Over the course of the last six months, we’ve come to know our neighbours very well. We both have young families and have been adjusting to the new normal of COVID-19. We are also adjusting to working from home and attempting to keep our children occupied. One night, said neighbour mentioned something interesting as our kids played together in the backyard: “I miss my drive to work.” This statement has resonated with me.
Who knew we would miss our commute? For the bulk of my working life, I have had a commute to work. In my mind, it was an annoyance that consumed my time and cost money for fuel. However, now that I am working from home and my commute is 15 steps down to my basement office, I find I am missing the commute, too.
I took my commute for granted. This was my time to listen to my music (not the Wiggles or Baby Shark), grab a coffee or call a friend or family member (hands free of course). I would use this time in the mornings to gather my thoughts and make a plan for the day. After a long, challenging day, I would crank the tunes and sing my troubles away. It provided time to decompress after the day and shift gears from work to home. This was my time to do whatever I wanted.
It’s the classic case of you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. While there are numerous benefits to working from home and not having a commute (saving money on fuel, safety of not travelling, more time with family) this comes at a cost. In a world where we live, work, and play at home, there is no escape. There is no me time.
So, what can be done to create some time for yourself? Well, it’s not easy! Especially if you have a young family. However, there are some things you can do. I’ve been trying them out and still on the hunt. .
Go for a walk on your own. Listen to your favourite music, take a safe and well lit-route, and be vigilant of those around you.
Wake up half an hour earlier than normal and workout. Find a video on YouTube or go for a jog on the treadmill.
Try yoga, meditation, or both!
Schedule in me-time. This can be 30 minutes interruption free in another room, go for a drive, get a pedicure, etc. There are pandemic approved options!
If you are feeling burnt out and need some time to yourself, communicate with your support system. Talk about your feelings with others. You may be surprised to hear you are not alone.
Find a good book and a cozy nook to read in.
Ask someone in your bubble to watch your kids and have a date night with your spouse.
Remember, you can’t pour from an empty cup. Make yourself a priority. We are all learning how to best cope in our new norm. It is as important as ever to make sure we are taking care of ourselves. Let’s find a new norm and pave a new path.