Working from home

Due to the COVID pandemic, A lot of us are still working from home. This has both positive and negative attributes. Current clients report that it’s nice to reduce the commute time and the stress of traffic while others report that they miss the down-regulation & alone time to separate work from home life.  Some like being able to dress down more often while others struggle with being motivated without having the dress code and structure of a work setting. Lastly, many reports that it’s nice to not have the pressure to interact all day while others found work to be one of their primary forms of connection which they miss.  Needless to say, it’s a mixed experience for most individuals. Take a moment now to think about your work/life balance is affecting you. As a society, it’s clear We are struggling with finding the balance in this ‘new normal’, which leads me to one of the most important therapeutic questions in regards to this topic, Are we working from home or living at work?

This lack of boundaries between home & work is causing people to experience loss of identity, a significant increase in the amount of hours worked and loss of work/life balance, and significant amounts of anxiety & stress in addition to the multitude of other stressors we already experience on a daily basis.

So, What’s the first step towards healing? 

Fear & Anxiety are inevitable in times of crisis, as they naturally respond in a trauma situation (which a pandemic qualifies as trauma), however, now We are in collective grief. All parallel processing & struggle simultaneously. We also live in a time where overdoing is viewed as a status symbol & how busy we are is something we humble brag about.. but it’s important to remember. It’s not a contest and that our journey is ours.

The first is to recognize what your body is trying to tell you and listening to the stress & anxiety cues. Stress is our body’s way of responding to any sort of external threat of danger (whether real or imagined), which most of us would call the fight or flight response, and generally alleviates after the ‘stressors’ have passed. Anxiety, however, is our internal reaction to feeling ‘stressed’, which for most people starts with Anticipatory Anxiety; Anxious about being Anxious. It’s a pervasive feeling of not being safe emotionally & manifests in physical symptoms. Stress, however, is often categorized by Loneliness, Insecurity, Loss of Concentration & Memory, worried & panicked thinking, restless/keyed up and edgy, avoiding others, fatigue & difficulty sleeping, eating issues- over or under eating, teary/mood swings, obsessiveness with working & routine, compulsive behaviors/overdoing it, fear of silence/the quiet.

What can I do about my stressors relating to the work, COVID, Childcare situation and ultimately find balance? 

    1. Focus on what you can control
    2. Let go of comparing your COVID experience to others (‘Living their best life’, etc), although we may not have all caught COVID physically, we almost all caught it emotionally & it’s very challenging to carry the weight of collective grief around.
    3. Reduce catastrophizing & focus on what you can control and Stay in the moment
    4. ‘Thought Stopping’ by identifying irrational thinking
    5. Tolerating Distress & Ambiguity through Radical Acceptance

How can I take better care of myself during this time? 

Establish a self-care plan:

    1. Assess current ‘coping skills’ you’re using (ie: overeating, drinking, isolation, phone, etc.
      1. Community—essential to have a strong support system
      2. Eating
      3. Sleeping
      4. Exercising?
    2. Starting the day off right with a strong morning routine and following that throughout the day:
      1. Meditating (Visualizing things going well & you handling the day with ease), Reading, Journaling, Exercising, Praying—- Limiting social media & TV
      2. Midday mantras (“I will not scare myself by repetitively examining details over and over”), eating healthy and a wind-down routine at night time that is nourishing & not just binge renewing

If you or someone you know is struggling with the boundaries regarding living at work vs. working from home and is experiencing stress & anxiety as a result, please reach out to us today or visit our website or call 201-488-6678. We look forward to working with you!