WHY WE NEED TO ADAPT WITH THE SOCIETAL CHANGES | Ask Dr Annika
Some people ask why they need to change if the societal changes are temporary, and that all will be back to normal once this is all over?
Who said that the changes are temporary?
I guess it’s clear to most of us that we’re currently in the middle of a new “Industrial Revolution”, and that we go from today’s industrial society to the future IT society.
Honestly, because everybody has seen that all the changes and the setup work, why’d we think that they’re still going to revert back to the past ways?
The world is evolving, we are evolving.
If we think we’re going to be the future of IT society, let me tell you that we’re actually already there in many ways. Today’s young people have nothing to compare with — since most of them have not experienced the “Industrial Society”. This transformation surely will request a lot of new knowledge and skills from everybody.
FROM A HEALTH PERSPECTIVE
Is a transition from one system to another good or bad from a health perspective?
Health doesn’t care what we call the society out there, and neither does it care about pandemics being around.
Stone age, bronze age, renaissance, agricultural, industrial, or IT — it doesn’t matter for the body and soul as long as they get their basic needs satisfied.
BIOLOGY IS SLOWER THAN SOCIETY
Biology changes much slower than society as societal changes are extremely fast today. Meanwhile, biology hasn’t changed since man evolved around 200,000 ish years ago.
Our bodies and minds’ basic needs are the same now as they were then: Regular sleep, nutritional food, and physical activity for the body and psychological and physical closeness (to be seen and touched) for the mind. PLUS, time to rest.
That is all that is needed to keep us feeling well and sane. These are the basic needs.
What does it mean in reality? That we should take care of our bodies and souls as we always have done, or should have done.
Stress, in a simple way, is the physiological process within the body that gives increased levels of stress hormones when outside pressure and when our internal needs don’t go in line.
Stress ain’t about the number of things we do, but about our feelings about it. This in return, may cause concentration difficulty, memory difficulties, headache, stomach ache, and in the long run — risk for organic diseases.
But what can we do to avoid it all from happening? Take periods of rejuvenation.
DO THE SOCIETAL CHANGES CREATE MORE STRESS
Going back, do the leaders get more stressed with this new digitalized era?
We know that changes in workplaces generally create new difficulties that we, at least initially, perceive as more stressful.
It’s even more important to get frequent time for rejuvenation and take good care of the body between peaks of stress like this.
GOING BACK TO THE BASICS
To summarize, this is like going back to the basics. The more stressful the situation you’re in, the more important the basics are regular sleep, nutritious food, and regular physical activity.
That’s how easy… and maybe hard??? It is!
And for the Corona pandemic? It will pass!
Some of the changes done to cope will stay because they worked better, but the end result for that will not be seen until years from now.
And new challenges will show up…
Life is exciting, isn’t it?
To be witty you can say — there is one thing that will never change — and that is that change is inevitable!
FUTURE LEADERSHIP AND WORKPLACE HEALTH
Today’s businesses were forced to go virtual by the pandemic. Jobs were broken down into new areas to be adapted and all these changes led work to be more flexible. New solutions emerged out of necessity, and they were brilliant.
But, the job specification for a health and safety manager is one, in particular, that may change dramatically.
How on earth do you begin to look after the physical and mental well-being of employees while they are working from home? It feels inevitable that health and safety will increasingly overlap with more traditional HR priorities and become even more central to employers meeting their duty of care.
HOW WILL YOU NOTICE WHO’S WHO
How will you notice who’s burnt out, who’s not taking enough breaks, or who’s having a tough time at home?
Employers will need new services to bridge the gap between small talk and social interactions, such as access to an employee helpline or private healthcare provision.
But why should you have to care for those things — small talk and social interactions? Because those actions are crucial to our well-being — and our well-being is a must for doing a good job. We are herd animals, we need those interactions to thrive.
BIG SOCIETAL CHANGE: NOW WORKING ALONE AT HOME
You may think that being by yourself, being able to work undisturbed is less stressful, and you will be very effective.
Well as long as you KNOW there is someone caring for you and getting back to you now and then — that is okay — and you can stay very effective.
But if you don’t feel that trust, you don’t feel seen and have a feeling that nobody cares — they (the employer) might even think you are cheating since no one sees what you do when you sit at home and work — and even if you love what you do — then your sympathetic nervous system kicks in meaning you are constantly alert with your 3 automatic stress tools — the ability to fight, run away or play dead.
AS SEEN FROM AN EVOLUTIONARY PERSPECTIVE
We don’t know why this is so but seen from an evolutionary perspective we have 99,9% of our time here as human beings being dependent on each other to survive.
Staying together was the only way to survive.
That means that the brain rewards the community.
BEING ALONE AND BEING LONELY
With this knowledge, it is easier to understand why loneliness, feeling alone by your work desk at home, is connected to fight or flight — because evolution meant you had to watch out all the time if you were alone. Your stress system was always active.
This constant state of stress, with increased levels of stress hormones in the body, meant high blood pressure, inflammation, and therefore a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. And eventually premature death.
Further research on why this so shows that loneliness makes us see the world and other people as more threatening. We become sensitive to people’s faces and interpret rather towards the negative also on a neutral face. The brain develops sensitivity for signs and sees the world as hostile. And we can see the depression coming.
Therefore this part with community and possibilities to meet are so crucial to workplace health — to avoid mental illness.
A NEW DEFINITION OF WORK
Away from health and safety, there will need to be reconsiderations regarding the design of the new workplace — when we now slowly are getting back to our old routines.
Or are we? — old routines need to be new routines.
We need to make room for all the good homework experiences we have.
Maybe we need to bring a whole new way of thinking — but doing it carefully so we can keep what is good from both worlds — the office and the home-based.
After all, if work from home has been seen as effective, an option must be provided, and as everyone has said — “Welcome to the New Normal”.
If it feels hard to decide what you want to do on your own — go get a mentor. Reach out if you need help. It is always important and there will always be things that you can support. Check HERE to see if you’ll feel like we’re a good fit.
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To your success and keep smiling,
Originally published at https://askdrannika.com on April 27, 2022.