A guest post from Dr. Deborah Osgood
The current pandemic has disrupted life as we know it here at home and across the globe. As we all do our part to flatten the curve and limit the spread of COVID-19, most of us are spending a lot of time at home. While this certainly requires a huge adjustment for us and our families, it does not have to be stressful. As an expert in behavior and work life, two areas where we’re all adjusting, I want to share these tips to not simply survive, but to thrive during these challenging times.
Continue to follow your morning routine.
Tempting as it is to spend the whole day in your PJs, it’s very important to maintain some semblance of normalcy and the best way to do this is to continue and even improve upon the families’ morning routine. That means waking up at the same time, showering, getting dressed, eating breakfast, and anything else you normally do to begin the day. Not only does this help energize everyone, it’s something that you have a high degree of control over during what feels like uncertain times.
Establish“Do Not Disturb” hours.
The ability to work remotely will end up saving thousands of jobs in this crisis and allow people to remain safe while continuing to earn essential income. However, it’s a big adjustment for many and it’s important that work time – and school time – remain productive. A key to this is ensuring that everyone respects certain times of the day for these activities and limits interruptions. Discuss what schedules work best for each person in your family and then do your best to stick to them.
This goes for alone time too. Being constantly surrounded by a full house of varying personalities and related needs can increase tensions for everyone. That’s why it is equally as important that you have time to yourself to decompress and relax before arguments over petty things begin to break out. Times like these are also ideal for journaling. Journaling is a way to capture your thoughts and feelings in writing. Because of this, you become more aware of them in ways that invite you to be in control of them versus them to be in control of you.
Video chat with friends and family members.
Humans are naturally social creatures (yes, even us introverts), so the biggest challenge many of us will face is coping with isolation as a result of self-quarantines and social distancing. Prolonged time in isolation can lead to increased rates of depression, anxiety, and a number of other mental health concerns. Thankfully, we have plenty of options for continuing to communicate with family and friends while remaining safe. This includes video-calling, texting, gaming, social media and, of course, phone calls. Making time to stay in touch with those we love can go a long way to alleviating the feeling of isolation and loneliness.
Avoid excessive screen time and opt for more engaging activities.
This is especially important for the whole family. While screen time may be necessary for keeping up with your work and for the kids keeping up with their schoolwork, it must not replace social time and other healthy body-mind activities. Too much screen time can make everyone feel more restless as well as compromise good sleep patterns. Instead, make time to work together on projects or play games. Get a head start on spring cleaning or make cooking dinner once or twice a week something each family member takes a turn at planning and preparing.
Keep in mind that playing is not just for the young – so get outside! Clean air, sunlight, and physical activity are vital to our health and overall wellbeing. While a game of touch football is out of the question, you can still take advantage of your local neighborhood and your own backyard. Be sure to also practice all of the recommended precautions, however, including being conscious of what you touch, washing your hands and maintaining social distancing.
In summary, remaining informed and being resourceful have always been key elements to positive progress in times of crisis. Working together is also important as there is strength in numbers. Any moment we find ourselves giving in to fear, we must remind ourselves that we are not alone and take proactive steps towards engaging in one of the above areas or reaching out to a trusted resource for help.
Dr. Deborah Osgood is President and CEO of Osgood & Associates, Inc. As a scholar and subject matter expert in the field of leadership, workforce and entrepreneurial development, her work has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Business Week, New York Times, NASE, Entrepreneur, and the Associated Press, and she has appeared as a featured guest on national television and radio including New York’s WPIX news, Boston’s WCVB-TV Chronicle, WMUR News, and Chicago’s Real Talk Radio. She is the author of several books, and also served as international spokesperson for IBM and the World Bank on issues pertaining to women and minorities in business, pioneered the National Entrepreneurial Research and Knowledge Center in Nigeria, and provided business mentorship expertise through a U.S. Department of State Iraqi Businesswomen’s Partnership program. Currently, Dr. Deborah is co-host on the iHeart Radio show, Movers & Shakers. Learn more here.