Ways to Help Minimize Stresses and Balance Work-Life During the Pandemic
Did you know that 70 percent of America’s workers feel that this time, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has created the most stress that they have ever felt? They feel it its more stressful than experiencing 9-11 or the recession of 2008. On top of parental work, students being at home in distance-learning mode has added to the responsibilities and stresses all families feel.
Did you know that 70 percent of America’s workers feel that this time, during the COVID-19 pandemic, has created the most stress that they have ever felt? They feel it its more stressful than experiencing 9-11 or the recession of 2008. On top of parental work, students being at home in distance-learning mode has added to the responsibilities and stresses all families feel. There are ways to help minimize these stresses and balance work-life and remote learning. Setting up different areas, if possible, in your home, for your own work and that of your students, will help. I realize many of our homes are small and having separate rooms might not work or that having extra children at home may make separate rooms impossible. Choose areas that you can work in, perhaps a bedroom, a corner of a room or the kitchen table. Having a portable case to move your things quickly or hanging sheets behind children doing schoolwork to block out backgrounds may all be necessary adjustments to your home.
Plan a predictable schedule that helps everyone to stay on track. Give yourself and children short breaks throughout the day. Look away from your computer to the other side of the room every 20 minutes for 5 minutes. Don’t forget about meals. Instead of snacking, plan meals that will provide protein and lots of veggies. Children can help prepare these meals or take advantage of the meals being offered at each school daily from noon to 2:00 pm. They include breakfast for the following day, veggies and fruits, as well as milk.
Your routine isn’t all about work; rather, it should include start and stop times, exercise and self-care. Prioritize what you plan to achieve each day and if you don’t meet those expectations, don’t beat yourself up. As Stephen Covey said, “The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule but to schedule your priorities.” Start making small, deliberate changes that allow you to uphold your priorities and complete them effectively. With self-care and student work as priorities, break down the day into smaller segments and pat yourself and your child on the shoulder for a job well done.
Mind and body go hand-in-hand. As adults, we want to ensure everything in our home is perfect but we often forget about our own needs. Remember, the mental health of parents and caregivers must be taken seriously. Carve out time for yourself. Going on short walks, practicing yoga, meditation, reading, affirmations, a quiet cup of tea on the front porch or a few minutes before everyone gets up in the morning will go miles to provide the time you need for self-care.
Lastly, we are so highly connected, 24/7 on our devices. Plan a time or routine when you start work and say goodbye at the end of the day. Pack up your work so you aren’t tempted to go back to it at night, if possible. I realize we are doing many more hours than we did previously, so this may be a challenge but aim to have an ending time. Communicate needs to the others who live with you and ask for their help. We are all in this pandemic together but in our own ways. Take care of yourself and your family and we will all get through this.
Anne E. Mead, Ed. D., is the administrator for the Early Childhood Education and Extended Learning Programs of the Danbury Public Schools. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact her at 203-830-6508 or firstname.lastname@example.org.