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For most of us, everyday life finds includes juggling multiple responsibilities, from work to home to our communities, which can make us feel like we are always on the go from one task to another. Nine months into a global pandemic, now more than ever, many people are struggling to find a healthy balance between all the things they have to do and all the things they want to do in their lives while the line between professional and personal is more blurred than ever before. It is currently estimated that approximately 42% of people who are employed in the US are currently working full-time from home(1). And the people who are working from home are often working harder than ever, as these workers now account for more than two-thirds of all U.S. economic activity(1). There is no reason to think that these circumstances are going to change anytime soon, as a number of corporations are developing plans for more work-from-home options beyond the pandemic and working days spent at home is expected to increase fourfold from pre-COVID levels (from 5% to 20% of the workforce)(1). For children and teens, life is equally as stressful, as unprecedented numbers of students have started this school year as online or distance learners. It is currently estimated that 93% of households with school-age children reported their children engaged in some form of “distance learning” this school year(2).

A lack of balance between the different areas of your life has been linked to an increase in fatigue, which actually decreases your ability to work productively and think clearly, as well as poor overall health, including worsening symptoms related to many medical conditions and putting you at risk of substance misuse3. Another consequence of lack of life balance is lost time with friends and loved ones, including missing important family events or milestones, which can leave you feeling left out and might harm your relationships (3). Here are some helpful tips that can encourage you to create boundaries and find more balance between the different areas of your life for yourself and your family (3,4):

• Maintain a daily schedule (including breaks), with set start and finish times for work/school
• Have a designated space in your home for work/schoolwork
• Get dressed as you would if going to your office/classroom (shoes optional)
• Do not overschedule yourself and give yourself adequate time to complete tasks
• Do not respond to work/school emails afterhours; turn off any notifications
• Evaluate your priorities; try to shorten your to-do list and delegate tasks when possible
• Practice self-care: set aside time for relaxation and activities that you enjoy
• Eat nutritious foods and make sure you are getting enough water*
• If you are spending your work/school day online, take a technology time out (even if just for fifteen or thirty minutes) each day
• Develop a sleep routine and maintain with a sleep schedule, even on the weekends; aim for 7-9 hours each night*

*Daily diet, water intake, and hours of sleep needed can and will vary from person to person

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto from Pexels

1 https://news.stanford.edu/2020/06/29/snapshot-new-working-home-economy/
2 https://www.census.gov/library/stories/2020/08/schooling-during-the-covid-19-pandemic.html
3 https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/work-life-balance/art-20048134
4 http://everydaywithmadirae.com/wellness-tips-for-fall-2020/