Finding a new ‘normal’
What a very surreal few days/weeks it’s been! Adapting to a new normal, with restricted movements and trying to ensure that we and our loved ones, and wider community, stay safe and well.
We’re all learning quickly, finding what works for us, and how to stay sane and look after our wellbeing during this worrying and difficult time.
After a week of us all being at home together, I feel like we’re getting a handle on it (most of the time!) and these are some things I’ve learnt so far (it’s been a rollercoaster!):
- Everybody’s ‘normal’ will be different. It took us a few days to suss out what we all need from our day to make it work so everyone’s kept reasonably happy (two of us working from home with two young daughters about – had to lower my expectations, too!), and that will look different for all of us depending on our circumstances. Think about the key things you need in your day to make it positive and productive, both for your working life and home life (food/fresh air/to-do lists/chatting with friends, family and colleagues/wine etc!). Accept that there will be good days and bad days through this!
- If you’re working from home, make sure you get your set-up as right for you as you can, and ideally somewhere you can walk away from/close the door on! I’m used to working from home, but I’ve invested in some new equipment to make it much more comfortable and a nicer experience. Remember to switch off from work – our working and home lives are now very intertwined, but we need down time now as much as ever. It’s easy to keep nipping back to the laptop (guilty!) so set boundaries and stick to them.
- Take regular breaks and stay connected – at work you’d have a chat with colleagues that would naturally break up your day and you’d take a lunch break, or you’d see your friends at the school gate, meet up for dinner or head to the pub for drinks. So make sure you add breaks into your day to take a breather, move around if you’ve been sat at a desk, and arrange those virtual catch-ups with friends and family.
- Do something for you! For me it’s going for a run or taking my daughters and dog out for a walk/run and I strongly believe that for as long as we’re allowed, this is one of the best things we can do for our mental and physical wellbeing – I will certainly be a better Mum/person for it and better able to deal with this bizarre situation. Social distancing rules applied at all times, obviously!
- Home learning with the kids – we’re not a school! I’ve very quickly realised I have to take the pressure off. Both of us trying to work and keep two daughters happy is way more challenging than I’d expected! So we’ve now got a daily schedule for the whole family, factoring in any work calls/commitments, and then we split our day up to take it in shifts with our daughters (traditional working hours have gone out of the window!) that is a mixture of ‘learning’ activities and play time, and making sure we can still do our jobs as best we can. The kids need structure, as do we, and this has helped massively. But our schedule is simple and flexible. We’re not a school (although my husband is a teacher – but as someone pointed out the other day, that’s not the relationship they have, he’s their Dad!) and this is our home, so we have to find a happy medium that suits us all.
- Focus on the positives! A slower pace of life, no commute, more time at home, saving money – at the most unsettling of times, we’ve been given the opportunity to slow down and to focus on the important stuff. There’s so many amazing acts of kindness and people really pulling together as a community – it’s heart-warming!
Have you got any other tips to share to help others through this challenging time?