Wednesday 3th March
We are all used to undertaking several roles and trying to manage pressures of these in our lives, however COVID-19 has significantly changed the way in which we live and how we are expected to achieve these roles. Many are now trying to juggle professional responsibilities on top of being a parent to children, home schooling, looking after the home and supporting and/or caring for vulnerable relatives.
This is important not just for you but for those that you have a responsibility to. It helps to reduce your stress levels as you and others around you know what to expect. Communicating a predictable day makes us feel safer and helps block out time for you to get your work done. Try and find time to connect each morning before you start work and have set times that you will be available throughout the day for your children/relatives.
If your relatives that you support live elsewhere then set up regular times for telephone or video calls to stay in touch. If you take food etc to relatives during the pandemic, then set up regular days and times for this. Ensure you have boundaries in place for getting your work done unless there is an emergency you need to attend, or your children are too young to be left for set times.
Being at home you may find you are even more inclined to work through your lunch or to work extended hours to make up for lost time but try as much as you can take the breaks and keep to your agreed hours. This helps productivity but also helps you manage your stress levels.
This is something many will avoid out of fear of feeling overwhelmed about the workload but writing things down is a good way to offload the long list going through your head. After writing your list, it is important to then prioritise. It cannot all be done in one day nor is it healthy for you to put unrealistic pressure on yourself, this could result in feeling that you aren’t doing good enough. Instead, prioritise what needs to be done today and spread the rest out. Getting started is better than not starting at all. It is important to reward yourself when you get something done and can tick it off the list. It gives you a real boost and pushes you to keep going.
Speak to your manager and your colleagues about your circumstances. It is much more comfortable to discuss home-schooling than it is to talk about supporting elderly or unwell relatives. This type of care is also highly unpredictable and can therefore be highly disruptive of your workday. Talk to your work about what is happening in your personal life and take up any support offered. If you need to go offline, miss a call, or step away from a meeting, do it. Then make sure to follow up on what you missed and communicate any updates on your work as soon as you can.
It is something we often take for granted, time is so precious, even more so now with extra responsibilities to undertake at home, but self-care is important and necessary to be able to keep going. Examples include having some time out alone, going for a walk, exercising, doing something you enjoy, having a bath, reading a book and having a call with friends.
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