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Prioritizing your mental health – advice from Uber’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer

April 3, 2020 / Global

Companies around the world have implemented work-from-home policies to help flatten the curve during the ongoing pandemic. As the events surrounding the coronavirus crisis unfold, some of us may experience increased stress levels. Whether it’s dealing with at-risk family members or trying to juggle work while keeping kids occupied, stress can easily pile up.

Uber’s Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, Bo Young Lee, shared some actionable advice with Uber’s employees on how to deal with the unique challenges that this uncertain period brings and we wanted to share them here too.

COVID-19 has understandably triggered anxiety and an emotional rollercoaster for many of us. Working from home over a prolonged period brings its own unique challenges, whether you’re a caregiver or simply because we are all used to being around others during the working day. I’m writing to tell you that you are not alone and to share some ways for you to cope, care for yourself, and build resilience.

1. Be mindful of media consumption. 
We want to stay informed, but it’s equally important not to overly fixate on COVID-19 news—your anxiety levels will increase if you do. I recommend making a conscious effort to check news and social media in appropriate doses. Setting app limits on your phone can help with limiting your daily screen time (if you stick to it).

2. Confirm your sources. 
There’s a lot of misleading news and false information sources out there. Seek news directly from reputable media platforms, or global (and local) health sources like the WHO or the CDC.

3. Maintain a routine. 
Working from home can be stressful on many levels—whether you’re caring for kids, pets, or at-risk family, or because you’re parked alone in front of your computer. Try to keep your daily routine: wake up and shower the same time, eat, exercise, go outside, and try to log off at your usual time. 

4. Take breaks. 
Create space for breaks to meditate, do breathwork, stretch, eat a meal, or move around. My team has held optional team stretch sessions to simply gather together to catch up, laugh, and move. Whatever you need to do to refresh your mind, spirit, and body, do it!

5. Stay connected. 
When you’re isolated it’s easy to lapse into silence or become overwhelmed. Stay connected with family and friends, send that text, pick up the phone, and use video call and conference tools to see a friendly face.

6. Ask for help: 
If you’re struggling mentally, reach out to a mental health expert immediately. Our U.S. employees are eligible for Lyra, our mental health benefit partner, offering access to therapists and coaches via live video. Employees outside the U.S. can take advantage of ComPsych Guidance Resources, our International Employee Assistance Program that provides confidential counselling services for grief, anxiety and stress. There are many organizations that can help, but don’t wait until it gets worse. Finally, this video on how to cope with COVID-19 fears, might help you support your mental health.
Stay safe. It’s a tough time, but we shall overcome.