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According to one survey, almost one-third of Americans worked from home at some point during 2019. If you struggle to work remotely with young children at home, you’re not alone. It is possible to maintain your sanity. You can even be productive at work while helping your children thrive and protecting your mental health.
Prioritize Your Days
One crucial way to avoid burnout is to set reasonable expectations for yourself and your family. If you try to have an entire uninterrupted workday when you are the only one home caring for your children, it’s going to backfire. Think about the typical rhythm of your days, then prioritize which work tasks need to get done right now and which ones by the end of the day, by the end of the week, and so on. Make a list that you can check off as you go.
Adults aren’t the only ones who benefit from clear expectations. Young children find comfort and show fewer signs of stress when they have familiar routines to follow, so explain what a workday looks like, what will stay the same every day, and what you expect of them. For example, you don’t expect them to be silent all day, but you do expect them not to interrupt when you’re on a video call.
Stay in Your Comfort Zone
Although there’s something to be said for dressing up to help you feel your best, going with a practical, comfortable outfit is a better bet when you have little ones to care for. Try dressing up a new pair of leggings with a flowy sweater or wearing them under a dress. Another way to stay comfortable when working from home with kids is to focus on your footwear. If you decide to wear shoes when working remotely, choose a pair that fits well and doesn’t hurt your feet.
Plan Children’s Activities Around Your Workflow
A prepared environment is the secret weapon of early childhood educators, so follow their lead and give the kids a daytime area with a few mess-free, quiet activities, snacks, water, and some books. When your children get older, you can send them to summer camp, but you need to keep infants and toddlers close by during the day. Still, some activities require more interaction than others. If you need quiet time for focused work, schedule it during nap time.
Melt the Stress Away
Although this season of your life may never be stress-free, you can take steps to let go of some of the anxiety you feel. Breathing exercises lower stress because they create a fundamental change in your body, slowing your heart rate and helping release that “fight or flight” feeling. Taking exercise breaks can benefit the whole family.
If you’re feeling burnt out because your professional life is no longer challenging, maybe it’s time to change jobs or switch careers entirely. Getting a degree online can give you a boost. Many flexible online degree programs were created for working professionals, so you can complete them while also working full-time. Some are designed to benefit professionals in multiple industries, allowing you to build on what you already do while developing skills to help you advance in your career.
Whatever you decide, don’t put more stress on yourself. Rely on your support network, do the best you can, and remember that your kids won’t be little forever.