You may be stuck in your apartment or house.
You may be surrounded by too many people, children, spouses, even pets that sometimes are too much.
You may have much more work than normal, with too many people to take care of, too many meals to cook, and cleaning after everyone.
You may feel stressed because everyone wants your attention, all the time.
You may need some time alone and do not dare to say it.
You are not in your usual routine and cannot get anything done!
Have you asked yourself, which is your main challenge in all of this?
Dealing with the daily practical aspects of the lockdown is not an easy thing to do. Especially, if you are supposed to be looking for a job and taking care of your own career. Now at first it sounded like a good idea, your partner is at home and can help with the household and some of the children’s homework (he always claims being the one that is good at math, after all!).
After a few days, however, many of us live through the first realities of being in the same place all the time. Every minute and every room are filled with people and tasks. We all ask ourselves; how can I deal with it. We have no practice, experience and everyone reacts differently to it.
You may be someone who thrives when you can exchange and bounce ideas off others. Extroverts tend to think out loud and find ideas and solutions when they have someone to speak to. You may feel isolated and trapped with too many ideas and energy to waste. Ideally, you have a good network with like-minded others that is easily transferred to an online community. All your connections are here for you at a fingertip, ready to exchange emotions and thoughts; tools such as WhatsApp and Slack are your life savers, and you are bound to be attached to a screen at all times. If you are anything like me, you may also ramp up on creative outlets, and stash up your watercolor box or buy a new pen for the novel you always wanted to write!
Those among us who prefer thinking in peace and quiet will feel that their private space is invaded by other members of the household. It can be crucial for you to find your own corner where you enjoy your precious me-time. You will be more efficient and focused on the tasks ahead when you are centered with yourself. Load up your favorite music, put your shoes on and volunteer to walk the dog. And why not use it as a mindful walking meditation exercise.
Some tips that are useful to organize your home:
*listen to everyone’s needs and set routines that help everyone to adjust in their own time
*prepare meal lists and meals ahead of time; there are more people at home so you may need to prepare more food which takes you out of your routine
*divide chores and house-work duties; there are more people, more mess, more everything
*generate fun areas and work areas in your house so that things can be separated and routines are kept. Also keep fun time and work time slots
*be sure that to make room for some alone time and keep to it. Even if you are an extreme extrovert it can be too crowded in your house at the moment, it will help to keep your mental sanity
*exercise and move within the house, your garden, or staircase; you may not be moving as much as usual. Trust me, there are plenty of fun online tools to help you keep up a certain shape
*do not overload on negative news, keep a certain mental hygiene and remain reasonable, e.g. stop watching the news before going to bed, it may be interfering with a healthy amount of sleep that you need right now
Some tips for those who work at home:
*have some ground rules and communicate it to everyone; you need some time to get something done and are unavailable for two hours? Close the door, and let them know that you are busy and they are welcome with questions after you are done (same for pets, do not let even the cutest puppy distract you)
*dress to impress, even if its for a phone call to your colleagues
*keep a dedicated work-space, you will not have to search for pens, notebook, phone charger, etc. if it is kept in one place. If you are using the kitchen table, clean it completely after you are done. This avoids mixing up work and fun slots
*make yourself a realistic to do list, and keep in mind that you will be more interrupted or distracted than usually
*view everyone in the house are coworkers; its more fun to think of them as your working buddies during work hours. E.g. be a family at lunch, then go back to work. If you miss your work colleagues, propose an occasional online coffee break
*when you concentrate, turn off notifications from your devices, maybe use a pomodoro app that mutes them, keep short but efficient work sprints between 25-60 min
Seek out for a coach for support and to help you find your individual solutions.
Nadja Feddermann helps dual career couples to make their relocation in Switzerland a project for both. With the job4U2 programs, she is supporting the accompanying partners’ professional integration by sharing her knowledge of the Swiss economic network, of the recruiters’ expectations and custom, but also by deploying her ability to nurture individuals’ motivation and positive energy during this period of major changes.