As the coronavirus pandemic continues on with no clear end in sight, it’s harder to sustain a sense of normalcy in daily life. While the early days of the pandemic called for breaking a lot of personal care and parenting rules, now it’s time to make a shift toward more sustainable habits. It’s also likely that remote work and distance learning aren’t going away for good, even once the pandemic is over. So, you’ll need to know how to create a work-life balance for your whole family that you can feel good about. It’s definitely not the normal we’re familiar with, but there are strategies that can help you feel more stability and happiness in your life at home.
Set firm boundaries with your schedule.
For many of us, working during the pandemic means working from home. That makes it a challenge to avoid bringing your work home with you. You might also struggle during business hours to stay focused on work, especially if your kids are at home participating in distance learning. Creating clear schedules and setting boundaries is essential. A whiteboard calendar is an easy way to make a collective schedule for your household. Dedicated workspaces are also helpful. You may not have your own home office, but you can set some rules to ensure a quiet, focused work environment such as “No working from bed” or “The kitchen table is a workspace during non-mealtimes”.
If you’re finding it difficult to keep up with work or fit all your family obligations into your busy work schedule, communicate these challenges to your employer. Your boss and coworkers are likely facing similar problems, and many employers are doing what they can to assist their staff in achieving a better work-life balance.
Continue enjoying your hobbies (or find some new ones).
When was the last time you truly relaxed and let go of your stress? Keeping up with self-care is more important now than ever, but many of us are getting so bogged down with work and other stressors that hobbies and relaxation have fallen by the wayside. As you’re nailing down the boundaries you set for work and school schedules, remember to include some time for yourself. Use this time to participate in activities you enjoy—scrolling through social media on your phone doesn’t count. Rekindle your passion for old hobbies or find some new ones. Even if you’re just spending an hour a week participating in these types of activities, you’ll be doing a world of good for your mental health.
Along with hobbies, try to find some outlets that make you laugh. Watch a funny movie, read a lighthearted book, or play with your pet. With so much negative news inundating daily life, it’s essential to find opportunities to smile.
Don’t call off your social life.
Most major events and gatherings are canceled for the foreseeable future, but that doesn’t mean you can’t still connect with friends and family members outside of your household. Especially without your normal social interactions at work, it’s incredibly important to have some face time with other adults that you don’t live with. Hosting a socially distanced gathering in your backyard and using video chat software are great ways to connect with old friends or even touch base with your coworkers.
Where you may have had many social interactions built into daily life pre-pandemic, it’s now necessary to seek out these opportunities on your own. Set reminders to check in with different friends or create a standing event for a regular phone call, coffee break, or another type of social meeting that’s within your comfort zone.
Create an indoor workout routine.
Another area many of us are neglecting in the age of coronavirus is our personal fitness. Without the ability to go to the gym and the consistency of a regular work schedule, it’s harder to find the time and space to work out. Even still, you should make it a priority. Exercise might look different for you these days, especially heading into winter. Try shorter workouts that don’t need much equipment, so you can easily do them indoors at home. Performing a few basic yoga poses, for example, will help you get back into shape and connect your mental and physical wellness.
Don’t expect to shoulder stress on your own.
The pandemic has brought on a lone wolf attitude in many of us, making it hard to let go and know when you need some help. If you’re stressed and having trouble finding time for your personal life, you could benefit from seeing a therapist. This is a huge step in your self-care, as it will provide you with a safe space to identify the sources of your stress and minimize their impact on your health and wellness.
MeMD is here for you in the age of coronavirus and beyond. We provide mental health services in a convenient web-based setting, including therapy sessions and psychiatric visits. Connect with us to schedule a remote visit with a licensed mental healthcare provider at a time that works for you.