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When Life Hands You Lemons

by Mary Jo Liew ASEBP | April 2 2020

How to create balance when working in times of physical distancing.

Feeling like your world has been turned upside down? What do you do when you feel like you have been overstocked with baskets upon baskets of, not toilet paper, but lemons? Well…you make lemonade of course, or perhaps lemon cake, or lemon pie! With the recent challenge of social distancing, we must find a new way to embrace how we work, live, and play. This is no easy feat but know that you are not alone.

Here are some tips to help keep you productive, while maintaining a work-life balance:

  1. Develop a routine. Brush your teeth and get dressed as if you have somewhere important to go.
  2. Create a dedicated, comfortable space to work. Surround yourself with things that bring you joy. If you can, find a space where you have some sunlight.
  3. Remember your ergonomics. If possible, use a supportive chair and a computer mouse. Remember to get up and stretch at least once an hour. 
  4. Practice self-care and self-compassion. Set realistic expectations both at work and at home. Know that you can’t do everything, and that's okay. Set clearly defined work hours for yourself - and stick to them!
  5. Make a schedule. Write down what you need to accomplish for the day. Schedule the most important tasks for when you have the most energy. Everyone’s peak time will vary, for you it may be first thing in the morning or perhaps the afternoon.
  6. Practice gratitude. Try practicing Three Things daily to remind yourself about things you are grateful for. Practicing gratitude can help build resiliency and maintain a positive mindset despite adversity.
  7. Schedule time for breaks. Get outside, or take a healthy snack break. Fresh air can do wonders for your health, physically and mentally, and eating healthy can help avoid those sugar crashes!
  8. Play music. Music can have a profound impact on your mood, whether you need an energizer such as an at home dance party or perhaps some relaxing music to help unwind.
  9. Learn something new. Take the time to work on professional development. There are many places that offer online courses.   
  10. Stay connected and help others.  Even though we may not be together physically, we are there for each other emotionally.  Arrange virtual meetings and coffee dates with family, friends, and co-workers. Practicing social distancing does not mean you have to socially disconnect, and even a simple phone call can make a big difference.
  11. Find a way to be active. The more movement you have, the better you will sleep. Find a yoga or fitness class online.
  12. Practice healthy sleep hygiene. Limit screen time before bed and try to get seven to eight hours of sleep a night.
  13. You are not alone. Recognize that it’s okay not to be okay. Not Myself Today
  14. Have fun! Find something that makes you laugh every day, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

While we may be limited in our ability to connect face-to-face, social connection is important more than ever before. When life seems to be sour, find the sweetness in everyday life and make some lemonade, or lemon pie, or lemon cake. We are all in this together!

Mary Jo Liew

Mary Jo, or MJ as her family and friends call her, is an ASEBP workplace wellness consultant with a passion for all aspects of mental and physical wellness. When MJ isn’t at work, you can find her chasing after her two boys, or out for family walks with her goldendoodle dog. In her quest for balance she can be found teaching at her local barre studio, or working on testing the perfect cookie recipe.