By Nelly Karrar – Psychotherapist, The Wellness Hub
Think work-family balance. This is a new routine for everyone, so remember that with every change, we need to set new boundaries. It is important to keep communicating, especially in this stressful time.
Communication. It is always the most important thing.
Designate a place at home for work that has minimal distractions. It is important to you and your family to understand that this is your “office” and there are boundaries around it.
No matter how tired, bored, or de-motivated you are, avoid working in your pajamas all day. You need to signal to your mind that you are not in “sleep /rest mode”.
Keep a Routine. Try to keep as much detail from your previous routine as possible. Include lunch breaks, cigarette breaks, get some sun (balcony- little walk – open the window), finish at a certain time.
If you have kids, come up with a way together to let them know that you are busy. Maybe let them draw a DO NOT DISTURB sign and put it by your “desk/office.”
Be proactive at home. Prepare a pre-set plan with details and guidelines to be used for the most common issues/questions that come up when you are busy at work so that other members can follow it and handle issues on their own without distracting you. It also helps kids become more independent and empowered.
Set quality time with the family and/or with your partner. It is true you might be spending the whole day in the house together but this does not mean you’re sharing any quality time. Agree on a time to have dinner together without distractions, plan for an activity for the whole family like playing cards, board games, or anything else of interest.
Remember you are all going through a challenging time with new norms and uncertainties, everyone is coping differently. It might not be how you respond to crisis but it does not mean they are not feeling the threat, it is just a different way of reacting to stress and insecurity. Let the other person be, understanding and accepting that different doesn’t mean wrong.
Ask your partner how they feel. What is their experience of what is going on? What is challenging? What is working out for them? Do not avoid feelings. It is the time to acknowledge your emotions and process the one common thing that we are all going through. It might feel difficult at the beginning but it is definitely worth it. Remember, everything comes with practice.
Positive humor is proven to decrease stress. Don’t forget to laugh about things, make a joke, or watch something funny. We can easily get dragged into a spiral of negative thoughts and feelings that we forget the little things that make a difference.
Write down the list of your issues at home and decide on your priorities. Which of those issues can you disregard and which are crucial? What are the possible solutions? Communicate and assign roles to other family members, it will create a sense of responsibility and togetherness.
This is a very triggering and stressful time, do not rely on smoking, drinking and/or drugs to deal with your emotions because it adds to the feeling of anxiety and does not fix the problem.