Well, well, well. Here we are. It’s August, and once again triple digits abound on Texas dashboards everywhere and a tropical disturbance chills out in the Gulf of Mexico, oblivious to the fact that we need a break.
When leadership sent our staff home in March, I was fairly sure most of our staff would be back in July. Our entire company worked to creatively keep touch with the teams working from home and HR updated all our leave policies, read new mandates and laws, supported initiatives for flexibility, technology strategies, and more. We checked the boxes. We did our thing. Our staff’s response was awe-inspiring – full of uplifting each other, asking intelligent questions, and soldiering on to run our business in the new 'normal.'
And, you know what? It was hard, but we were okay because we knew it was all just a point in time, right? There was no way we’d be like this past July, or maybe September. So, we made jokes, we made tough decisions, and we prepared signs and acquired PPE for office returns we just knew were around the bend. Did you ever really get comfortable in saying "Yes, we're successfully running our business in the new normal."?
But here we sit. September is a stretch goal to get our local teams back to the offices. Normal parts of our lives – those annual beach trips, that marathon training kickoff, the trips to the pool, sno-cones at the food truck – our normal summer days flew past without any of the normal. We are still in the thick of it – elbow deep, tired, worn, disappointed, and trying to gather the energy to rally for the unknown.
The word “unprecedented” has lost the glimmer of excitement and glamour it once held, but it’s the most applicable. We live in unprecedented times, and we need to figure out how to keep going.
As we all trudge forward, unsure of whether our kids will be back in school or home online this fall, thinking of loved ones fighting this virus, wondering how we’ll vote, mourning those losses we didn’t expect, watching the companies that employ our friends and families rise and fall, we all are now suddenly in a position where self-care is no longer a luxury, it’s a necessity – and we are all scrambling to find new ways to gift ourselves a moment of peace, a reset, and resolve to stay positive and move forward.
AcctTwo is insanely proud of the self-aware and resilient staff we have. They’ve done an amazing job demonstrating how adaptability and innovation go hand-in-hand, so I reached out to them – my experts – to share with you how they have given themselves some grace and found their inner woo-sah to survive and thrive during this global pandemic. Here is their (only slightly abridged) list of tips to survive long-term challenges.
Care for Your Body
“Serious tip: eating the RIGHT foods. The more color in your diet, the happier you will feel.
“Brew a comforting cup of tea. Eat a piece of dark chocolate. Go for a walk outside.”
“Walk around during calls, if possible. Go outside. Stand, don’t sit. Take B vitamins in the morning. Go to bed and get a good night’s sleep.”
“I have to get up and walk around often. I can make a loop around the inside of my house the way it is set up. I also walk to the end of my driveway often.”
“Frequent walks have been a huge help and its gardening time in NC - which is my version of meditating.”
“Sleep. Take your vitamins. Drink a lot of water.”
Organize Your Day & Workspace for Success
“Choose a work task that you know will give you a victory... or do the hardest task first thing and get it over with!”
“Get dressed like you are at work. It makes you feel good, tbh.”
“I don’t like using computer audio because it tethers me to my laptop. Dial in on phone and get some steps in if you don’t need to see the screen.”
“I find that taking a break when you have a hard thing to solve, though it may seem unproductive, makes you find solutions easier since you stop trying to make things align and let your brain relax.”
“For me, the most stressful thing has been learning to share my usually quiet remote workspace with my husband. To reduce stress, it’s been helpful to have "set" office hours for each of us, where we each get privacy and can work in the way we want without frustrating or annoying the other.”
“Do your best to design your days so you feel like you're in control of them, if that is important for you… Stay in your routine. Get up, shower, dress, eat, exercise, walk the dog, water flowers, whatever it is. Keep it 'normal'.”
“Schedule breaks after big thinking or manual tasks - celebrate your win - block your calendar and schedule focus time.”
“If sharing your house with your whole family now, when you're used to being alone while you work, get up early or stay up late to have that quiet time - schedule and take turns so everyone can anticipate their own quiet time.”
Connect with Others
“Call a friend to talk.”
“Setup or join an easy exercise challenge with some friends and keep track on a group chat.”
“Make cooking at home an event that everyone is involved in, or make a schedule so you know when it is your turn. Include everyone in the process and acknowledge that everyone may be having cabin fever.”
“Write letters to your relatives. Call them when you have energy to do so. Have Zoom calls with them.”
“Find new ways to engage online. Quiplash has been a hit for our family. We’re also figuring out how to play other games remotely.”
“Say ‘yes’ to your kids more than usual. They’re going through things, too. I’ve now let my kids have pink and turquoise hair, had lunch with them nearly daily, and introduced them to some of my favorite old card games and books. Their delight at these little moments has made my stress level much easier to bear.”
Take a Step Back
“Turn on some encouraging music (Power Metal? Shania Twain? Whatever suits you). Make sure you get time after work to do something you enjoy and give your brain rest (Lately I have been re-reading Harry Potter or playing Animal Crossing because I am 100% a real adult).”
“I sit and watch the squirrels go back and forth on the fence. They are fast little things.”
“Music is the best stress reliever for me! Some nice cool jazz!”
“I also think taking small breaks to get away from the computer helps clear your head. Breathing deep. I have an apple watch that reminds me to stand up and breathe. Sounds silly but sometimes we need to be reminded to take a deep breathe. It helps.”
“Wake up and say to yourself 5 things you're grateful for.”
“Have coffee or happy hour on your lawn. Watch old home movies/look at pictures/plan an imaginary vacation.”
“Paint something. Clean the garage. Make a list of one and done tasks to do around house and do one a week.”
“Implement 'Whatever Wednesdays' where the routine and schedule are tossed out and you do things totally differently to break the monotony. Watch a movie in your backyard. Build something you learn about on YouTube.”
A special thanks to our AcctTwo team and friends who contributed! In particular: Holly Vaughan (AcctTwo: Solution Architect), Misty Hunter (AcctTwo: AP Specialist), Anne Holik (AcctTwo: Operations Coordinator), Holly Hamilton (AcctTwo: Accountant), John Campbell (AcctTwo: Sr. Director, Software Engineering), Karen Evans (AcctTwo: Senior AR and Payroll Specialist), Vicki Richardson (AcctTwo: Customer Support Supervisor), Ashley Rawlings (AcctTwo: Customer Success Manager), Shannon Santistevan (AcctTwo: Senior Solution Architect), and Gabe Rotar (OSF).