Most of us are currently overbooked and overcommitted, and may be struggling to separate our personal and private lives from our working lives.
None of us thought we would have to deal with something as catastrophic as COVID-19 in our lifetime, and, in turn, have not been given a rule book on how to do it right. All we can do is our best, and we need to accept this as a reality.
Many of us are finding that we are cutting corners with our own welfare including sleeping less and dropping our familiar behaviours and hobbies. We are learning new habits which are not necessarily beneficial to us. At a time when we are stressed and overwhelmed, it’s critical we still do those positive things to maintain our mental health and wellbeing.
We need to prioritise our habits and set boundaries for ourselves in order to protect our wellbeing and that of our colleagues, friends and family.
Here are some useful tips on maintaining those boundaries between work and home during COVID
- Schedule your working days and make sure that you finish, whenever possible, at the time you have told yourself you will finish.
- Block out time in your day to do things you want to do, and not things you have to do; for example, make sure you sit and eat your evening meal at a time you normally would, watch your favourite TV programme, do some gardening, read a book, or go for a walk or run.
- Make sure you pack your work items away after your shift, ‘out of sight, out of mind’ really is a proven psychological action.
- Turn your work phone off and do not accept, nor make any calls, emails or texts when your working day is done; it’s important to consider your ‘out of office’ actions and the result they may have on your colleagues, along with yourself.
- If you are working late, think about drafting emails and sending them in the morning when the working day has begun.
- When colleagues take a day off, make sure you don’t contact them unless absolutely necessary; it is important we take a day completely free of work.
- When you have team meetings, don’t talk solely about work – we need to take time to interact with each other on a personal level
Another important element to creating boundaries between work and home is making sure you continue to book annual and flexi leave. Many organisations are seeing an issue surrounding leave, breaks and general time off. Staff aren’t taking time off because they feel they have too much to do and feel they may be judged harshly should they request it; this can decrease moral; you should not be punishing yourself for needing this time off, but praising yourself for admitting you need to switch off, even for an afternoon.
Don’t forget, your manager is there to support you; it is really important to reach out to them if you feel you aren’t able to separate your work and home life at the moment and they will do their best to help you find a solution to return to some kind of normal.