University of Kent Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager, Brenda Brunsdon
This week all the news outlets are telling us to prepare for the ‘new norm’. How we are individually experiencing life in the lockdown can vary a lot. The ‘new norm’ will be very different for each of us.
Amongst other things, the lockdown experience raises the possibility of two extremes in our lives at that moment:
- The ‘busyness’ of working from home – especially if you have young children
- Having nothing to do – once your work is done or outside work time
Moving to working from home during the lockdown was unique for all. It didn’t seem to matter if it was something you did regularly before or never did in your usual working routine. Firstly, there was the logistics of finding space at home to work and organising different equipment. Secondly, for many of us, it was frantic and everything seemed urgent. Thirdly, we all needed to build up new routines so we felt in control of our day. And then, for some, this was overlaid by having to work alongside younger members of the family, just being themselves, and even home-school children at the same time! Quite simply, those in this group might be experiencing the biggest pressures of all!!!
When we are busy with all the demands that life makes on us, we often long for more time. We envisage how wonderful life would be if we could have the gift of time. How often, though, when we have been on leave for only a few days, at home or away, we start to feel bored. It is usually short-lived because we find something to do. However, that is currently significantly more of a challenge.
Apparently, from a psychological perspective, there is something that these 2 scenarios have in common: GUILT. There is evidence that we are prey to feeling guilty when juggling childcare with work or when not being engaged in something useful throughout our day. Guilt is a quietly damaging emotion which can gradually wear away our feelings of self-worth and resilience. It is good for us to be gentle on ourselves while we learn to bend and accept our new norms and not feel that we slacking or not making an effort in how we are managing through the crisis.
Here are links to some articles which give advice and suggestions for both the above scenarios. Hopefully, they will be useful or, at least, make you feel you are not alone.
I’ve Been Working From Home With Two Small Kids During The Coronavirus Lockdown. Here’s What I’ve Learned; Brilliant article by Emily Ashton on BuzzFeed
Parents ‘face extra stress without normal coping mechanisms in lockdown’; PA Media
How to Work at Home when You Have Kids; wikiHow
We’re Really, Really Bored. But Here’s Why We Should Embrace It; article by Amy Packham on HuffPost UK
How to cope with being bored while social distancing; article by Natalie Morris on Metro
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