Jenna Woodland has joined The Area News as a fortnightly columnist who will share some ideas to help maintain our mental wellbeing during these stressful times.
Many of us have been suddenly thrust into the world of working from home and remote education for our children.
After some early struggles, I adopted some useful strategies and ideas that I wanted to share with you.
At first, working from home was chaotic. I had no time to prepare work spaces and script routines.
The first two weeks were a blur, juggling my own work and navigating the Google Classrooms of my three children.
At first I imagined a slower pace, given the sudden solitary nature of my work - no chatting to colleagues in the halls or impromptu meetings in the car park.
What I actually discovered was longer working hours.
The constant interruptions from kids needing my help, my laptop permanently set up on the dining table so every time I walked past, I sat and did just a little bit more.
Before I knew it, it was midnight, then morning and time to start again. My back was sore, my head full, I found it difficult to fall to sleep.
I knew something had to change to make this, possibly long-term arrangement, work. A key problem was there was no defined work/school area in my house.
I addressed this by buying a cheap trestle table and set up office in a quiet room in the house.
This would be the 'work station' for me and the kids. We worked together, sticking to the school timetable.
I was available to the kids, yet no longer had to traipse down to their bedrooms when called upon.
Bedrooms and lounge rooms became our spaces for breaks and relaxation.
I could leave the office and not be seduced by the dinging of every email coming through.
We scheduled time in the day to go outside, exercise, walk, and chat and wind down. This quickly became more manageable and far less stressful.
If you are looking for a more balanced approach to working from home, here are some strategies you might find useful;
- Create a separate work space in your home
- Stick to your regular working hours
- Set a timer to ensure you have decent breaks throughout the day
- Make sure you go outside for fresh air and sunlight during your breaks
- Start your day with a walk
- Understand that some days will be more productive than others and that's okay
- Schedule time in the day or evening to phone or speak with friends and family on online
- platforms so you feel connected
- Schedule daily check-ins with colleagues
- Cook double quantity and eat left-overs every second night
- Remember that this will not last forever
- Be patient and kind to yourself - you are doing the best you can