A Guide to Maintaining Work/Life Well-Being During COVID-19

A Guide to Maintaining Work/Life Well-Being During COVID-19

You’ve done it — you’ve managed to bring work, school, and social lives within the four walls of your home. With any luck, everyone’s basic needs are being met and somehow your work is getting done. But you may be wondering: How long will COVID-19 sheltering-in-place last — and how will you cope until it ends?

While scientists and public officials look for answers to the first question, there are steps you can take to address the second. Here are some tips for maintaining work/life well-being in the “new normal.”

Practice self-care

Uncertainty over when and how the COVID-19 outbreak will end can lead to feelings of stress and anxiety. To lessen those feelings, the American Psychological Association (APA) recommends being patient with yourself, especially if you’re having trouble coping. It can also help to:

  • Spend time outdoors. This is linked to improvements in mood, stress level, attention, and even empathy.
  • Take care of yourself physically. Exercising, eating healthy meals, and getting enough sleep can help prepare you to take on the day.
  • Stay connected with others. It can be useful to share what you’re going through with the people you trust.
  • Focus on positive activities. Limit the time you spend following pandemic news or social media — instead, engage in activities that bring you joy.

In general, focus on what is in your control and try not to dwell on the rest.

Set up a work/life balance that works for you

If your work-from-home set-up isn’t meeting your needs, try adding some structure. The things that work best for you will depend on your personal needs and circumstances. For example, if you live alone, you may look for ways to limit isolation, whereas if you are sheltering with others, you may try to look for some privacy. Regardless of your living situation, it may help to establish boundaries in these four areas:

  • Space: Carve out an area that separates your work from your personal life. Find decor, such as photos or house plants, that is visually pleasing and calming. If you can’t separate your physical space, try to escape mentally by using headphones to listen to white noise or ambient sounds.
  • Time: Create a schedule to prevent work from overlapping with personal time and vice versa. Include time for breaks and lunch, as well as “transition time” for a mental break at the start and end of each workday. Once you’re off-duty, avoid checking work emails and/or texts. If your home situation makes it difficult for you to concentrate during typical business hours, consider scheduling high priority tasks for early mornings or late evenings when your “roommates” are still sleeping.
  • Attention: Help those you live with understand when it is okay to interrupt versus when it isn’t. If your coworkers are causing distractions, turn off chat and email notifications when you need to concentrate. Include a note in your public calendar or chat status bar notifying people when you’ll be available again.
  • Expectations: Keep in mind that you aren’t simply transitioning to working remotely, you are working from home during a global health crisis. Try not to hold yourself to your typical professional and/or parenting standards. Instead, be kind to yourself and focus on what you can accomplish.

 Consider therapy

Amwell therapists provide convenient online counseling for anxiety, depression, stress management, life transitions, and more. They can listen to your concerns, assess your obstacles, and identifying effective coping strategies.

You may benefit from talking with a therapist from home on Amwell if you:

  • Notice changes in your appetite, energy, or levels of activity
  • Have trouble concentrating or sleeping
  • Need emotional support or help managing stress
  • Are more easily angered or short-tempered
  • Find yourself relying more on alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs
  • Feel numbness, anxiety, disbelief, or fear

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