Ten tips for mental health in corona times

Boudewijn Vanpeteghem Editor Connect on Linkedin
“Manage your energy, not your time”
  • Work towards peaks and build in lows
  • Language of top sports translated to work situation
  • Ten tips to get started

Does the corona crisis work on your nerves, too? If so, you are one of the many impacted by the virus physically and mentally. "Manage your energy, not your time," advises Jeroen Keymolen. The Alumnus of TriFinance became an organizational and performance psychologist. He formulates ten tips for mental health in corona times and he makes you look in the mirror when it comes to the curtailment of social contacts. Jeroen works for the company "Kokoro Business”. Kokoro is a Japanese concept and is about the relationship between head, heart, and soul. Someone with a good Kokoro has these in balance. In 'normal' times Jeroen coaches demanding professionals, CEOs, and HR managers. In doing so, he calls on models that top athletes use. The well-known basketball player Ann Wauters is part of his team.

Are you a "corporate athlete" in balance?

What about your relationship between business, body, and mind? Are you a “corporate athlete” in balance? Jeroen believes that many companies lose sight of the balance between achieving results and the energy that employees feel. You get that energy by enjoying your work. Enjoying your job is important, because of the average 82 years that a person lives, 36 years go to their professional career.

Work towards peaks and build in lows

You need to manage your energy, not your time. How so, Jeroen explains: "Top athletes balance their energy by building in lows after peaks during which they recuperate, relax, do nothing, rest a lot, and sleep. In the business context, you see many peaks, but they are not followed by lows. As a result, you only perform at 70 to 80 percent of your capacity. Therefore: work towards peaks and build in lows. Physical movement is a good way to do so because it relaxes and gives the brain oxygen. Getting off your chair for a few minutes every half hour of work is a good habit. All the more so since you average sit 25 years in a career."

"That we have a hard time changing has to do with our brain' energy consumption."

If you're not a "corporate athlete" in balance, Jeroen says the key is to work incrementally toward that balance. "Set small, achievable ambitions first, because humans have a hard time with change. This has to do with the energy consumption of our brains, which accounts for 20 to 30 percent of our total energy consumption. Other energy eaters are our digestive and immune systems. Research shows that our brain processes about 70 to 90,000 thoughts, feelings, and impulses every day. 90 percent of these occur again the following day. Existing ideas require less of our brains than learning new things and establishing new habits."


The corona pandemic causes uncertainty. That infects your brain, Jeroen emphasizes, because it wants to predict everything and have control over its environment. Covid-19 affects your mental well-being. "Feeling good benefits from setting step-by-step goals regarding leisure, work, and family and friends. Write down your dream and it becomes a goal, whose recorded roadmap brings action and makes the dream a reality." It has to do with a series of questions: what do you want to become? What do you need to learn to become that? What do you need to change in your behavior to support your growth and learning?

"TriFinance talks about Economies of Motivation®, but what about Economies of Relationships?"

Social contacts suffer under Covid-19 and Jeroen makes you look in the mirror. "TriFinance talks about Economies of Motivation®, but what about Economies of Relationships?" In other words, you can do a lot yourself to maintain your social contacts as best you can during this extraordinary period. "There's the smartphone and Zoom. I myself contacted acquaintances and friends with whom I hadn't spoken in a while. They appreciate that. I am happy to drive a long way to go for a walk with someone. Physical presence is indeed preferable to contact via a screen. Still, virtual contact is an acceptable alternative."

Language of top sports translated to work situation

The Kokoro team connects business with the way top athletes look at themselves. "Covid-19 affects business, but the formula for doing business: making a profit, remains. Profit can also refer to yourself whereby you keep your energy capacity as high and your energy loss as low as possible."

Top athletes use a model for this with an unsurprising first stage: sufficient sleep and exercise, healthy diet, careful breathing, and social support. The second stage: building skills and fitness, Jeroen translates to business. 'Mobility' becomes 'open mind'. Stability' translates into 'coping with stress'. ‘Strength' becomes 'self-confidence', 'knowing your talents' and 'impact on others'. 'Endurance' in top athletics equals, in business, 'working long days at a computer screen'. 'Speed' means 'analyzing and deciding quickly'.

Ten tips

  1. Formulate new goals in the roles you play.
  2. Explore new (small) things.
  3. WIN - what's important now?
  4. Schedule a transition between phases in a day: don't take the stress of your work into your personal life and vice versa, between the two, take a break in the garden or walk around the block.
  5. Separate work and personal life: dress as if you were going to the office and change outfits when your workday is done.
  6. Challenge your "limiting” beliefs: look for alternatives when you feel blocked.
  7. Write off your fretting: do this manually. It works better than typing.
  8. Control only what can be controlled: what you cannot control, accept or walk away from. Failure to do so will only result in negative energy.
  9. Take care of yourself: your physical and mental hygiene need not be perfect, but take small steps toward improvement if necessary.
  10. Manage the information you receive through many channels: restrain the amount of news you let in about Covid-19.