Ascend Café Recap

"Pause and Reset”: Insights to Cope with Career Anxiety

By Amrit Arneja

Career management may be the last thing you want to focus on during a pandemic, but there are a few strategies that may help you ease anxiety during unprecedented uncertainty.

“There’s always a silver lining: with every adversity, comes the potential for an undiscovered opportunity,” says Bhavna Duggal, a board member at Ascend Canada and an Associate Partner with EY in Toronto.

With days passing by in a blur, it’s important to create new routines, re-establish a resemblance of a typical day and define clear lines between work and home, she says. When you wrap up your workday, it is important to spend quality time with family or personal time to decompress.

Bhavna recently hosted a virtual Ascend Café Office Hour where she discussed ways to “pause and reset” to manage anxiety that you might be experiencing right now. Here are four insights she provided:

  • Mindful moments: Bhavna spoke of the importance of pursuing activities that help you achieve Zen: listening to music, dancing along to videos, practising yoga or carving out “me time”. To assuage the mental toll from the current environment, carving out personal time and finding your mindful moment is more compelling now than ever. 
  • New skills: Now is the time to pursue skills that will complement your existing skillsets and supplement your career advancement. Bhavna expects technology, innovation and data analysis to be pertinent going forward and deeper knowledge into these topics will not only prove to be mood-lifting but will also hold you in good stead when you return to the workplace.
  • Staying connected: Bhavna spoke with candour about virtual get-togethers with colleagues to discuss matters outside of work – from the latest in wine to practical tips for procuring online groceries. It helps find the “new normal”, stay connected with work teams and direct the mind towards calmer thoughts.
  • Community involvement: Though there are limited ways to physically help each other at this time, volunteering is still possible. Pay it forward with your time and resources to bolster community involvement, such as volunteering with Ascend. Graduating students entering the workplace, especially, should take advantage of mentorship, guidance and support opportunities through Ascend Canada’s deep networks.

Ascend Café Office Hour coffee chats are leader-hosted intimate group sessions to share ideas and perspectives. Access is free for members. Not registered for the Café? Contact us at

Amrit Arneja is a marketing professional with experience in the packaged food industry. She enjoys creating meaningful content and spends time writing for Ascend Canada.