Mom and Babies
by Emily Munnell

Everyone’s challenges are a bit different and everyone approaches things in their own way, and that’s okay. But we can also learn from each other. You never know who out there needs to hear the advice you have to offer or will be comforted by the fact that someone else is in a similar situation. With that in mind, here are some tips from fellow DAR stars!

WORKING FROM HOME

  • The Career Center has implemented a task they find very effective. Each morning between 8 am – 9 am, everyone submits 2 or 3 “MITs” (Most Important Things) they’re working on that day to their supervisor via Microsoft Teams.
  • Stop working at the end of the day and get away from the screen. Don’t fall into the trap of always being on.
  • Setting the stage: I find it helpful to establish cues and routines that tell my brain that it’s time to switch from “home mode” to “work mode.” I use sound as a way of doing that; during the weekdays, I stream news from my local NPR affiliate.  As soon as the day is over, I switch to music.  Similarly, on the weekends, I only listen to music.
  • Demarcating my workday from my personal time is important because I don’t want to feel like I’m spending my weekends in the office (which technically I do as I work from home).  Creating cues that tell my body “the workday is over, it’s time to relax” has been an important way of ensuring that I create a good work/life balance and that work doesn’t bleed into all hours of the day.  I’ve spoken to others that have tried things like: listening to one kind of music during the workday and another during the non-work day, turning on the tv as soon as the workday ends, using one kind of candle/incense during the work day and another kind once the work day ends, etc.
  • Changing Your Perspective: While working from home, I’ve also learned to switch from being “time oriented” to “task oriented.”  When working in an office, we’re trained to think about the day in terms of an 8-hour cycle.  Regardless of what you have going on work wise, most people arrive at 8:00 and leave at 5:00.  Since working from home, I’ve started to think about my work in terms of tasks, as opposed to the time that it takes to complete them.  If I have a task that takes me 8 hours to complete, so be it.
  • Work in difference spaces throughout your home, following the sun if the weather gives you a clear sky

STAYING ACTIVE AND SANE

  • Taking a walk at lunch has been helpful in getting a little sunshine, fresh air and a recharge to start your afternoon work load.
  • complete a mid-day walk/workout/Pilates/yoga
  • Walk around your home when you’re on a phone call if you don’t need to be tethered to your computer; it is also a great time do household chores that allow you to simply move your body out of a sitting posture (unload the dishwasher, do laundry, etc.)
  • Issue challenges to family and friends – even those far away. See who can do the most push-ups, duck walk the furthest without falling over, run the fastest mile (or just run a mile a day), create the best dance to a favorite song – anything that gets your body moving and brings out people’s competitive spirit!

DEALING WITH KIDS, PETS AND/OR OTHER HOUSEMATES WHEN YOU’RE TRYING TO WORK

  • Don’t stress about your pets too much during video meetings. In general, people enjoy having these extra guests. Or maybe you can save some time at the end of your conference to introduce your pets or young children if they happen to make it into the “scene.”
  • Distract your dog during a meeting by giving him a tasty, frozen peanut butter treat.
  • Get on a work/childcare schedule as much as possible with your partner/family. That way, you know when you’ll be able to work and when it will be more difficult.
  • For young kids, get some exercise with them in the morning so they don’t get stir crazy by the afternoon. This also makes it easier to use some screen time in the afternoon if you need it.

CONNECTING WITH FAR-FLUNG FRIENDS AND FAMILY

  • Schedule at least one Zoom call with friends/family each weekend
  • Gather a group of friends via Zoom each week, and have a different friend present a topic of their choice (tips on gardening, how to make a great cocktail, baking best practices, etc.) to the other friends
  • Via Zoom, everyone purchases the same puzzle and you race to see who finishes it first
  • Zoom trivia (rotating the host each week) and keep a running score
  • Watch the same movie or read the same book, then discuss.
  • Use the Marco Polo app to send videos instead of just texts.
  • Write 2 handwritten notes each day. A note of care and gratitude is a great way to start the day

CHECKING IN ON OLDER RELATIVES

  • Call them at the end of your work day. They’ll want to hang up before dinner. ;-)
  • Recommend movies, TV shows or suggest an online museum to tour. Make sure you view them, too. This will give you shared experiences to talk about on your next call.
  • If you’re in town, stop by and stand on the sidewalk while they are on the porch, just so you can talk and see each other’s faces. It makes a difference. If you’re far away, FaceTime is a great way to connect.
  • Ask them what they need and get Amazon or InstaCart to deliver it to them.

FUN AND WELCOME DISTRACTIONS

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