We are all feeling the wear and tear of almost two months of self-isolation and our new Coivd-19 reality. Although we understand there is value in our family time and important lessons to learn – we are all still feeling an exhaustion and a wish for things to be back to normal. Things will never be normal in the way they were before – but as humans we will find ways to adapt and bounce back from this challenge.
Here are some tips on how to mange your relationship, your work and your family in this new Covid-19 reality.
- Keep checking in with each other. Ask questions, listen and do your best to be empathic and understand what is going on for others. Ask your partner how they are doing. Ask your children how they are doing. Ask you co-workers and friend how they are doing. Let them ask you questions and check in with you. We will all share as much or as little as we are comfortable with.
- Keep it real. We will have good days and bad days. In fact, we might even have good hours and bad hours within a day. We will swing back and forth between gratitude and frustration. These are trying times and we have been in it for awhile now. When talking with others be real- but keep everyone’s developmental age and stage in mind when sharing the realities.
- Do not beat yourself up – you cannot be everything to everyone all the time! If your day feels like a fail, just recognize that it was one of “those” days. You cannot be a top producer at work, fitness guru, gourmet chef and super schoolteacher all day everyday. You are human – and that is what we like about you!
- Expect frustrations and irritability. No matter how much we love each other we will get annoyed with one another. Our irritability will spill over on those around us. It can be hard to have this much togetherness, and our own fears and overwhelm will surface from time to time and it is hard to be your best self all of the time.
- Admit your own bad moods. Let go of your ego and do not waste time on defensiveness. If you have been irritable or unpleasant admit it – do not waste time on justifying your actions or blaming others. Try to get over yourself as quickly as possible and say sorry – and mean it.
- Be forgiving and kind. Forgive yourself your own frustrations and forgive others theirs. Be kind to each other. When we work though something, we build more intimacy and resiliency in relationships. It is ok to have human moments!
- Keep a sense of humour. It is good for us to laugh at ourselves and the absurdities in life. Laughter is essential to good mental health and an important part of resiliency. A good laugh can be our saving grace. These unusual times have led to some truly absurd situations, and certainly some good memes. Who knew toilet paper could provide us with so much laughter!
- Create a Support Group. Find like-minded people in similar situation and support each other through sharing and listening. Set up a time to connect via an electronic platform and share stories. If you are a parent bring together a group of your friends who are also parents to commiserate with and share the emotional load together. We might not be able to exchange babysitting favours right now – but we can take care of each other by creating a sense of belonging with each other and normalizing our challenges.
- Designate a work area/school area that you can all take breaks from. Establish boundaries between work, school and home. Try to have a separate space that you can get up and walk away so you can take a break – you will go back more refreshed and more efficient.
- Have routine. Humans need structure and our brains like patterns. We want to make sure we are giving our brains predictable routines and patters to thrive within. Set a time for school, a time for work, a time for lunch and a time for “recess” for everyone. Remember children need routine for their development – and so do we.
- Expect Disruptions. Do not worry if you children disrupt your work world – everyone is going through this right now – we can all relate. The disruptions become part of the absurdities that lead to some good stories and laughs.
- Take some private time. We all need time together, but we also need time alone. It is ok to have your private time – but it is also best to let other know when you just need some “me-time”. Explore some of your interests, or just chill with a good book or a show.
- Get outside. Set a time for some daily oxygen intake as well. If you have a garden or yard or balcony go out on it! If you have a window open it. Go for walks and get exercise outside if you are able. Breath and breath in deeply! Focus on your senses as your connect with the great outdoors.
- Set and review goals. Set short term goals that you can accomplish and thus experience the tangible results. Set long term goals so you also stay future focused. This reminds us that there will be a time we look back on this – and gives us a sense of movement and progress.
- Give and get a hug. If you have someone close by give them and hug and enjoy the feeling of closeness to another. If you do not have anyone close by give yourself and hug and send some virtual hugs to those you love. It is a great reminder that love triumphs over fear, and that we all benefit when love is shared freely.