We are living through unprecedented times. And as with all unprecedented events, we must adapt. In these times that means living an increasingly home-bound life. What would have been a fun thing a year ago – staying home all day, every day – has turned into an incredibly stressful experience for much of us. That goes double for those of us caring for young children or elder parents.
Clearly delineate between work time and non-work time. – Before Covid-19 this was easy. Work time was spent at work, home time was spent at home. Now with so many of us working and schooling from home, it becomes easy for the two sides of your life to blend together. But experts say that’s a bad idea, on multiple fronts. If it is at all possible, set a ‘work day’ during which kids and elders know not to bother you unless it’s vitally important. In the same vein, don’t keep working during ‘home’ time either.
Spread the jobs out. – The above is important, but it’s much harder to do with young children or seniors with some level of dementia. At some point the adults and older children in the home will have to begin taking turns caring for their less capable family members so everyone else can get their required work done. It may not be pleasant, but it’s necessary. Make sure everyone keeps a common calendar of required tasks or jobs, so other family members can schedule around those times, ensuring there’s always someone available to help out with the home.
Schedule fun times, too – Make the best of a bad situation and get everyone together for some fun and enjoyment. Movie night, game night, themed meals, even group gardening. Something to get everyone in the home – from toddlers to seniors – together and relaxing.
It’s OK to Not Be OK – We are going through some of the most stressful times our world has ever seen. That is a massive emotional weight to shoulder, and even the best of us are going to have bad days. That is not only normal but healthy and necessary. Make sure you get some alone time. If you can schedule a session with a therapist remotely, do so. Mental and emotional health is especially important to focus on now, and there is no shame in taking the time needed for it.
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