Due to the pandemic, many Americans have transitioned to working from home. For some people, this might sound like a personal goal or desire – for others, it has created a lot of stress. This transition has disrupted their daily flow and interfered with managing other facets of their life because people are working longer or more irregular hours. Still, they have to navigate raising families, remain in close quarters with their significant others, and distance themselves from social interaction. While working from home might sound like a “good gig,” working from home under the “new normal” provisions and restrictions has perpetuated stress, anxiety, frustration, and isolation. However, skills to alleviate some pressure might be as simple as getting better at time-management to help you handle the needs of yourself and your loved one’s day.
Children Doing Distance Learning
While the provisions of schooling vary from state to state – county to county, your children will likely need to participate in some distant learning activities. Making sure to meet all their basic needs (bathing and grooming, preparing breakfast and filling a water bottle, etc.) beforehand will ensure they can get the most out of their studies and that you can get the most time during the day to attend to your work and needs. First, communicate with your child or children’s teachers. Ask their teacher about their approach and voice your child’s concerns and what you might see as problematic during the distant learning process.
Keeping a physical wall calendar with cute animals or a whiteboard calendar somewhere highly visible, like the kitchen, is also a great way to manage their daily assignments. Additionally, stock up on school supplies and create a designated learning space for your children. Perhaps the living room with all the distractions and comforts is not the best area. Instead, try the kitchen table. This way, your child or children will be in a place where you can keep an eye on them. If you can manage it, separating them from your workspace and setting boundaries will reduce stress and keep your child from easily distracting you. You might further enforce this by setting a timer for how long they need to work and study before coming to you with a question. Finally, try planning your meals together as a way to bring everybody together to refresh, refocus, and reestablish the goals of the day.
Sense of Distance/Isolation From Colleagues
Getting used to the “new normal” has not been easy – especially when interacting with people face-to-face. Indeed, you might have felt the void left in your day from even the most superficial interactions with co-workers at the office to talk about things non-work related. This loss over time could cause you to feel isolated and even anxious. However, there are still ways to get your dose of small talk from your colleagues during the workday without being a big distraction. First, get creative. Create a Facebook group or a text chain with your co-workers. These platforms could be used to comment or inquire about observations made during the day – just as you would in the office – and try to keep it light and funny. You might also coordinate your shorter breaks together to chat for five or ten minutes on the phone. Remember, just because you are not in the office does not mean your co-workers disappeared. You have to think of alternative ways to keep in touch throughout the workday.
Tension With Significant Others
You have likely heard the expression that absence makes the heart grow fonder – there is truth to this. However, now you might be running into your spouse at every turn. Certainly, this can grow frustrating, on top of managing your time and your children’s needs. First, understand that it is not out of the ordinary to feel this way and that attaining peace and balance will require working together. Create a schedule during the workweek that incorporates both your needs and your children’s needs. Delegate responsibilities and stick to it – this way, you are each motivated and making the most out of your time during the workday. If you can, work in separate areas of the house to create an environment that mimics your workday pre-pandemic. Finally, make plans together; picnics on the porch or Friday movie night. Planning fun events bring a sense of normalcy into your day. Also, incorporate friends and family via video chat to watch along or join you in your picnic.
It is hard to find balance when you are ultimately managing your own time. As a result, you might neglect certain areas of the day to focus on your needs and health. It is crucial to create a schedule and set boundaries – especially if you find yourself working too much or watching too much television. A good schedule incorporates all facets of your day on a long-term scope: Sleep patterns, mealtimes, work, and leisure times. A daily schedule should also include time set aside to focus on your mental health, such as meditation and mindfulness. Remember to set reasonable expectations, stick to your boundaries, and connect or reach out to others frequently – these will all help you not become burned out.
Limited Access to Hobbies Away From Home
You might be becoming stressed or depressed because you cannot participate in activities away from home – or have limited access to them. This is another area where some creativity could go a long way. If you are someone who likes to dine out – transform your outdoor space to meet your needs. If you prefer a cafe setting, you can recreate these atmospheres at a relatively low cost. Hang lights, use different dishes, play music, and establish an environment that meets your needs – you could also invite friends to virtually hang out.
If you prefer being active outdoors, try to take up gardening. You do not need acres for gardening; a porch, patio, or window will do. This will bring you in touch with nature and even result in growing great foods. Finally, if that is not enough, you can continue to bike or run outdoors – if your living situation does not permit it, i.e., you live in a crowded city – invest in an exercise bike. They are relatively cheap, and you can use them indoors or out on a patio. You can further stimulate your outdoor needs by playing a scenic trail bike ride or run on your TV while you exercise.
These times are turbulent and trying – but they also present the opportunity to take up new ventures and strengthen the bonds and resiliency you have with yourself and your loved ones. Never feel limited because there are many opportunities – despite the restrictions. Also, understand that you are not alone – the world is navigating this, too. If you feel too stressed or exhibiting negative thoughts and behavior such as drinking or using drugs to cope or isolating yourself, it is time to get help. At True Recovery, we have been an anchor for those struggling throughout the pandemic. With refined telehealth services, we are always available to bring you the care that you need. To learn more, call us today at (866) 399-6528.