This is week #6 for me working from home because of the COVID-19 pandemic. As many of you are, my spouse and I are both working virtually from our apartment. We have not been in the same space 24/7, for extended periods without going to the office, running errands, or spending time with family and friends.
I now understand I took my routine for granted prior to our battle with this virus. I attended church, went to the office, networked with community partners, gave community presentations, grocery shopped, met with friends, or did something special with family without extended planning.
My spouse and I have gotten outdoors to exercise, despite our current concerns and anxieties. However, increased time spent alone or with just one family member can “push the envelope” for each of us, because we are social creatures. We have had several conversations during this time about dealing with our fears and frustrations over our current reality and navigating feelings of cabin fever. Here are some things I have learned these past weeks for your consideration:
- Have a conversation with those at home about chores and home duties. You may need to pitch in and divide chores up differently to feel less fatigued and overwhelmed. Keeping your living space de-cluttered can help your home retain a feeling of spaciousness.
- Figure out how to maintain enough internet speed to avoid computer issues throughout the day. There are relatively inexpensive devices available for curbside pickup from office supply stores that boost the internet signal to assist.
- Keep to a regular schedule with intentional breaks. Working within your usual workday cycle may assist with maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Otherwise, you may find yourself working into your personal time.
- Get outside to enjoy nature with those at home, but also get outside by yourself. Take daily walks, sit outside on your porch or deck, or walk in the park while keeping social distancing in mind. Wear a mask as recommended when being in public and wash your hands after being out and about. East Tennessee is beautiful this time of year and Spring has sprung!
- Reach out more often than you otherwise would to friends and family. Email a digital card, write a note, or give someone you care about a phone call.
- Play board games with family or friends through virtual means. We are playing Yahtzee with my Mom in NJ every Sunday afternoon via FaceTime. Not only are we enjoying this time together, it gives us something to look forward to each week and reminds me of weekends growing up when our family loved to play board games together.
- Step away from the News each day. It is good to stay informed, but not to watch the same information over and over. Pray, meditate, read a book, or start a hobby.
- Share what you are grateful for with family and friends. Take time to discuss what you are learning from sheltering in place and social distancing. Talk about changes you would like to make moving forward.
- Think about the future. Talk with others about the inevitable “new normal” for your community and what that means for you.
- Ask for assistance when needed. If you are feeling overwhelmed, do not assume those at home can read your mind about help wanted. Slow down, take a deep breath, and ask for what you need.
Assistance needed might also include contacting a Care Manager for a family member facing a healthcare-related challenge and looking for a better “road-map”. We are now offering Care Management Services specifically for COVID-19 planning! Click here to view a brief video explaining these services.
Care Around the Block is doing everything in our power to provide essential care while taking every precautionary measure to ensure safety and well-being of our clients and employees. Give us a call at (865)444-6787 to find out how our services might benefit you and your loved one!
What will you do differently at home, work, or with family and friends once your community re-opens? Reach out and share your comments about moving forward safely together below!
Written by Elaine Wilson, LCSW, CCM, Director of Outreach at Care Around the Block. If you are caring for someone during this time, Elaine facilities a free online support group for family dementia caregivers in which you can participate from your own home. Call our office at (865)444-6787 to sign up.