PCM PCM analysis

How to “charge your batteries” during the lockdown? The PCM perspective (1/3).

Coronavirus; Covid 19; Earth and Face Mask; How to charge your batteries during the pandemic. The PCM perspective.

We are now in the third Covid-19 lockdown in the UK, and the British government has extended it until 17 July 2021. We already know what this means for businesses and organisations impacted by the lockdown rules, and it’s far from easy. But I won’t talk about that. In this article I want to look at what can do to “charge our batteries”. Charged batteries allow us to continue to be functional and efficient as employees, parents, partners and humans. How can we take care our ourselves first, so that we can extend our support to others around us?

The keys to this are to be found in how we regularly meet our psychological needs. According to PCM, the most important psychological need(s) are the ones of our current Phase Personality Type. The second-in importance the ones of our Base Personality Type.

Summary of PCM Concepts

Briefly, the Perceptions of Base Personality are the main filter through which we perceive life and events in the environment (perceptual frame of reference), the “currency” that matches this, our style of communication, the most preferred communication channels, the words, tones, gestures postures and facial expression we use to communicate. The base personality also defines our strongest Character Strengths, preferred Interaction style, our Environmental Preference and also, how we react when stressed. Our Base will remain the same throughout our life.

The Phase Personality provides keys to understanding what motivates and also he we will behave when in distress; this in turn shows us what we can do to regain our composure. It informs us about the main psychological need that we experience in that phase of our life. Satisfying our psychological needs of the Phase affects our motivation on a day-to-day basis and guides us on how to motivate our self. When we know the Phase of another this informs us how they are motivated. Our Phase Personality Type can change during our lifetime. Research shows that about two thirds of the population Phase at least once in a lifetime. After we experience a Phase change the psychological needs and the distress sequence of the new Phase Personality Type become the most important.

When we have not Phased, our Base is out Phase.

Summary slides PCM Magda Tabac Phase 1024x709 - How to “charge your batteries” during the lockdown? The PCM perspective (1/3).

Different people “charge their batteries” in different ways

Our Phase Personality, determines our most important psychological needs. The next important psychological needs are those of our Base Personality. Then, the needs of any Stage Personalities we may have and finally in decreasing order of importance, the associated with our other floors. For us to be fully productive and well, our objective is to cover as many of these psychological needs as possible on a regular basis. Remember, to start with the needs of your Phase Personality, as these will have the highest impact on your productivity and well-being. Also when the Phase needs are met, we are more able to utilise our elevator.

I’ll offer some ideas of how you can do that, for each Phase Personality Type, below. Please feel free to comment to this article with other ways to “charge your batteries” that work for you. It will hopefully help other readers.

Also, you will certainly know people who have each of these psychological needs (based on their Phase Personality Type). You can certainly offer to support them by applying some of the ideas I give here. Offer them a “battery charge”, they are likely to appreciate it.

In today’s article I’ll cover two of the six Phase Personality Types. The remaining ones will come in my next articles. I hope you’ll find these ideas about “how to charge your batteries” useful and easy to apply!

Phase Personality: Harmoniser

Psychological needs: Recognition of person + Sensory

Note: given that my current Phase Personality Type is Harmoniser, many of the examples I give here are tried and tested by myself. And they work for me. Please feel free to use them as a starting point and adapt them to fit your own feelings and emotions.

How to “charge your batteries”:

  • The most important thing is to keep in touch with those you love and who love you and appreciate you for who you are. Find the time to write them messages, call them and even have video calls with them.
  • Tell your dear ones how much you love them and how important they are to you. And, to those you can (and it’s safe according to Covid guidelines), give hugs. Hugs work like a band-aid for the soul 😊. For Harmoniser Phase they cover both psychological needs (recognition of person – I wouldn’t hug a person I don’t care about; and sensory – I use the touch, smell, and even my hearing while hugging others). Plus, neuroscience shows us that hugging, even if for only 20 seconds (and this is valid for all humans, not just Harmoniser Phase individuals), leads to release of oxytocin, which is sometimes called the hormone for love, connection, trust or bonding. The same happens when we cuddle or snuggle with our pets. Oxytocin helps in creating a feeling of calmness and relaxation and it has also been found to reduce stress and pain, strengthen our immune system, make us happier and help deepen our relationships[i]. Band-aid for the soul! Told ya! 😊. No wonder my partner calls me “the hugging monster”!
  • If you live alone and you cannot hug your dear ones these days, research[ii] has shown that even weighted blankets can relieve stress because they simulate being held or hugged. The heaviness of the blanket creates pressure points that relieve anxiety and lull you into a restful sleep. Additionally, Daniel Siegel, in his book, “Mindsight” mentions that even hugging ourselves can bring some of the benefits of hugging. It can calm us and help us heal.
  • Do a Video-brunch with friends from time to time: each of you with your food and tea/coffee in front, ready for a nice chat. Yes, it won’t feel exactly the same as when you are face to face, but still, it will work. You’ll spend some good time with them, and it will help you with your energy.
  • Cook together with someone, on a video call. I do this with one of my best friends: we decide on a recipe to cook together, we both buy the ingredients during the week and we cook during the weekend while on video. Works wonders!
  • Take care of your home: invest time and maybe money to make your environment as pleasant to the senses as you can. Make it feel like a nest and this way you will charge your batteries.
  • Take care of your plants, maybe buy some new ones or maybe just a flower bouquet every now and then. Look at them and enjoy their colours.
  • Dress in clothes made out of materials and colours you like, with textures you find pleasurable too. Or if you already have a set of “feel good clothes” … use them. Fluffy onesies encouraged. The feel of the material on the skin or when you touch it, as well as the colours, can help with the sensory needs.
  • Go outside (as allowed by the regulations in place and using the mask) to a place you like – a park, a beautiful road…  so that you can really enjoy looking at the nature, the birds, the colours of the houses. Pay attention to the air, the wind, the sun or the rain, the smells. Use your senses.
  • Eat foods that you love. Make your meals a time when your senses feel happy and spoiled. However, do take care of yourself and your eating habits as when we are distressed the Sensory need of the Harmoniser Phase might lead to over-eating and gaining weight, i.e. feeding the need negatively.

Phase Personality: Thinker

Psychological needs: Recognition of Work + (Time) Structure

  • Ask for recognition of your work and competence (and even at home, for the chores you do). Tell others that this is important for you and that you would like to hear that you are appreciated for the quality of your work.
  • Tell your family about your need for time structure and ask for their support and understanding. Make them your allies.
  • Structure your weeks and your days, counting in already reasonable buffer times for foreseeable or unforeseeable interruptions (e.g. when your kids, if they are home-schooling, need help with homework or anything else). Like this, you won’t get stressed if you cannot fully respect your schedule, as you’ll have already accounted for some buffer time. Also, make sure you don’t put too many things on your agenda or get involved in too many projects. Check off those “To Do” lists the activities you have done.
  • Be honest with yourself regarding what you can and cannot do. When you do that, you’ll be more efficient and will be less likely to drain your “batteries”.
  • Identify your set of personal rituals and respect them.
  • Paint (by numbers), do jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, etc – any activity that will offer you the chance to reach objectives that are under your control.
  • Get your facts and data (regarding the pandemic, for example) from trustworthy sources. Connect the dots, see the patterns and plan various scenarios to support you in different situations.
  • Put the ideas that keep your mind busy on paper. Make lists. Thus, you will release the tension these put on your thoughts and you will be able to focus better.
  • Put on display your diplomas or awards for reaching important goals.
  • Make plans and scenarios for the things that are important to you. Do the pessimistic/realistic/optimistic scenarios and adjust them when you get new information.
  • Give yourself permission to rest and relax. Put your “off” time in your schedule and respect it. Otherwise, you might end up drained – both physically and mentally. Especially those of us who are Phase Thinker (and Phase Persister) are in higher danger of burn-out during the pandemics “work from home” reality, as they feel the need to do things perfectly and become over-controlling if they see things do not happen as planned. This often translates in delegating less and taking more and more work on their plate.
  • Plan things and experiences for when the pandemic will be over. Take into account how the “new normal” will influence our future reality.

This is it for today, I hope you found this article useful. Please feel free to add your examples of how you charge your batteries in these times.

You can find the next article in this series HERE.

Take care,


[i] https://www.dignityhealth.org/articles/4-facts-about-hugs-why-you-should-embrace-the-embrace

[ii] https://www.jscimedcentral.com/SleepMedicine/sleepmedicine-2-1022.pdf

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