As we confront the daily changes taking place amidst the COVID-19 virus, many of us are understandably being asked to work from home. Because of this, the boundaries between our work lives and our home/family lives are becoming very blurred.
I have often written about the importance of maintaining and separating these boundaries in order to mitigate against overwhelming stress and burnout and yet here we are, blurring those boundaries as we are being asked to stay home AND to work from home.
This is a big adjustment and there is no perfect approach.
Be patient, compassionate and flexible with yourself. Your health and well-being will thank you for it.
What you can do is try different things, see what works and what doesn’t.
- as best you can, set up a separate space in your house for your work
- work in concentrated periods of 1 – 2 hours with short breaks to listen to music, stretch, dance, eat a healthy snack, stand outside for some fresh air.
- stay in touch with colleagues virtually; set up virtual lunch dates to give and receive support, share stories, have some fun and laughter
- try to keep your work hours restricted to the daytime unless you are used to shift work and working at irregular hours.
- create a schedule each day and one that includes: when you will work, when you will spend time with family, when you will reach out virtually to family and friends, when you will take time to relax and have some fun, when you will do household chores, and so on. If you create these schedules daily you can adapt them based on what has worked and what hasn’t; you can incorporate new ideas and creative strategies based on your experiences and what is best for you and your household.
- Discover inventive ways to get some daily movement and to separate yourself emotionally and physically from your work: dancing, yoga with family members, a daily walk if you can, running around the backyard with your dog, playing music while you do housework or while you are making a meal.
- And as my grandmother used to say, remember to have a good hearty laugh each day! We will get through this.
Working from home and being asked to stay home is a big adjustment.
Many coaches, counselors, therapists, educators are now working virtually.
Reach out for support and guidance if you are:
- having difficulty adjusting to working at home
- feeling isolated from colleagues and the routine of the workday
- having trouble focusing on your work
- needing assistance in how best to structure your day
- would like some guidance to manage the natural stress of juggling work and family life from home
Britt-Mari Sykes PhD - Integrative Career Counseling