Home..our refuge, our retreat, the place we’d come to at the end of a busy day to greet our loved ones, have a meal, or curl up to a cozy game or movie night. That same place has become the office, the school house, the sports arena, the restaurant, the salon and so many other things. By now we’ve spent more weeks than we ever imagined in our homes; all of us vying for space and attempting to do things we’ve never had to do from home. Add in layers of a deadly virus or social injustice and political unrest, and you’ve got the makings of a mental and emotional storm. How can we keep our balance amid the chaos?

Don’t try to manage it all – or all at the same time

It can feel like our responsibilities have grown exponentially. With more of us at home, there’s more cooking and eating, more messes and cleaning, more boredom and the need to be entertained. Don’t try to manage it all, for everyone, or all at once. Chances are, one of those things causes you more stress than the others and it changes over time. Choose one thing that would make you feel calmer and organize it, schedule it, and get others to pitch in. Is it the amount of cooking you have to do? Get the household to pitch in with ideas, have someone order the things you need through an online grocery pickup or delivery, then promote a different person to chef each night. Maybe it feels like a bomb went off in your house? Implement a cleaning schedule, everyone helps, and clean just one room each day. Eventually the whole house gets cleaned but nobody has to be overwhelmed by it. Regardless of the “thing” you choose, that sense of control goes a long way to improving your balance.

Work/Life balance is more important than ever

If you’re working from home for the first time, it’s easy to feel like you’re floundering and unproductive without a dedicated space and the energy and shared purpose of adult colleagues. If, like me, you’ve worked from home for years, there’s a dirty little secret nobody tells you – It’s more difficult to turn it off, shut it down and leave it at the office. Whether you’re struggling to put in the hours that you need, or feel like you never stop working; work-life balance is more important than ever. As much as possible, set a regular schedule and stick to it. Set your alarm, take a shower, get dressed and start your work day at the same time every day. Take regular breaks, eat lunch, and force yourself to shut down at the same time also. If you can, dedicate a workspace that you don’t have to setup or breakdown every day. Set realistic office hours for the way your household runs. If working the swing shift allows you to focus and get your work done, setting your own hours is one of the best perks for balancing work from home.

Get creative

It may not be as easy to get to the gym or spend a day at the spa, but it’s important to find moments for self-care. All the things that contribute to physical and emotional health can still fit into the new landscape of our lives, it just takes a bit more creativity. Many of us have eliminated commuter time – a perfect opportunity for extra sleep. We’re cooking more of our meals at home – the best way to ensure good nutrition. Mother Nature affords us the biggest, freshest gym on earth for best in physical exercise; and she remains open for business. Finally, give yourself the permission and the time to “ease up”. We’ve been hit with a lot of change in the last four months. We have no idea how it will all shake out, but one thing is for sure, it will be different. For now, it’s important to keep your balance.

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