Many of us feel we should be getting more done now that we are working from home because it seems as if we have more time on our hands, which we know isn’t true. The constant distractions, no routine, trying to use new technology to work and school from home make us feel what we have accomplished isn’t enough. Although it seems like we should be getting more done, we often fail to recognize the large amounts of stress and uncertainty that makes it difficult to work. A Kajabi article found that recently, “Negative moods and stress are a huge driver of procrastination.” The solution is mental wellness and mindfulness.
While some may dismiss the importance of mindfulness, there are many small actions that can have a great impact, especially during a time like this. With the news constantly changing, it can be hard to build a routine and feel in control. This has led many people to feel more stress or anxiety around everyday situations. Many of us are working from home, schooling from home and trying to do eldercare from home. Everyone’s schedules are out the window and new routines aren’t established. Psychotherapist, Julie Bjelland, explains that “If the emotional brain is too activated, the cognitive brain goes to sleep. We’ve all experienced that, where we’re just out of control emotionally,” this shows up with people hoarding toilet paper. It isn’t rational behavior and is an emotional response based upon fear and our emotional brain taking over. Luckily there is a quick and simple way to calm the emotional brain and give control back to the rationale cognitive brain. She recommends a simple breathing technique:
1. Breathe in for 4 seconds
2. Hold that breath for 2 seconds
3. Exhale for 7 seconds
4. Repeat this cycle 5-7 times
While breathing, try to clear your mind and let your body relax. In addition to this breathing technique, a New York Time’s article found that “A regular workout was shown to ease depression and lift moods.” Now, this doesn’t need to be a 2-hour workout session in the gym. The great thing is, almost any form of movement is exercise when compared to sitting at home all day. Try to raise your heart rate for 30 minutes by doing jumping jacks in your house, running up and down the stairs, or jogging in place during TV commercials. The study found that, “benefits of exercise can linger for weeks after people stop working out.” Make it a goal every day to raise your heart rate and get your blood pumping, you’ll feel better physically and mentally.
Lastly, Julie Danielson gives great insight on “how people can create healthy relationships with themselves and whomever they’re sharing space with.” It can be hard working and living in such close quarters with someone 24/7 for an extended period. That’s why Danielson recommends setting work related boundaries. This can include scheduling times for each of you to work or designating specific parts of the house for work. Additionally, it is important to implement personal boundaries. Just because you are living together doesn’t mean you need to spend all your time together. You are your own person and should pay attention to your mental and emotional well-being.
During times of stress it is important to give yourself some grace and understand that you are “doing the best you can” and that is all anyone can ask. We need to give ourselves permission to feel down, to not accomplish as much as we are use to when working away from the house. Find ways to bring laughter and humor into your daily routine and take lots of small breaks. It takes tremendous mental energy to learn new tasks and with this pandemic everyone has been thrown into learning and doing everything new. It is ok to feel uncomfortable, to not have all the answers and to feel scared. Share and ask others in the household how they are feeling. Recognize everyone is feeling the same way. This helps to remove some of the emotion around the conversation in our head that is saying, “ I should be doing this or that…” it normalizes our feelings. Everyone is doing their best. Our normal life has been upended so we need to not only show compassion to others but most importantly to ourselves and our family.
I hope these tips will provide some easy steps to help navigate these stressful times. When you get anxious, remember to breathe. Don’t forget about finding creative ways to move and exercise and be kind to yourself and take care of your emotional well-being and get some space if needed. Lastly, remember you are doing the best you can and that is good enough.
Kathleen Richards, is the owner of PM Made Easy and The Property Management Coach. With her 13 years as a broker/owner of a property management company she speaks from experience. Kathleen authored, Property Management A-Z and teaches regularly at community colleges and conferences on property management topics. She is active in her field and holds professional designations as Master Property Manager (MPM®) and Residential Management Professional (RMP®) and her company held the coveted, Certified Residential Management Company (CRMC®) designation from NARPM®. She is currently a National Instructor for NARPM® and is honored to be sharing best practices with other NARPM® professionals. Kathleen has served at the local and state level on the boards for NARPM® (National Association of Residential Property Managers)