What’s your new normal?

It’s time to adjust our sails as we head through rough seas, in an effort to carve out our new normal. Chances are, you have now been asked to work from home (WFH) for the foreseeable future and while many of us have already experienced working from home occasionally, most are not used to this being a permanent situation as a result of such global uncertainty. The adjustment phase can be up and down, especially as we are all experiencing feelings of anxiety about COVID-19 and the global economy.  One of the best ways to get yourself focused on those things in your life that you can control, is to develop a new routine.  Setting yourself a new routine will be the difference between you flailing around aimlessly and feeling like you have some grounding and direction.

How to get your new routine sorted

You will no longer have to commute to work, so instead of sleeping in, try keeping your alarm clock set for the usual time and schedule in a new activity to benefit your wellbeing. Maybe you can go for an early morning walk (while practicing good social distancing) to get your exercise in or do some yoga at home. Both of these activities will boost your wellbeing both physically and mentally in the long run and help you with any feelings of anxiety or isolation. Also by keeping your alarm set for the usual time, you won’t disrupt your body clock, which will make the transition back to working in the office, not too difficult.

Aim to maintain your standard work hours and let those in your household know that you are on “Do Not Disturb” during these hours except for emergencies. If your children are also home due to child-care restrictions or school closures, it can be difficult to stay “at work”. Be transparent with your workplace and let them know your situation. We are all needing to be flexible and patient while we adapt to new working practices. If your partner is also working from home, trial adjusting your working schedules so you can “tag team” looking after the children depending on what age they are.

Whatever work schedule you set, aim to have a “clock-off” time to give your brain and body this separation. Finish the day with signing-out, turning off your computer, getting changed out of your work clothes and starting a new activity. This might involve cooking dinner, chatting with those in your household or doing some exercise. By keeping these boundaries, it can help us maintain a separation between work and personal life.

It’s not just about work either

With our social connectedness being challenged as we practice good social distancing and isolation, it’s important to work into your daily routine, times for you to connect with others. The importance of this can’t be stressed enough, especially if you live by yourself. Take advantage of technology and schedule in some regular catch ups with friends and family via video link. There are other ways to stay connected so get creative:

  • Organise a neighbourhood workout session, get out on your balconies, or set yourself up at the end of your driveways. Obviously it’s important to remain a safe distance away from each other, but we know this can be done… just look at the footage out of Italy!
  • Look for ways to connect with those who are more vulnerable. This might mean contacting your local retirement village and offering to chat with elderly residents who might be feeling lonely.

So as you get your head around your new normal, remember to be kind to yourself and others as we are all in this together!