Mental health for PAs in light of Covid-19
These last 13 months or so I am sure you would agree has been so surreal yet very bizarre at the same time. People do not know what is coming or going. At the same time, a lot of people have lost their loved ones through Covid-19 without a proper goodbye, a lot of weddings cancelled in the last minute, businesses forced to close, many people lost their jobs and people's normal way of life has been re-written.
Although the development of regulatory approved vaccines has shown there is light at the end of the tunnel, the damage has been done on the economy in a lot of industries which includes their mental health.
In this current climate for assistants, I have seen first-hand, contacts who work for large corporate firms when they have been on their high points in life, on the other hand I have also seen from others what it has done to them during low points over the course of this pandemic.
I speak to people in this industry on a regular basis and I am very fortunate enough to not have suffered. I speak to people whom have told me about their anxiety levels reaching break point in terms of going back to work, as they have got used to furlough life and just don’t know how to deal with the work load coming their way again. Others I have spoken to have suffered other emotions as a lot of people whom normally are very family orientated have been secluded to their four walls which has impacted their emotions. Those who are normally at work in a vibrant environment with lots of people around them now feel the only time they get a bit of ‘freedom’ is a walk around the block for some fresh air. With the hospitality industry shut down, those looking to meet up are now finding Zoom/Skype/Teams is the next best thing without the physical interaction.
The physical interaction also plays a vital part to a bosses day to day life, as the assistant would essentially do everything for them so their meeting/schedule/day goes smoothly. However, without physically being able to do this now, the productivity level decreases for executives who rely heavily on the physical presence of their 'no.2'. Furthermore, executives get a good sense of wellbeing knowing that if anything goes wrong, his/her no.2 is right there fixing the issues they may be having,. However, being limited to working from home can affect executive’s personal time which he/she would have spent with family/down time which again affects their mental wellbeing.
My personal view on this is that although you cannot take away people’s mental health issues during this pandemic, my advice to those who I speak to every day is that those of you whom have a job and have that withdrawal feeling, count the fact you are lucky you are still in a job, as others would do anything to be in that position.
If you are suffering while in a job, look at the positives as such that you are getting paid and you can put food on the table, a roof over your head, bills getting paid, and count the fact you are able to do this compared with others less fortunate. Whatever issues you face in life, think to yourself your ‘low’ right now would be a ‘high’ to someone less fortunate than you.
If you are furloughed and suffering from anxiety levels, think to yourself that the government is at least covering 80% of your salary and I am sure you are saving at least a bit on travel. Being able to host virtual meetings shows how lucky we are in this very tech-driven society, and although not ideal, it’s better than not being able to see others, even if it is just from your home!
I know that some people are struggling to find a job. I would advise hang in there, don’t let your guard down - as the vaccine roll out widens through the age groups, the economy is slowly beginning to open up as per the government road map, and this will in turn create a need for jobs again in all industries as the economy recovers. The light is certainly there at the end of the tunnel.
If anyone is struggling and needs someone to talk to, I am always available for a chat. Sometimes talking to strangers gives people a different perspective as they can really open up without feeling they are being judged by someone they know. if anyone wants a chat I will always listen, so don’t be scared if you want to ask for help. We are all in this together.
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