MAINTAINING A WORK-LIFE BALANCE DURING COVID-19

The covid 19 pandemic has us all in lockdown. Work from home has become the new normal, and our social lives have become computerised. When work and life both occur at the same location, maintaining a work-life balance becomes a challenge. Research indicates that many working professionals are facing both occupational and psychological distress. This distress may interact with our different life roles and affect our productivity, satisfaction, as well as overall well-being.

Two concepts that support Work-life balance are ACHIEVEMENT and HAPPINESS. Achievement in your work at the cost of overworking and little regard to personal life may lead to dissatisfied success. One may even feel unfulfilled or unhappy in one’s personal life. Thus, maintaining a work-life balance becomes of utmost importance; to lower distress levels and compartmentalise both personal and work life so that stress and anxiety from each don’t affect the other.

Here are some ways to maintain a work-life balance

  • Generate a routine: Scheduling your workday will help in creating a sense of control. Although some flexibility in the schedule should also be present. Routines that are best suited for us, help us separate our work and personal lives, while also dedicating appropriate amounts of time for each. Maintain the same routine as pre-covid / pre-lockdown, and make sure to mentally switch from work and personal life. Engage in the weekly routine of taking a shower, getting dressed, reading the news, having breakfast and even listening to music before you start working. This will help you treat your job as a job, feel more productive and most importantly maintain a work-life balance.
  • Dedicated hobby time: Hobbies help us express our creative side. They also help us in reducing stress. Individuals who engage in cultivating hobbies often work in a state of flow, giving them a dose of positive emotions. This is especially important for those working in non-creative environments; having hobbies and interests may feel like an escape from the competitive nature of their work lives. This holds true even for homemakers because household work is equally tiresome.
  • Nutritious diet: A nutritious diet filled with proteins, vitamins, minerals and carbohydrates. Eat all kinds of fruits and vegetables. Feel free to give in to your cravings (sweet or cheesy) once or twice a week for your dose of serotonin. And don’t forget to stay hydrated.
  • Self-care weekends: The weekends where work goes for a vacation and you are alone with your personal life, make the most of that time. You could binge-watch a series or movie, have a relaxing bath, listen to music, or even just dance without feeling self-conscious. You can also read a book, meditate, go for a walk or simply get some fresh air on your balcony or terrace. Most importantly, connect with your family and friends, talk to them, listen to them. The whole point of the self-care weekend is DO WHAT FEELS GOOD!
  • Create a workspace: Having the same area for both your work and personal life creates conflict and difficulty in separating the two. Separation is necessary especially when individuals forget to live their personal or work life at the expense of the other. Creating a dedicated place in your home for work helps in maintaining a sense of work environment. Additionally, remember to personalise the workplace. You can put some houseplants or pictures. These may help in reducing stress levels, increase your creativity and improve your well-being.
  • Adequate sleep: Adequate sleep is important for the organisation of your memory and thought process. Sleep has been linked with cognitive ability, well-being, as well as improving health and immunity. Getting adequate hours of sleep i.e., 7 or more hours, will help maintain adequate stress levels.
  • Engage in physical activity: Whether you get to go out of the house or not, make sure to engage in some form of physical activity. This may be in the form of yoga, walking, exercising or even dancing. Physical activity will help you get rid of fatigue and help burn off the physiological damages from the several hours of sitting for work.
  • Regular breaks: Work from home may lead to continuous work without breaks. With no co-worker to talk to or interrupt you from your work, with no free movement like the one present in offices; we may forget to take breaks and continuously work without any regard for our personal and physical well-being. Make sure to remove yourself from your workspace for 10-15 minutes and go for a walk or eat with a family member or friend (even if it is on a video call). Most importantly take 1–2-minute breaks to stay hydrated.
  • And finally, engage in self-affirming and rewarding relationships: Emotional support and rewarding social relationships help us maintain our personal life and well-being. Being affirmative and not overworking yourself in the lockdown is of utmost importance. Individuals may forget to say no to their superiors or even take on a larger workload. This may lead to fatigue and work-life imbalance. You need to remember to regularly connect with your family and friends and maintain relationships. This is beneficial for yourself as well as the other people in your life. Be there for people in a similar manner in which you expect others to be there for you; it is mutually beneficial.

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