How many mornings have you shut off your alarm and wished you could just work from home in your PJs? Well…many of us are getting our wish, thanks to COVID-19.
While in theory working from home may seem ideal, the reality for many of us is that it’s, well, kind of difficult. Particularly if you have young children home from school that you now have to teach while still maintaining your productivity at work.
The fact is, this sudden and unexpected disruption to our daily lives has many of us feeling stressed!
Here are some ways you can cope with working from home for the unforeseeable future.
1. Get Your Space Right
If you don’t have a dedicated home office, figure something out ASAP. Having a dedicated work space will help you focus on the tasks at hand. It will also automatically set boundaries with family.
Do you have a spare room you can use? Is there an area in your basement that could work? If not, clear off the dining table and set up there.
2. Keep Your Regular Schedule
You may want to treat the next 2-3 weeks as a sort of family vacation, but it’s best if you and the children stick to your regular routines. That means getting up and going to bed at the same time, showering, getting dressed and having breakfast as you normally would. Straying from routine may decrease your motivation to complete all the work that needs to get done.
3. Take Advantage of the Flexibility
While it’s important to keep to your routines, that doesn’t mean you can’t take advantage of having more time on your hands! Instead of spending an hour (or more) on a commute each day, you could use that time to catch up on home projects that have been on your to-do list for a while. You can also use the added time to reconnect with your family, or read a book – just for the fun of it!
4. Give Your Children Structure
Children need structure, so give them some each day. This could mean giving them three options of how they will spend the afternoon: playing with Legos in the living room, watching a movie or quiet reading in their bedrooms. Be sure to take a break from work every couple of hours to check in with your children…try asking them if they have any questions to get the conversation started.
5. Get Some Virtual Babysitters
On those days when you have multiple meetings and lots to get done, consider reaching out to family and friends to arrange virtual playdates with the kids. Thanks to the availability of video platforms, your virtual babysitters can read, play games and interact with your children online while you get some of your work done.
If you find you are getting “a bit squirrelly”, even after following these tips, consider reaching out to a registered mental healthcare provider who can give you some more ideas of how to manage the stress.
If you’d like to speak to a psychologist, please reach out to us. We offer secure-encrypted video sessions to residents of Alberta, so you don’t even have to leave your home.