As we head into month seven of the pandemic, we continue to navigate and re-define household norms, ways of working, ways of schooling and ways of gathering. The ever-evolving restrictions and requirements continue to impact our lives, both professionally and personally.
Perhaps you are one of those people who feels they are really settling into a groove, and finding your balance during these uncertain times. But what I know from my conversations lately is this: that’s not the norm. Quite the opposite; many of you are feeling exhausted, frustrated and the thought of facing a second wave – through the winter, no less – is creating a sense of dread or flat out denial.
So, what can you do to manage through these uncertain times?
One of the many traits of highly resilient people is their ability to implement an appropriate amount of structure in their lives. Appropriate being the key word. Too much structure can have you missing out on spontaneous opportunities, and being inflexible when change or different approaches are needed. Too little structure, and your brain is working overtime to decide what it needs to be doing next, the proverbial balls get dropped, and you might end up focusing on the wrong tasks.
The appropriate amount of structure provides a solid foundation, so that you can remain focused and present for what life throws at you from day to day. During chaotic, unpredictable and uncertain times, it’s important to incorporate order into your day.
Where to start? Here are a few ideas for adding some structure to your week:
- Determine what’s essential for your day and for the upcoming week. Write them down. That’s right, grab a pen and notebook out of your desk drawer and place it on top of your workstation (and if you don’t have a notebook, this could be a great time to treat yourself). Plan your week around accomplishing those essential
- Build in transition time in between appointments, meetings and activities. So often, we are booked back to back to back. There’s no room to process what we just experienced before moving on to the next activity. By building in transition time (5-10 minutes can be enough), you set yourself up to be focused and present in the next activity.
- Keep a schedule for your family in a visible place, identifying key activities for each member of the family. While routines are still off, having a calendar accessible to each member of your household will better enable you to understand one another’s priorities, manage your workload and balance home and work.
- Develop a morning ritual that sets you up positively for the day. Mornings are inevitable – and they can be a source of stress. Identify the one thing that causes you the most stress in the morning and design a structure around it. Feeling like you’re behind before the day has even begun? Review your essential priorities (see point 1 above) at the end of each work day and identify what you need to tackle first in the morning.
- Schedule time for physical activity and outdoor time. Fresh air, and physical movement are critical to mental health. Create time every day to get your body outside and moving.
These are just a few ideas to get you started. Think about what has you the most stressed, or where you have a really short fuse right now. How can structure support you in managing those situations?
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