Adjusting to Life at HOME – Finding Balance in this New World
Although we are all in completely different situations, with varying degrees of stress, workloads and priorities, we can likely all attest that these new and uncertain times are finding us at home more often, if not all the time. In some cases, we may have more time on our hands with less social events in the calendar, potentially reduced hours at work or in some very unfortunate situations, no work at all. In other cases, we may feel completely frazzled with not enough hours in the day to fit in a full-time job with the needs of your ever-present children. If you have kids, school is now taking place in the home and there are no longer any after school activities for you or your children. Regardless of your situation, our individual experiences have been turned upside down. Now that we are a few weeks in, we have a bit more perspective on what this means to us and perhaps we are starting to accept our new reality and are finding ways to get back on track. I am far from an expert in this regard, as knee-deep in the turmoil as the rest of you, but I am hoping by sharing what is working for me, maybe some of you will share your thoughts as well and we can all come out of this in a better place. Here are my top ideas for finding some assemblance of balance in this new world.
Be easy on yourself
When we were first thrust into this 24/7 stay at home situation, I was busy trying to keep all balls in the air – creating schedules for my kids, maintaining our house and a full-time work schedule. What I eventually realized was that something had to give. I could not be all things to all people. I needed to take more breaks in my day to be present for my kids. I am grateful for a workplace that recognizes this crazy juggling act we are all in and gives me the grace I need to work out a balancing act that works within our home.
Create a schedule that works for you in your current situation
It may be impossible to maintain the schedule you had prior to being at home, so create a new schedule that makes sense for the demands of your current situation. As part of this schedule, make sure to get to bed and get up in the morning at consistent times, ensuring you are getting enough sleep. Maintain the regular habits you had before your world was turned upside down, ideally ensuring that this includes consistent sleep and exercise. For me, prior to our current situation, it was setting my alarm for 5:30 am and working out before my workday started. I am not doing this consistently in our new world but I can tell you that my best days are the ones where I make sure this happens. I have found that adjustments to my schedule to suit the new world are ok and necessary, as long as I still keep a schedule that makes sense and fits the needs of my family and I.
Keep weekends as weekends
With many of us working from home, it is easy to make our workdays longer or to log in on the weekends. But now more than ever, our time off is so important for our mental health – to recharge and re-energize. It is also more challenging to define weekends as weekends when we are in the same place all the time. However, there are so many ways we can still work towards making the weekends feel different. One way is to create new activities that help to make your time feel different than your weekdays. Maybe you connect with your family for a Zoom games night or you take an extra long walk that you simply would not have time for during the week. If your passion is baking, get the family involved and fill your freezer with all sorts of goodies. We recently discovered an old portable ping pong net that we have now attached to our kitchen table and we are enjoying lengthy ping pong tournaments on weekends. Find your JOY and fill your weekends with it.
Get ACTIVE/Stay ACTIVE
For your physical and mental health, make sure to fit activity into your every day. Make sure to involve the family in this activity so everyone is getting moving. For my family, I carve out a combination of my own personal fitness every day as well as movement time with my family. With the family, we make sure to join the BOKS Facebook Live workouts every weekday at 12 pm EST. I also have committed to running with my daughter three times per week because that is something we both love. My son has us heading outdoors for games of soccer/football or basketball. As a family we go for daily walks. Getting outdoors while we can is so important and is one of the things I commit to every single day. Find what works for you and those in your household and make sure to fit it into your daily calendar!
It is more important than ever to reach out to those in our circle. We are lucky to live in a time that makes this possible. What I am realizing is how the lack of socialization is impacting my children and how much they are missing the socialization that the school environment provides. We are making sure that we all get daily Facetime calls or Zoom chats with family and friends. This allows us to feel connected and also to know that we are not alone in any of the struggles we may be experiencing. Another way to stay connected is to mail cards or letter (snail mail) to people weekly or even have a thoughtful surprise delivered (groceries, a meal, flowers, art supplies, etc.). This will undoubtedly bring joy to the recipient and it also brings me joy to know I am making someone else smile.
We all know that “comparison is the thief of joy” but with the prevalence and importance of social media while we are in our at home environments, it is so easy to start to fall into that trap. The important thing for us all to remember is that we are all walking our own journey and we are all having good days and bad days. I encourage you to stay on your own path and find the joy in your own day. My daughter recently created the “Happiness BOKS” for our family and every day we are encouraged to add things to the box that made us happy that day, brought us joy or things we are grateful for. We read out the ideas during our family dinners and it makes us all realize that no matter how difficult our day may have been, we still have so many things to be grateful for. I encourage you to create your own “Happiness BOKS”.
I hope some of these ideas resonate with you.
Stay safe, stay at home and I hope you are able to find some sense of balance in this new world.