Love it or hate it, you may now be a part of the remote workforce – and we have some suggestions to make life easier during this uncertain time.
Acknowledge Your Feelings
Everyone responds differently to new situations and that’s okay. Whether you’re excited, frustrated, angry or anxious about the changes in your routine, give yourself some time to tap into those feelings.
Although many of us have heard of the fight or flight response, a more accurate triad of actions is a fight, flight or freeze. In the midst of this pandemic, people are dealing with changes in their work environment, worries about health issues, concerns about their children’s education and so much more. This can cause a feeling of helplessness and paralyze us.
Take the time to grieve about what you’ve lost without feeling guilty about it, but give yourself a gentle time limit so that you don’t end up wallowing in frustration and sadness. And keep in mind that this isn’t necessarily a one-time “acceptance” of the situation.
You may need to put 15 minutes of “focus on my feelings” on your calendar for each day so you can address them and move forward. Knowing that you have a time set aside for your angst can reduce the impact it has on you during those times when you need to be productive for work – or present for the family.
Learn the Art of a Semi-Routine
In the early days of school being canceled and parents shifting their work to a laptop, people were sharing color-coded schedules for their families, planning for at-home learning and setting up efficient, cozy work areas. The world was ready to conquer social distancing!!!
By Day 2, the schedule was trashed, at-home learning turned into sibling warfare and your work area became the family’s main (and messy) gathering place. Your vision of harmony at home soon became a reality of chaos.
Well, maybe not full-on chaos, but social distancing started to feel like family crowding. We get it, you love your family and you’re thankful for your home … but this just isn’t what you expected. That’s where the art of a semi-routine comes into play.
Odds are, unless you’re the most disciplined family with perfectly well-behaved children and pets, your actual day-to-day schedule will be a little bit wonky. And that’s okay. Social media makes everyone else’s social distancing look like a dream come true.
It’s important to remind yourself that Instagram and Facebook only show a selective snapshot of what’s actually happening in other homes – there’s a whole bunch of hidden, real-life craziness they’re not sharing.
Be a Solo Socializer
Whether you live by yourself or have a home filled with people, put some fun things on your calendar. You can always live stream these activities with friends or relatives to help you feel a little more connected:
- Have an online dinner party where everyone eats whatever they happen to have in their house; it just might be the strangest meal of Oreos, canned soup and bananas
- Declare every Friday a theme day like pirates and princesses (dress up and take on a new persona) or beach day (wear shorts and have a picnic) – don’t forget the sunscreen
- Gather everyone together (on the couch or online) to enjoy Disney World and Disneyland virtual rides; make it super-realistic by standing in line in your living room for two hours before hitting play on YouTube
- Go to the Art Institute of Chicago with more than 44,000 online high-resolution pieces of art; you won’t even have to tell your kids (or spouse) to “stop touching that” a million times
- Visit Yellowstone National Park with a one-hour tour; please don’t feed the animals
- Watch a movie with your neighbors; project a family-friendly show onto your garage or a large screen and encourage everyone to sit six feet apart
- Go to a live online concert – and just like a real concert, you won’t be able to get within six feet of your idol
- Level up your work-at-home skills – here’s a list for parents and a more general collection of tips
- Top names in education are offering free online learning; this article offers suggestions for helping students make the transition to this new approach to education
- Want more ideas for your family? Check these out
Bottom line? No one knows how long this is going to last, but one thing is certain. We can get through it, day-by-day, moment-by-moment. During this unique time in history, let’s support each other – in our homes and in our virtual circles of influence!