Managing a Work-Life Balance During the Pandemic

While many of us have always struggled to find a healthy work-life balance, the sudden changes in our workdays brought about by the pandemic have made it even more challenging. Changes in our workload, fear about job security and lack of social contact are just some of the stressors that are taking a toll on our emotional and physical health. Fortunately, there are tools you can use to help improve your work-life balance so you enhance your overall well-being.

a supermarket cashier scans a woman's groceries while both wear protective face masks

Activities that improve your mental and physical heath

Enjoying downtime, engaging in creative activities and spending time with your family all contribute to your health, both mentally and physically. And setting aside specific times during the day to meditate, read, play music, draw, connect with your family or whatever else you love has a variety of benefits:

  1. Rest combats stress.
    • Yoga, meditation and other relaxing activities clear the mind and lower blood pressure.
  2. Creativity stimulates both sides of your brain.
    • Activities like drawing, playing music, dancing and gardening are not only calming, they improve hand-eye coordination, strengthen motor skills and increase cognitive function.
  3. Connecting with family enhances emotional well-being.
    • Strong family connections are crucial to self-confidence and a sense of belonging. And when in-person get togethers aren’t possible, make sure to connect regularly through phone calls, video chats, texts or even hand-written letters.

Tips for working from home

When your computer’s always there, it can be tempting to quickly check emails or work on projects outside of business hours. So, if you work remotely, make sure to set appropriate boundaries between your work and personal life. Here are a few strategies that can help you maintain a good work-life balance:

  1. Dedicate a workspace.
    • Whether it’s an entire room or a table in the corner, find a place that will serve as a division between your work and home life.
  2. Create transition cues.
    • Cue yourself when it’s time to work by grabbing a coffee or going for a walk before you start your workday or turning off your computer when you’re finished.
  3. Take breaks.
    • Schedule regular breaks every hour or two throughout the day to clear your head and improve your focus.
  4. Keep a regular routine.
    • Maintaining a daily routine can help you feel more in control. Establish a consistent time for waking, sleeping, eating meals and working out.
  5. Proactively communicate.
    • Without face-to-face contact, your boss may not know when you’re feeling overwhelmed. Talk to coworkers and family members about your needs, before they become bigger issues.

Tips for working on-site

If you have an essential position requiring you to go into your place of employment, it can be particularly stressful worrying about risk exposure, your workload, job security or taking care of your loved ones. Here are a few ways to help keep yourself safe and reduce stress:

  1. Sanitize.
    • Wash your hands and sanitize your work area regularly.
  2. Limit face-to-face contact.
    • Opt for video conferences rather than in-person meetings, if possible, and try to avoid public areas like conference rooms or break rooms.
  3. Express your needs.
    • Communicate with your boss or coworkers when you’re feeling stressed; work together to find solutions.
  4. Step away from your workstation.
    • Carve out time throughout the day to stretch, get outside or exercise.
  5. Pursue your passions.
    • Make time before or after work for your favorite activities.
  6. Limit the news.
    • Take breaks from watching or reading the news.
  7. Stick to a regular sleep schedule.
    • Aim for seven to nine hours per night.
  8. Seek professional support.
    • Find out about mental health resources offered by your company. Make time for self-care. Sudden changes in your life are never easy, so give yourself extra love and patience as you get used to your new routine. If you catch yourself saying things like, “I don’t have time for myself,” push back those thoughts and stay committed to carving out a little me time every day. And don’t forget to ask others for help when you need it.

Make time for self-care

Sudden changes in your life are never easy, so give yourself extra love and patience as you get used to your new routine. If you catch yourself saying things like, “I don’t have time for myself,” push back those thoughts and stay committed to carving out a little me time every day. And don’t forget to ask others for help when you need it.

Author
Denver Health Medical Plan Staff Writer