Stuck in the COVID continuum? Hours flowing into days, days into weeks that consume weekends, consumed weeks into seemingly interminable months....6 indiscernible months. This has been life for many in this pandemic - suspended in a continuum. Home and work slowly melding into each other and there you are...stuck in the COVID continuum . Sound familiar?
In the coaching work that I do, clients have expressed a lack of motivation for the things they used to enjoy doing like exercising, engaging in their hobbies etc. Clients have described it as just 'easy' to allow work and home life to just flow into each other.
Now we all know that 'easy' isn't always what is good. For some, this unplanned and unwitting melding of work and home life have landed them in a Groundhog Day scenario with little motivation or ideas to stop the continuum.
If you find yourself stuck, here are a 3 tips to eject you out of the COVID continuum:
1. Dress the part. It's easy to just get into our comfy clothes when working from home. No one is going to see our gorgeous heels on a zoom call! They will not, that's true, but that's not what matters. Those shoes, that button down shirt, those smart slacks - that's what helps get you in the right head space to do what you need to. It also says to everyone around you that its work time. My 5 year old knows that when mom is in her 'work clothes' that I am not to be disturbed in the study. The days where I am lazy and in my comfy clothes are my least productive days.
2. Design boundaries. Boundaries help others know what to expect from us. Boundaries can be physical spaces, time schedules or more subtle like what we wear. Working from home does allow for flexibility, and that is great when we need it but when it's all without structure then flexibility becomes the continuum. So think about designating a work space, even though it could be rather tempting to work on your laptop in bed. Plan and schedule in your diary work time, break time, family time and play time. This way you, as well as everyone around you knows what to expect and it helps you change your role hats more easily.
3. Create transition rituals.
Pre-pandemic, getting into your car and driving to work, to home or gym was a transition ritual. It allowed you to reset your brain and to change focus. Working from home has removed the transition rituals we all had. Now leaving work could simply be walking to another room. It still feels the same and our brain doesn't get the chance to reset focus. And this could explain why you are not exercising or why you are not switching off from work or from family. If this rings true for you then its time to create some new transition rituals. It could be a 5 minute quiet time when moving from work space to home space, or it could be a run around the garden with your dog before starting your home gym routine, perhaps watering your garden before 'leaving work for the day' to 'go home'. Create your own transition rituals and you will find it easier to move between activities or between roles.
It's easy to get stuck in the continuum but it is not necessarily the best thing for your mental well being. Your family needs you to be fully present when you are with them and the same applies for work. Don't forget that you also need to make time for yourself and for self-care.
There needs to be a time for everything even if the place is the same.
Neshica Bheem Director, Founder and Business Coach