Parents & KidsFeb 2, 2022

Tips for working, parenting and living at home right now

For almost all of of us, life looks different than it did a year ago, a month ago and maybe even a week ago. We’re now spending most of our time at home — working, parenting, studying and/or living in the same space, day after day.

Any change in routine requires an adjustment period. If this set-up is new to you, here are some self-care tips to help you navigate this new “normal.” We’re all in this together, and we’re doing the best we can with what we have.

1. Cut yourself some slack.
There’s a Tweet from Neil Webb floating around social media right now that sums this up nicely: “You are not working from home; you are at your home during a crisis trying to work." That also applies to parenting, school work and everything else you’re doing. Remind yourself of that when you start to speak harshly about focus or productivity.

2. Get some sunshine and fresh air.
Nature has a way of reconnecting us to ourselves. Whether it’s opening a window in your apartment, taking a solo walk around the block (six or more feet from others) or running a remote trail in your neighborhood, your mind and body will thank you. You’ll feel refreshed and ready to take on whatever you need to do next.

3. Schedule breaks.
When you don’t have to be anywhere — aside from your home —  at a certain time, it’s easy to lose track of the day. Set reminders in your phone (or use your oven timer) to get up, eat lunch, drink water, make time to play, etc.

4. Out of sight, out of mind.

When the work or school day is over, shut your computer or books and set them aside. This will help you — and your little ones — establish healthy work-life boundaries when they’re both happening in the same, often small space.

5. Move your body.
As you set timers, don’t forget about movement. Stand up every hour, stretch or dance to release tension or take a walk — even if it’s just around your home. Get your blood flowing and have fun!

6. Make time for laughter.

Finding the light side of things can help you through rough times. Laughter actually triggers some of the same responses in your body that exercise does, so tell jokes, watch your favorite comedy or find the humor in the situation if you’re feeling overwhelmed. If you have pets or small children, they’re always good at helping with this!

7. Make yourself comfortable.
When you work from home (or home-school kids), you will likely be in the same position for at least a few hours a day. Don’t settle for a spot that’s uncomfortable. Do your best to set up where you can maintain good ergonomic positions — preferably not the couch or a bed, which will entice you to rest not work. (Though do make ample time for rest!)

8. Stay connected.
One of the silver linings of “sheltering in place” is having more time to connect with people who don’t live close. Use technology to stay connected to co-workers, picking up the phone or scheduling a video chat instead of sending an email. It will help you feel less alone.

9. Limit distractions.

It’s easy to let the news and social media eat away at your day. To maintain focus, silence your notifications on apps that aren’t related to the task at hand. Play music or white noise in the background (instead of news) to avoid being distracted.

10. Embrace silence and quiet.
Sometimes doing nothing at all is the best way to recharge your batteries. Whether you live solo, with your partner and kids or in a multigenerational home, time for yourself may be in short supply. Carve out those precious moments wherever you can find them — walking to the mailbox, taking a shower or doing a chore like washing dishes. Focus on your breath, and enjoy the silence however long it lasts!

Have more tips to add to our list? Connect with us on social media to share what works for you during this “shelter in place” time.