This week is the anniversary of my virtual life. There’s no way I could’ve imagined the last year. These are some of the tips that helped me survive the COVID-19 stay-at-home order.
These are coping strategies that I put to use to make things a lot more bearable:
Take frequent breaks. Don’t stay chained to the laptop or whatever you’re using. Every half hour or so (or every time your computer starts “thinking”), get up and move around. Get up and pet the dog. Have a mini dance party with your kids. Stretch your muscles. If you have to use the potty, get some extra steps in and climb the stairs to the upstairs restroom.
Balance computer with non-computer tasks. A serious perk to working from home is that you can get most of your to-do list checked off and not lose your mind. Alternate between work tasks and home tasks. Stand up, throw in a load of laundry. Go back to PC and type a few sentences. Sweep the kitchen, put dishes away. Sit back down and send an email.
Give your eyes a rest and a workout. Too much screen time will do terrible things to your eyes and vision. Make sure that you break away and use the gift of your sight. Focus on objects near and far. Close your eyes and cup your palms over them while doing some mindful breathing. Get out and drive, even if you have no specific destination in mind. It’s good for your long-distance vision. Do activities, like backyard sports, that engage your peripheral vision. Too much screen time affects that, too!
Do yoga every day. Yoga and stretching in general are extremely important for reversing the effects of too much computer use. Hunching at the keyboard is terrible for your posture. Poses like cobra, upward dog and camel pose reverse that. Find a good yoga video and engage your core. Sitting at a computer greatly weakens the core, but it’s fixable. Screen time has a negative effect on your mood. Yoga, when done right, can greatly improve it.
Go out into the sunshine. Your hormones and immune system need natural light, not LED light. Follow the sun… head outdoors for short breaks throughout your day. Bring your laptop outside on a sunny morning. You’re still working while soaking in some healthy sunshine.
Be intimate with your partner. You have a great form of stress relief in each other. Be intimate every day, it’s natural and necessary. Most of your stress levels will go way down if you take some time to enjoy each other’s company. You’ll feel great and turn your mood around. A massage to end the busy day also eases the stress of being stuck at home indefinitely.
Practice mindful connection. Make an effort to have conversations where people ask questions and look at each other for more than a minute or two. Think about what family members are saying. Pay attention to body language and engage in sustained eye contact. Take content-based conversations back into the real world. If you find funny one-liners on a website, don’t just forward. Memorize the jokes and share them with your kids. Have them do the same.
These are just a few of the many ways to balance home, family, and work-life under one roof. Try them all… it’s likely that even amidst the chaos, life will improve and you’ll be so happy that you did!