By now, we are beginning to settle into the new (if temporary) reality that may include working from home while homeschooling or babysitting kids, while simultaneously having fewer and fewer opportunities to “just get out of the house.” Many of us have only been in self-imposed quarantine for a few days and extreme cabin fever is already setting in.
Beyond washing our hands and not panicking, what can we do to maintain a sense of normalcy for our families? Productivity with work? And academic continuity for our kids?
The most important thing when everything seems so strange is to find consistency and routine where possible. Lots of your daily activities are up in the air—isolation from friends, lack of activities for your kids, finances, working from home—but you have control over more than you think.
In this wired era, we really are more capable of being highly productive without coming into the office. Let technology be your ally, but remember that people are what hold your organization together and drive your purpose:
1. Stay connected – On days when you don’t have scheduled calls, organize quick check-ins with your employees or colleagues. Use video chat when possible to add a little human touch.
2. Stay flexible – You may be asked to do tasks you never had to do before. Remember you may be covering for a sick colleague (or one who is caring for someone at risk), so keep your chin up and help where you can.
3. Maintain your schedule – If you always get up at 6, work out, shower, and head to the office by 7, stick to it! Find a workout video on line or go for a run, but get up at your usual time and be at your desk (or kitchen table!) by 7.
4. Be patient – Most likely your IT department is going to be overwhelmed with people working remotely so prepare yourself for slow speeds and longer than usual wait times from your Help Desk. “Please” and “thank you” will go a long way with your IT guys right now.
With so much unknown about this new coronavirus, we may be inclined to panic or take drastic precautions. Heeding the authority’s advice is critical for the health of the general population and efficacy of the healthcare system, but we can also do our part be keeping healthy on an individual basis:
1. Stay hydrated – Just like when you have the flu, staying hydrated is absolutely critical. Get an app that records your water intake, keep a tally by the fridge, whatever you have to do to take in at least 64 ounces of water a day.
2. Take your vitamins – Keep taking your multivitamins to maintain overall health, and up your Vitamin C, B6, and E intake to boost your immunity.
3. Rest – It’s an anxious time but the sure-fire way to reduce your immunity is to stress and not sleep. Drink some chamomile tea, have a warm bath, and stick to a set bedtime to support healthy sleep.
Sweet blessings, our children, right? But all day? All week? Yes, but again, don’t panic. Trying to manage homeschooling your kids while also doing work of your own will definitely be a challenge, but it’s doable if you keep a few things in mind:
1. Maintain a schedule – The temptation for you both may be to treat this like spring break, but just as you need routine, so do your kids. Wake them up at a set time, have a plan for the day and stick to it, and stop at a specified time each day. Set goals and celebrate achievements.
2. Call in reinforcements – If your math knowledge maxes out at 5th grade, find someone who can help. Most teachers are making themselves available for “office hours” but also reach out to other parents on Facebook or email for help.
3. Take breaks – Don’t feel like you need to cram every day full of academics. Get outside, exercise, do arts and crafts, bake something, anything to break up the monotony of school with Mom/Dad.
4. Find creative learning opportunities – Do crossword puzzles together, use math to measure when you bake, take a nature walk and record the plants and animals you see, and use local resources (most libraries are making e-books free for kids) to read, read, read!
1. Do your research: It’s a complicated time and information is changing rapidly. Find a few solid resources (think CDC, your local government) where you can go for up to date information and recommendations rather than relying on Facebook messages or click-bait.
2. Check in with elderly or friends with underlying medical conditions (virtually): The elderly and the sick should not be going out at this time, so make sure you call, Facetime, or touch base via social media every day to make sure they have the food, medicine, and personal touch they need every day.
3. Be patient: With more people at home than usual, your internet connection is likely to be slower than usual. When possible, encourage family members to do off-line work while others are doing required online work. For example, if your high-schooler is doing a research paper, have her complete all her online research first, log off, and then start writing.
The climate is tenuous right now and much is out of our control. But if we all take a deep breath, keep our bodies healthy, commit to quality work at home, and help our kids keep consistent and continuous study habits, we’ll get through this.