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Mindfulness in Moments of Crisis

Personal wellbeing and mindfulness was the focus of this week’s HRM Virtual Café ‘How do we look after ourselves?’, discussing the challenges of working from home and innovative ways of staying motivated and inspired during the COVID-19 crisis.

Creator of the interactive HRM Virtual Café, Professor Na Fu, polled participants to identify their top three challenges and feelings over the past two weeks. The results revealed ‘uncertainty’, ‘lack of motivation’ and ‘nervousness’, amongst others, provoking a discussion led by Trinity Business School’s Professor Sarah-Jane Cullinane.

Real-time word clouds displayed the results of the polls, with the larger words and phrases visualising the most popular choices.

Sarah-Jane teaches mindfulness-based interventions through Stress Reduction Programmes with students and within organisations. Having already taught virtual mindfulness classes on Zoom with students and staff in recent weeks, she advised, “you are not alone in having a mad flurry of positive and negative feelings”.

“We must be aware that emotions are transient and what we experience may change from day to day – which is understandable considering we don’t have our usual structure and routine in place,” she continued. “We’re all experiencing feelings of fear and nervousness but I also think that there is an interesting language around fear at the moment. Fear isn’t typically something we’d discuss in a business school setting, as people think that showing fear puts you in a vulnerable state – so we aren’t used to talking about it. We almost feel threatened by it and don’t quite know how to perceive it. Mindfulness teaches us that the trick to not becoming overwhelmed is to accept these feelings of shock, nervousness or fear and recognise that they will pass with time.”

After further breakout discussions, the group heard insights from contributors such as Enda De Bruin of the Irish Defence Forces and Joanna Kearney, talent and human capital executive at Accenture. Topics ranged from the issues of accountability and trust in our new virtual world to the expected changing relationship between employers and employees in post-COVID times.

The resounding message from the meetup was echoed by Enda, who advised us all to “be kind, step up where possible, and don’t judge.”