Since the COVID-19 pandemic, this is the first week that I'm working from home with my six-year-old daughter. I've had the pleasure of a flexible working schedule for the last few years; she's had three days to learn Google Classroom and get acclimated to virtual learning.
Working from home is a great option. Working from home because you have to is OK. Working from home with kids can be difficult.
Without the proper infrastructure, there's a lot that can go wrong, from missed assignments to a lack of focus. Honestly, the uncertainty from all of the news websites doesn't help either. The internal unrest is enough to drive the sane insane.
So how am I coping? I'm not. Each day comes with its own set of challenges, and I'm doing my best to be present and intentional with my time. More importantly, finding ways to keep my daughter engaged and inspired in the absence of normality. I've decided the only way we're going to get through this is together. So, I'm committing more time towards mindfulness. Sure, it's still business as usual for most companies, including my own. But our attention is being pulled in many directions, making it impossible to work at full capacity.
Mindfulness is the basic human ability to be fully present, aware of where we are and what we're doing, and not overly reactive or overwhelmed by what's going on around us. It can be activated through proven techniques, particularly seated, walking, standing, and moving meditation. When we're mindful, we reduce stress, enhance performance, gain insight and awareness through observing our mind, and increase our attention to others' well-being.
Mindfulness is not something you have to cultivate, it's already within you. It's that act of choosing to observe your breathing and your thoughts; to name them and experience them fully, and to practice non-attachment.
To participate in mindfulness is to engage in the act of refocusing the mind.
Mindfulness sparks innovation by leading us to effective responses to seemingly complicated problems. For instance, the challenges that come from working from home can be solved by working in increments. By implementing these work strategies, we can reduce stress and enhance our ability to perform.
Research has shown that mindfulness helps us reduce anxiety and depression. Mindfulness teaches us how to respond to stress with the awareness of what is happening in the present moment, rather than simply acting instinctively, unaware of what emotions or motives may be driving that decision.
Here are some other ways to cultivate mindfulness:
- Live in the moment
- Accept yourself and others
- Focus on your breathing
- Eat mindfully
- Walk mindfully
- Observe your breathing
- Connect with your senses
- Pause between actions
- Practice active listening
- Get lost in the flow of doing things you love
- Meditate daily
- Reduce the amount of news you read
- Embrace silence
If you're home with your child, I suggest adhering to a schedule and carving out time for deep breathing and meditation. Whether it be during the morning or after lunch, mindfulness can bring peace to your home. With limited playdates and fresh air, give your children the freedom to practice on their own. They may get frustrated during this period of social distancing, but this can have a calming effect.
As the governments work to flatten the curve, I'll continue to make my family's health and safety a number one priority. Mindfulness gives me the tools to manage my stress and remain agile. The silver lining in this whole situation is that I get to spend time with my baby. Watching her adapt to this new lifestyle is inspiring; kids are so resilient. She asked me if there would be school on Saturday and Sunday since they're working remotely, I responded, "No." She instantly smiled and said, "Great 'cause I need a break." We all do, baby.
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