are many, that are already left to help on the front lines, but not all of us, have the skills and the ability. However, you can always join your local protest and donate to the charities and Ukrainian government to support them during this horrible war. You can find details about this below. Now more than ever you need to join people that think the same and fight for what you think is right as your brain needs assurance, that humanity stands against it so that you could keep your humanity.
- Reduce unnecessary stress triggers. There were a lot of small stress triggers, that we could ignore, but now, every bit matters. Remove those small things, that are causing you stress. Maybe it is a small task you keep on forgetting. Maybe is something you promised yourself to do – but in the current situation it doesn’t matter anymore, so let go of it.
- Eat healthy at least once a day. I noticed getting more and more lost in eating mostly pre-made and junk food, because I tried to compensate for the lost productivity by spending less time on making and consuming food, then I would want comforting food due to the emotional load and the feeling of guilt for underperforming. However, getting at least one proper, homemade meal a day, goes a long way for your mental and physical health.
- Try guided meditation. There are apps and playlists on youtube and Spotify. When you are already overwhelmed and your brain has issues with comprehending the situation it is close to impossible to do a proper meditation, without assistance if you are not a professional at it. However guided meditations help with it, as you can focus on another person talking to you, instead of trying to push your own thoughts away.
- Reduce multi-tasking. This one works perfectly with the Pomodoro technique. During your period of work mute all communication apps. Focus on one task at a time. We all know that there will be thoughts in the background, that are already hard to control.
We can only hope, that freedom and democracy will win and the current situation does not escalate into nuclear war. But for that, we need to keep on going and support Ukraine.
You can help Ukraine by donating to one of these accounts :
National Bank of Ukraine Special Account to Raise Funds for Ukraine’s Armed Forces
Official Ukraine Crypto Account
Hospitaller (the pinned post has the account data )
Blue Yellow ( an organization active since the Crimea invasion)
Header Photo by Andrea Piacquadio