Covid-19 pandemic is creating a whole new world for us, starting with most of us being in the same place with the same people 24/7.
Just that change alone can strain even the best of relationships.
Right now most of us could be in a good place, but with no foreseeable end in sight, that situation could become less true in the coming weeks. Words like, “OMG, stop making that noise I’m trying to get something done!” could become more and more common.
One of the more practical things to consider during this time is the importance of structure. Knowing that certain things will happen at certain times is critical. For those with children at home or being a student yourself or working at home, setting a new schedule that can mimic your regular days, with some accommodations to being at home, can be critical to maintaining a sense of order.
For example, try to keep bedtimes and mealtimes the same, try scheduling 45 minutes to 2 hour blocks at a time for school and work rather than the expectation these activities take all day. Make sure to remember to schedule breaks of movement and having some fun in between the school and work. I know it seems crazy to think you need to schedule fun, but ironically it can go by the wayside if the focus has changed on new requirements for school and work.
Alone time is also something that should be structured in your schedule, although living in a house full of people may require some creative thinking. Consider taking turns in watching the kids, helping with schoolwork, and even making the meals and doing chores. If you are a single parent or parents who are still working essential jobs, then it’s especially important to keep a structure of kids’ bedtimes for you to still have some down time. Alone time is not a luxury in times like this, it is a necessity. It’s a time to check in and take care of yourself. Remember the analogy of the airplane oxygen masks, place your mask on first, then reach to the others around you to help place their masks on. There are practical implications of taking care of yourself first, don’t think of it as selfish.
Another area to practically consider is how much social media and watching news time that you need.
For introverts, more social media, facetime and phone calls may be needed to counteract the natural interactions you used to have daily. For those still constantly working online, with phone calls and news interactions, you may need to consider limiting those social media aspects since your online presence has suddenly increased with your job change. As always, watching the news can create a heightened sense of anxiety and uncertainty, and rationing the time you watch news may be the most immediate thing you can do to decrease these symptoms.
The final thing to keep in mind with structure is that sometimes structure needs to change. What you thought might work one week, after trying it, may need to be tweaked the following week. There is no perfect schedule even in good times! Flexibility within structure will become your friend and avoid many potential conflicts. Balance is the goal here. Time for you, time for your kids, time for your partner, time for work and school…things we used to take for granted because it was scheduled for us. Now you get to choose how to interact with them.
I am wishing peace and wellness to all, and if you find yourself in a place where you need to reach out to someone, please do not hesitate to contact me.