The New Normal…For Now—The Personal Side
I tend to have a darker sense of humor at times so I have been enjoying all of the memes about COVID-19 that highlight how hard it is to work from home with children and possibly how quirky we may be years later following this pandemic. For example, have you seen the one of the grandma wiping down her grocery bags with disinfectant wipes and her granddaughter questioning her about it? Grandma’s response is simply that she “lived through COVID-19.”
All jokes aside, I know many, many people are experiencing the most challenging times in their lives right now and I want to acknowledge that. So many people are experiencing unemployment and financial strain. Others are working from home while juggling children, homeschooling and “a lot of togetherness.” So how do we navigate this new normal?
First, I recommend reading the practical blog on this piece. Second, here are some tips I have found helpful during these changing times.
1) Kids. If you don’t have kids, this one won’t apply to you. If you do have kids at home, I am right there with you. It is new territory to not only have our kids at home all day, but also be required to TEACH them! First, give yourself lots of grace. Try to set up a schedule for the week of when your kids will learn, when you will work and when everyone will have down time. I recommend setting this up each week before Monday morning. Once you find a good schedule, you won’t have to prep every single week. Also, at the end of each week, take time to assess what went well and what didn’t and then use that info to guide your upcoming week.
2) No break. Almost everyone I have talked to says they feel like they have no break now that most of life happens at home and we cannot really go anywhere. I would say, schedule a break into your day and honor it as ruthlessly as possible. For example, I get up 30 minutes before the rest of my house to read and journal. And around 5pm, I try to sit outside for 15-20 minutes before “starting the night routine.”
3) Isolation. I think it is safe to say we all feel isolated at this time. Try to schedule time to Facetime or video chat with your loved ones. And, spend quality, focused time with those at home—play a board game, make a meal together, etc. And, be creative. A few times a week me and my neighbors all sit on our front porches (way more than 6 feet apart) and talk at the end of the day, especially on Thursdays and Fridays when we are tired from the work week and craving social connection.
4) Balance/Harmony. While I don’t think anyone truly achieves balance in life, we feel better emotionally and physically when we get close to experiencing it. So, keep pursuing it, even now. Try to look at your daily and weekly schedule and ensure that there is a healthy mix of work, play, downtime and time connecting with others.
If you are struggling during this season, you are not alone. We are all in this pandemic together learning how to care for ourselves in new ways. Your mental health is essential. Please contact Life Enhancement Counseling Services today at 407-443-8862 to speak with a knowledgeable mental health therapist and start your path to peace and hope.