Remember what ‘work-life balance’ meant before COVID-19? It was the idea that you often spent too much time at work and not enough at home with your family or friends. It was a big deal, spawning reams of text in business magazines and plenty of advice from corporate gurus.
Bosses would attend management courses on the importance of employee work-life balance and human resources teams would fret over office hours and holiday allowances. But with coronavirus, that’s all vanished. Many people with office jobs have been forced to work from home for months on end, juggling video-conferencing sessions with home schooling and forsaking after-work social gatherings for long evenings with Netflix and meal deliveries.
Adapting to this hasn’t been easy. As many of us experienced last year, working from home makes it harder for you to switch off from work and maintain a healthy routine. Your stress levels can go up, too. Although your home should be the last place where you feel stressed, trying to work from your kitchen or your bedroom can add a whole new world of pressure to your life.
Reasons to be fearful
It is hard to stay cool when talking to your client or boss if your kids are stampeding around you, or your dog is throwing up in the background. And that’s before you even stop to consider the bigger picture. The reason we have all been confined to quarters is, of course, because we are in the midst of the worst pandemic in a century.
People have lost loved ones. And others may have survived the disease but are still suffering from long COVID, a new condition we are only beginning to understand. No wonder many people are finding life stressful. That said, there are also reasons for optimism.
The last 18 months have yielded heart-warming examples of humanity at its best, from the Herculean efforts of healthcare workers, to the unprecedented scientific effort involved in bringing vaccines to market. For many, too, the forced break away from our traditionally hectic lives has provided an opportunity to appreciate some of life’s small wonders, from home cooking to quiet walks in the park.
Free tools to beat stress
Now vaccination programmes are being rolled out in many parts of the world, there is a sense that some of us, at least, may soon be able to return to some sense of normal life. How can you make sure your life gets back on track, too? If you’ve been suffering in silence at home throughout the recent lockdowns and other restrictions, then the first thing to do is check your stress levels. You can do this in only 90 seconds, for free, using our online StressWaves tool.