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COVID-19 - How do we balance working from home, parenting and our mental health?

Working from home has never been as important as it is now. COVID-19 has changed the day to day working patterns of employees and employers — but now the question is, is it for good?

If you think about it positively, this is one of the very best ways of reacting towards something we cannot control, like the COVID-19 outbreak we are currently facing.

Yes, we all know that it is very easy to go to work and communicate with your colleagues and bosses face-to-face to come to decisions, and this is in stark comparison to sitting behind a screen, writing hundreds of emails trying to communicate just as well. Never mind waiting to take video calls and having to work out how it all works!

But think, this is a fantastic opportunity to gain new vital skills.

You can take this opportunity to develop skills such as writing to be persuasive and develop better explanations, to communicate more clearly, holding and organising virtual meetings via ‘Skype for Business’ or ‘Microsoft Teams’ — all things that you may not have been exposed to before.

This can be an opportunity to build your confidence and positive outlook towards new technologies, which may, in the end, help your long-term career success.

At the same time, abruptly and rapidly-changing situations like this are, you must focus on your mental health while you are working from home.

You shouldn’t forget that you are working from home because you don’t have any other choice.

You are already doing a great service by providing support to keep important day to day business functioning.

For some people, this is may be the first time working from home, hence it can be bit weird at first, but I am sure we will all get used to it.

Like my friend, Sue. When I asked, she said “It’s funny, I thought I was going to feel very isolated at home, but I feel more connected than ever!”

I was so happy and glad to hear that as now I am certain that she is not feeling alone, which many of us may now be experiencing.

One great idea — which our team have already tried and tested — is to get together with your colleagues for virtual drinks and lunches to avoid isolation.

BBC — five ways of working from home has very useful practices that you could perform to feel less isolated, as 19% of employees working from home have agreed that loneliness is the second biggest struggle when they are working from home, right after the inability to unplug from work.

You don’t need to be glued to the computer and over communicate, however.

While you are working from home, you need to move around when needed, and go for a walk, run or cycle to get some fresh air, which will refresh your body and mind and increase productivity.

Photo by JR Korpa on Unsplash

Our attitude has changed over the past few weeks as the first thing that comes to mind is Coronavirus.

Hence, we started to avoid other runners as much as we can and hold the breath while we are passing them. Professor Carmine Pariante has managed to read the minds of runners during Covid-19 — well, at least he read mine.

In swiftly changing conditions like this, you can use largely available free virtual yoga lessons to keep you calm and to face the situation with mindfulness. The purpose of yoga is that you practice breathing while stretching your body, to find the balance of peace in your mind and body, which will help you to focus, to reduce anxiety, to reduce stress, to increase the attention and concentration, and to reduce the sleep deprivation.

As a mother myself, I also know that it is very difficult to work from home when there is a family to look after.

So, on a normal half term working from home day, I am dreaming of going back to work on the following day, but what can we do now??? I don’t know when I will return to my usual workplace now — most of us don’t.

At least we are not alone when we have a family — this is very important as this is not a normal “working from home” practice.

We all are doing it for a very good reason, to isolate and reduce the risk of spreading the virus. We must look after our family and friends. We should give them more attention, to make them feel good and safe.

Photo by CDC on Unsplash

There is nothing we could do when our child jumped in front of the camera during a meeting, it’s fine.

What could they do?

We as parents, should listen to the demands of children around the clock, so work smart, not hard. You can always catch up with your work during the day.

Anxiousness and uncertainty will always be there until we pass this difficult period, but we must act and control, it and we must do something to keep our minds and bodies healthy. When we reach full lockdown phase, let’s keep focusing on light exercises, yoga, reading books, listening to music or singing out loud, like Italians do.

As Italy entered its fourth day of a nationwide lockdown, Italy residents took to their balconies on Friday evening to sing the national anthem in a 'flash m...

I know it is particularly hard at this time, but we must hang in there and support one another.

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