Several of us have been quarantined for more than a month now. Work-life balance has never been more difficult for parents who are now juggling their work responsibilities while caring for their children who are home from school. The pressures and challenges of working outside the office are difficult as it is, but many parents are trying to balance their Zoom meetings and emails while making peanut butter sandwiches and changing diapers.
With no specific end date to quarantine in sight, life at home is a new normal that most individuals need to adjust to. Here are six ways that you can establish some sense of control and order in your new at-home quarantine life.
Be Strict About Bedtime
One of the best ways to have a good day is to start it by waking up feeling rested and refreshed. It’s tempting with all this extra time on our hands to stay up late and binge watch our new favorite shows, but getting to bed late sets us up for a grumpy and sluggish tomorrow. So be strict about bedtime, for both your children and yourself.
Wake Up Before the Kids
Being able to stick to your normal 9–5 routine will be much more difficult while working from home. So try to be a little more flexible with your work hours. Starting your work day an hour or two before your kids wake up can help you get a good jumpstart on your responsibilities. Try to get your most important work done during these solitary hours when interruptions are little to none. You can also work an hour or two after the kids are asleep for the night. As you are more flexible with your work hours, be aware that you are not working more hours than you did when you were in the office. The last thing you need is to overwork yourself.
Establish Your Workspace (And Keep it Clean)
Now that you’ll be working from home more consistently, be sure to assign a specific place in your home that is dedicated to your work. If you already have a home office, this will be easier for you. But if you don’t already have an office space in your home, try to pick a secluded area that is away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Once you’ve established your work space, be sure to keep it clean. Whether that means wiping your desk each morning or putting all your supplies in a box at the end of your work day so your family can use the kitchen table again, it’s important that you keep your workspace clean and free of clutter.
Pay Attention to Your Kids Before You Work
This piece of advice comes from Dr. Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages of Children. If you can spend time with your kids filling up their ‘love tank’ before you start your work, they are more likely to let you work in peace. Going for a walk together, playing tag, helping them fix something, giving lots of hugs and kisses, or whatever communicates love to your child best will help them to feel loved before you have to focus on your work.
Match Your Child’s New Routine With Yours
If you have school age children, have them do their school work the same time that you need to get your own work done. If you have younger children, they can also do “work” the same time that you do. They can color at your desk as you work on your laptop, do a puzzle while you answer emails, or play with Play-doh while you’re on a Zoom call. If your kids need breaks, try to take breaks with them. Stepping away from your work for a quick walk or playing catch for fifteen minutes will help you recharge and help your kids get some energy out.
Have Nightly Check-Ins
There is so much happening right now and so many changes during this pandemic that everyone is experiencing some type of stress or anxiety. Each night, check in with your partner, your children, and especially yourself to see how everyone is doing. Be sure to share with your loved ones that it is okay to feel this way and remind yourself that it’s okay for you to feel this way as well. Practicing daily meditation or writing in a gratitude journal every day can help to relieve some of this stress in a constructive way.
As we strive to create a new normal in our work and home life, we can find some peace as we stick to a strict bedtime, work while our kids are sleeping, keep our workspace clean, pay attention to our children, establish new routines for our family, and check on everyone’s feelings. These steps will help us to find some calm during these stressful times.
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Author: Brindisi Olsen Bravo