Tips to Overcome Guilt of Slowing Down and Reconnecting with Self
There’s a consistent thread of discussion I’m seeing on social media during this global COVID experience. There is a consistent undertowing and inference that we have all this ‘downtime’ to do stuff. We’re in lockdown so we should be ‘working from home’, ‘homeschooling’, and to top it off we’re expected to maintain some format of the usual routine.
Frankly, I call bullshit on the whole thing.
We’re in a whole new world. We’ve all been thrown into the blender and the cocktail still doesn’t have a name. Almost a month in and we’ve barely had time to take a sip and decide whether we like the flavour. We’ve been too busy in survival mode.
And that’s ok. It now feels like we’re coming up for air. And as we take great big gulping breaths to settle ourselves, the grounding presence of our individuality beings to shine.
We’re overcoming the fear, and we’re soldiering on. We’re coming together. And just like the phoenix, we are rising. Each of us has our own pace, but we are evolving into a new life.
I’ve been in self-motivated social isolation for a little longer than most due to my chemotherapy treatment. I’m slowly getting used to losing a bit of independence. And for once I’m almost excited at the thought of returning to the supermarket to go shopping again, for I’m told it’s all changed.
But so has the world. Everything has changed, and it’s not just social distancing. As Stacey Herrerra would say, we’re skin hungry, aching for human touch and getting up close and personal with our affection with those in our close circle.
My skin is starving as is my heart space when the flooded internet bandwidth fails to connect me with my peeps! Call me titchy if you will.
Many that I’m speaking to have guilt associated with enjoying the downtime and not doing all the things they think they should. There appears to be an expectation that you can work or school from home and it will be the same level of proficiency.
And that’s a lie if we are to be truthful. There is no way that we can work or study in the same way when the environment we normally do that has changed. The people we normally have around us has changed.
We are being expected to do work in the place where we relax, our homes.
So it’s time to cut yourselves some slack. It’s important to take it easy with the kids too. All you can do is be kind to yourselves and do the best you can.
Sure, attempt to stick to the normal schedule of study or work, but there’s going to have to be a whole new level of adaptation before productivity becomes super-efficient again.
This is a time for individuals to detach from what is happening externally from their home. It’s a time to connect internally to self, and the household members you reside with.
Negotiations and compromises have to be made. All that communication commences with those you love or share space with. Then you have to liaise with what can already presume are strained employers who are probably still trying to figure out how to keep you employed.
You can’t take any of that external stuff on. You have to be able to let go of the drama associated with COVID-19. You know why? Because science demonstrates if you stay at home, you stay safe from exposure.
But here is the other truth. Home is where your heart is. It’s where you relax. It’s where you are accepted for who you are. Home is where you simply do your best to get stuff done. So if you’re not working to your normal standards, please remind yourself of this — you’re not procrastinating, you are simply doing the best you can.
It makes sense if you feel like you’re avoiding all of the normal tasks and juggling everything. There’s a reason for this perceived procrastination. You’re probably feeling a somewhat overwhelmed because you are at both work and home at the same time. The normal routine is you leave one place and those tasks to go to another place and do different tasks.
Unless you live and work from home normally, a month into lockdown, you are only probably just realising that you have to create a new normal. It’s like asking a funeral director to coordinate a wedding for 350 guests — and yeah the wedding is in two days! Not gonna happen without some stress.
Well, guess what? It’s time to relax, let go of the guilt of being expected to everything, and start being nice to yourself. Besides you’re more proficient when you’re relaxed.
So my tips for reframing the procrastination into restoration are outlined below.
Strategically Place Your Focus
Focus on doing simply one thing at a time. There are certain household things that have to be done. Whilst pants are optional when working from home, underwear shouldn’t be. Neither should showering, cleaning bathrooms and floors, doing dishes etc.
Additionally, there will be certain work tasks that just have to be done each day. The trick is mish mashing the two lists and staggering the delivery performance over the week so it all gets done. At the end of the day, if there is a day critical task, then that goes to the top of the list.
Define Your Schedule
This is a fabulous time to lead by example with your kids. Knowing that generally most school lessons are based on 45-minute intervals, align your work sessions to what the kids are doing. This way when you come up for air, to grab a glass of water or snack and check the email you can be touching base with the kids and making sure their online learning mechanisms are working.
Delegate the Tasks Amongst the Housemates
Create a master task list of the things that do need to be done each day. Delegate out at least one task for each person, regardless of age. A five year is capable of setting the table or being supported to stack a dishwasher. A teenager is capable of hanging wet washing or folding the dry.
If your kids see how you juggle both work and home commitments, suddenly (one can hope) they have a new appreciation of all you do for them whilst mastering the adult juggle. When it comes time to return to the world, perhaps this new routine will stick and you can continue to share the load.
I’ve never once heard of anyone complain about a consider young adult housemate. I do frequently hear about selfish bastards though! Delegating tasks now sets your kids up with skills for life.
Appreciate the Extra Time
During ‘normal life’, my family are out after school four nights a week. That equates to an additional eight to ten extra hours I now have gifted to do other things. I appreciate this and use these extra windows of time do things as a family, like walking out puppies as a family.
My family travels with friends and when we come together we bond as a unit. We have an activity bag that keeps us entertained for hours. When was the last time your family ditched the technology and played a board game after dinner?
Do what really matters. Connect with people around you by
- playing cards or board games
- colouring and chatting
- figuring out jigsaws
- build leggo
- watch family movies
- play twister
- make blanket cubby houses
- bake biscuits
You’re only limited by your imagination by how you can creatively utilise COVID ‘me time’ to reinvent how you utilise your day. It’s time to reframe away from the perception that you ‘have to’ and migrate to a mindset of ‘I choose how to invest me and my time.’
Remember, when we are relaxed, we are productive. When we aren’t stressed, we have clarity in our thinking and outputs. We are focussed and capable of smashing out a multitude of tasks, one at a time.
When we are relaxed into our new routine we feel safe and comfortable with change. When we feel safe, we aren’t stressed and our immune systems function optimally. When we feel safe, so do our children.