Well, it’s certainly a different career landscape than we had at the beginning of the year. Your personal and professional life has been thrown into the same environment with little or no boundaries. And what does that look like?
All your routines have flown out the window. Your family is at home; school is at home, social activities, and your kid’s activities are at home. It’s FaceTime and Zoom all day long. Even if you don’t work from home, your routines have been disrupted. It can be an uncomfortable time for many of you.
How do you get back to your center when so much is feeling off?
First, you have to have an idea of what it looks like when your “work from home” career is ideal. Can you paint a mental picture of it? What happens when it is ideal? What is the best case for you? What do you see? What do you feel? Get curious and get specific! Most people know what they don’t want when unhappy, but don’t know what they do want to feel differently. Make a list of at least ten items that are ideal for you.
Once you have fully expanded that mental picture, next, consider these 3 strategies.
Create Boundaries. If you know what ideal looks like to you, then fully consider what is getting in the way? And, what boundaries do you need to put in place to make sure that doesn’t happen? Do you need to shut off the computer at a specific time and put your phone in the charger so you can be present with your family? Maybe you need to have a conversation with your spouse, roommate, or significant other about how many times they come to “visit” during the workday. (That was a tough one for me!) You might have to make a deal with your kids for segments of uninterrupted time. Choose in favor of the ideal vision when you can.
Take care of yourself. This may sound trite, but it’s not. Either you are caring for yourself by choice or by chance. Which is it? Now more than ever, you need to consider giving yourself the space and the grace to say NO. Get the rest that you need. Take the time and recruit the help that you need to prepare food that is nourishing. Get outside. Just taking a walk by yourself or getting up to have a cup of coffee outside can be a balm for the soul. Do things that bring you joy. Dance, knit, hula hoop – whatever, but get off the hamster wheel and carve out a sliver of the day for you.
Address your emotions. Especially in times like these, you can’t ignore how you are feeling. This is no ordinary normal right now, and it’s ok to feel a bit out of sorts, but it’s not ok to do nothing about it. Pushing through it, powering through it, or sucking it up is not a long-term answer. It’s a recipe for stress, overwhelm, and illness. Find your way to deal with what you are feeling, whether that’s exercising, journaling, talking it out, or some formalized release process from a counselor or coach.
Here’s what else you need to know. This is not a one and done. To truly make progress toward the calm you are seeking means that these strategies become a way of life. At times, you may fall off but they are always in your toolbox for when you need them.
Until the next time, here’s wishing you the clarity (…and the calm) you deserve!