How to deal with stress, chaos of having everything at home

In Summary

• One of the major ways that our lives have changed is the transition from office to working from home (WFH).

• Our homes which initially were our haven after a hard day in the office have now doubled up as our workstations and schools

Certified Emotional Intelligence and Strategic Life Coach Alice.
Certified Emotional Intelligence and Strategic Life Coach Alice.
Image: WOMENWORK

It seems like it was just the other day when my children and I were outside at midnight awed by a great display of fireworks and shouting happy New Year 2020 –the year of double double. Little did we know that in less than three months, the world as we knew it would be turned upside down by a global pandemic. To say that the world has changed a lot since then would be an understatement.

One of the major ways that our lives have changed is the transition from office to working from home (WFH). Our homes which initially were our haven after a hard day in the office have now doubled up as our workstations and schools too as learning was disrupted due to the rise in Covid-19 infection cases.

WFH, managing the children, keeping the house in order all whilst maintaining your sanity has been such an upheaval task and it looked like one needed to have supernatural powers to achieve balance. Here are a few tips that have been helpful:

  • Create a schedule and stick to it.

Have a routine to work with increases efficiency and productivity. Schedule work hours that coincide with the children’s learning time. Give the older ones assignments while the younger ones can learn from Youtube videos, storybooks, drawing, etc. Capitalize on naptime if they are toddlers. Creating structure for the children can help reduce stress levels even as you adjust to WFH.

  • Set boundaries:

Establish clear boundaries and communicate the same. E.g having the door shut may mean –“Mum is working, please do not disturb unless it’s an emergency.”

  • Be intentional with your self-care:

Carve out some time to rest, take a nap, sun-bask, take a walk, or whatever it is that you need during the day and get enough sleep at night. I cannot overemphasize how critical this is to your mental health and your immune system.

  • Know your signs of stress:

Watch out for signs of fatigue, headaches, irritability, low energy, insomnia, anxiety, and panic attacks. I love reading and my first stress signals are usually fatigue, irritation, and my inability to enjoy a good book. Whenever that happens, I know it’s a sign that I’m either taking on too much or I need to address something. What are your personal signs?

  • Make time to switch off and unplug:

It can be pretty involving and draining when WFH and taking care of everyone at the same time. Take time off to unplug and recharge instead of waiting until you are overwhelmed or sick to do it. I usually send my children off to my sister’s for the weekend and enjoy solitude as a way of refreshing myself when I need to take a break.

  • Engage your support network:

Do not be afraid to ask for help from your spouse, family, or friends. You don’t have to do everything yourself. I usually advise my clients to be specific and communicate clearly. E.g Would you please watch over the kids on Tuesday morning? I need help with grocery shopping next week. Learn to ask for support and delegate tasks to keep the home organized to avoid being overwhelmed.

Finally, as we navigate these uncertain times, remember we are living in unprecedented times so be kind to yourself, listen to your body and tune in to your feelings. Lastly, you don’t have to have everything figured out, be adaptable to change, and take it one day at a time.

Alice is a Certified Emotional Intelligence and Strategic Life Coach and a mother of two. She is also a member of WomenWork.

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