For the last few months I have been working on my laptop with a sleeping newborn on my shoulder, a toddler wrapped around my leg, and a much-needed cup of coffee balancing between my fingertips. Welcome to the “new normal.” This is the life of working mothers and fathers across the country in this new post-COVID-19 reality. Whether we like it or not we are all stay at home working parents nowadays.
Over the years I have had the pleasure – and sometimes displeasure – of working from home. The great thing about working in digital marketing is that as long as I have a Wi-Fi connection, I can work from just about anywhere in the world. The bad thing about working from home is that my work life and my home life can blur into one and the stress can be overwhelming.
Since the emergence of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) many businesses have shifted towards a remote working environment, thrusting an unsuspecting workforce into the realms of working from home. But many of these workers have been unprepared for this huge change. Questions arise like, how do I work from home but also maintain a healthy home life?
If you are struggling to work from home while maintaining your inner peace, here are five tips to find your work-life balance during the COVID-19 pandemic:
1. More Sleep, Less Screen
Let’s be honest, this pandemic has driven all of us to become screen addicts. My four-year old knows how to operate my tablet better than I do. But the truth is, being on the screen – whether it be your computer, phone, tablet, or television – is really not good for you. For both children and adults increased screen time can lead to obesity, insomnia, and mood swings, along with a slew of other negative effects. In order to maintain balance, try by cutting down on the amount of time you or your family members are in front of a screen. Next, focus on getting more hours of sleep. I always recommend turning the screens off at least one to two hours before you go to bed. The more sleep you get, the happier you will be!
2. Log Off and Stay Off
I will say this only one time: Stop. Checking. Emails. This was a great lesson I learned in my time as a freelance writer and social media strategist. It is vital to create boundaries between bosses, co-workers, and clients so that everyone knows and respects home and family time. There will always be “emergencies” or reasons you have to log onto the computer at midnight to fix something. But in general, these emergencies should be few and far between. When you get done for the day, log off your computer and stay off. Ask your co-workers, bosses, or clients to please respect your family or home time. If there is an emergency, ask them to give you a call instead of sending a text or email. Take a deep breath and log off that email, turn off notifications, and enjoy the time with your family or cat or Netflix binge-watching show – you have worked hard for this all week!
3. Daily Meditation Practice
While working in digital marketing I also work as a spiritual life coach and I am so grateful for my meditation practice. Many years ago I was an anxious mess and now I know the tools I can use in order to invite more peace and tranquility into my life. Many people think meditation is hard, but it’s all about the practice. The more you practice, the easier it will be. You don’t have to sit in lotus position and shave your head bald like a monk to take on a meditation practice. In fact, nowadays there are meditation apps, YouTube meditations and more. Start by just doing three minutes of meditation per day before you get out of bed. Find an app or video series that works for you and reap the benefits of calming and focusing your mind.
4. Read a Good Fiction Book
At the beginning of this pandemic I tried to get all these super serious self-help books from Amazon and I found that I just had no interest in reading them. Then one day a friend sent me a fiction book and I jumped right into the book and read the whole thing in one week. Fiction writing is so powerful because it can take us on a magical journey and help us travel away, mentally, from the stress of our day-to-day lives. When I started reading this fiction book I was so sick of hearing about COVID-19, I just wanted to live in another world for a moment and books give us the opportunity to do just that! Pick a book or a series of books that are more light-hearted or funny and dive into that world. You deserve it.
5. Have a Zoom Party
This year I celebrated my 37th birthday in the middle of quarantine. It was so strange not being able to spend time with friends and family or dance on the beach with cupcakes. But luckily, thanks to the power of modern technology, I was able to at least toast a glass of wine with my friends. Ten of my friends got on a Zoom call with me and we had a Zoom party. It was glorious. I introduced college friends to new friends, connected with friends from Botswana, London, and New York, and blew out the candles as they all sang happy birthday. Since that day we have had several Zoom parties and although they can never replace that real feeling of hanging out with friends Sex and the City style, it can still give you a glimmer of hope in this COVID-19 world.
No matter what you’re going through right now in life, remember that in this “new normal” it is now more important than ever to put your own needs first. Maintain your self care practices, enjoy the time you are not working, and get outside sometimes to enjoy the sunshine.
Here’s to getting through the pandemic of 2020 and finding that delicate work-life balance.
About Suki Eleuterio
Suki is a digital marketing storyteller, award-winning blogger and visionary. As a business and life coach, she coaches her clients and guides them to elevate their businesses and their lives and step into their creative vision. Her blog has won numerous awards and her first book, “She Loved Herself,” is available on Amazon. You can visit Suki’s website at Sookton.com and follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.