Now, in particular, it can be a very stressful time due to the knock-on effects of COVID-19. You may be dealing with the loss of income, need to work from home and look after the kids around the clock! Dealing with the stress that this current crisis has brought along can be very difficult and cause a great deal of uncertainty and change. This includes major changes to normal daily lives such as living at home more. Your normal schedule may have changed significantly.
With the above in mind, you may be looking for some helpful tips to deal with the current situation. Below are 7 tips to deal with stress at home. In my own experience, I have found these specific tips to be very helpful.
1. Take Care of Yourself First
You cannot take care of others well if you are not self-caring for starters. Particularly if you’re looking after your family or the elderly, there is a lot of added pressure right now.
The catch-22 is you may feel like you shouldn’t spend any time on yourself. But, there is a danger in this line of thought. Not taking some time out for yourself can often be to the detriment not just to yourself but also others. For example, in my own experience, I was so run-down recently that I could not think straight. I made work mistakes that cost my team a great deal of time. I felt guilty spending time on myself to rest. But, you need to do the things that keep you both physically and mentally healthy. Having this balance means you will be able to deal with stress while being more productive with your time.
2. Stick to a Routine and Set Goals
Most of us are in the unfamiliar position of being stuck at home a lot of the time. Having a routine provides some much needed stability and helps with productivity. Sure, there will be interruptions to this schedule, but stick to this routine as much as possible.
It is just as important to set goals for yourself, whether they belong or short-term, small or large. Currently, for example, one of my goals has been to simply stick to my routine. I have also learnt to say no more! I also set myself small daily goals to achieve for example certain work tasks for the day.
In his book Stumbling on Happiness, Dan Gilbert says a wandering mind is not a happy mind. Over 45% of our lives are spent thinking about multiple tasks. A planned life leads to increased happiness. Goal setting is important to set attainable goals. Setting action plans also helps. Chunking down larger goals into achievable bite-sized pieces will help you focus.
3. Communicate Consistently
Large changes to most people’s lives means communication is a real key. For example, at work you may not be familiar with working from home. You need to go back through a normalization stage with work colleagues. This will determine how you will work together. Schedule in weekly reviews with key colleagues to determine how things are tracking. This will enable you both to share your thoughts and any issues from both sides, ultimately allowing you to deal with stress.
Encourage similar open dialogue at home whether its with your kids or partner. This will iron out any issues and ensure everyone feels heard. You will also likely find that this will help you get on the same page with others.
4. Eat Healthy at Home
If you are in the habit of eating out try not to order in too often. Consider preparing healthy meals with family members. This can be a great way to bond while away from all the technology that dominates our lives. Try to have everyone engaged with different tasks they can be responsible for. This simple exercise can reinforce the values of teamwork and togetherness. Healthy meals will help keep energy and immune systems up. If needed visit diet advice and health websites to obtain good ideas.
If you find you have more time than usual consider upskilling. Time at home is an excellent opportunity to pursue that course you’ve been meaning to do or read that book. This will help enable you to learn a new skill or develop an existing one. If you are not sure what to learn, consider how your job or business is affected by recent events. Determine what kind of skills are most useful. Talk to work colleagues and clients to get their thoughts and ideas. Make the most of the current time at home as it provides an excellent opportunity to learn.
6. Use Video Technology
Use technology as a social enabler. It may not be as good as meeting in person, but stay connected with friends and family over video calls. This will give you a boost. During your time at home, it may be easy to think you’ll catch up with these people in person later on. But keeping in touch as regular to usual will provide a sense of normality. It will also ensure you engage in socialization outside of your immediate household. The video call software Zoom is free to use and easy to set up.
7. Think Positively
There are likely many things you may be missing from the days before isolation. This is normal. Try not to dwell on these but instead think of what you can do now and think of the positives. For example, being at home more means this is a great opportunity to spend more time with your household. Reconnect with family members you may have not had much time with. Build stronger relationships.
If you are with your partner, cook up a storm, light some candles and have some dinner dates. If you feel like it, get dressed up for the date even though it is at home! Like most things in life, your attitude will determine the enjoyment of events. It is much more productive to be engaging in the activities we enjoy and will bring us closer to our goals!
I have utilized the above tips in my current situation at home. You may be well-served to do the same upon reading them. I found it has also been an excellent exercise to review these with my partner from time to time.
A lot of uncertainty has come about from the current crisis. But, there is a lot we can do to ensure we live productive and happy lives which will help reduce stress.