Can Life After Coronavirus Be Better Balanced Than Before?
So, we are approaching life after coronavirus. In Australia, restrictions are starting to lift.
It has been interesting talking to people who are loving this working from home and Covid isolation business! Okay, I am referring to those who still have their jobs and aren’t experiencing the stress that comes with losing a job, who are carrying on with their “usual” working lives.
My Iso Life
I am getting stronger.
I for one have noticed that doing Pilates online (live via Zoom – it’s fab) with my usual instructors has resulted in my body being more sore, indicating I am working harder. How can this be?
I figure I am not distracted by other participants (though there is a certain labradoodle who seems to think that me on a mat equals time to throw a ball), the music, or what else is going on around me in the studio. I had thought I was focused during the live classes but my sore abs and glutes are telling a different story. Being in isolation has helped me to connect with my individual muscles and activate them in a more focused way.
I am learning to be less “busy”.
Having always been a VERY BUSY PERSON, I thought that I had cracked the code of how to be less busy now that my sons have finished school, but alas, no!
Isolation has taught me that I spend a lot of time doing “stuff” away from home. I’m usually occupied with supermarkets, walking my dogs in my local shopping precinct looking at the latest in the boutiques of an afternoon, socialising (usually on a Friday and weekends as I work other days), running errands (there always seems to be something that I need to collect/source/drop off for a son or my husband, or get the dogs to the vet).
I’ve found more time for different things.
I am not doing any of that “stuff” at the moment, which means I have time to do things like a jigsaw puzzle (I mean, I am still working so it’s not like I am bored, but everyone else was doing puzzles and I felt left out), knitting a cardigan for my dad (knitting nerd), cleaning the house more regularly (yawn), and generally staying on top of “things” (you know, home stuff).
My afternoon walks have disappeared with the social distancing. Instead, I am getting my groceries on the way home from the morning dog walk. The dogs probably don’t notice because they are happy to have us all at home, and it has resulted in more time for other jobs.
An Opportunity To Design a New Life After Coronavirus
Now that some restrictions are lifting, I am finding myself pondering what my life might look like in the near future.
What do I want it to look like?
Well, I am sure that I will keep exercising daily either in the studio or at home, so that part is easy.
I will consider whether to start offering face-to face-therapy sessions again, or remain online as they are presently. These are pretty easy ones for me.
I find greater difficulty when I consider the “wasted” time I usually spend doing “stuff”. Can I streamline these tasks into a specific time or day? I had to do this when my children were younger and life was more hectic but have let my “life admin” splurge out to any day at all.
Not batching my tasks onto specific days is less efficient. This realisation aligns me with a value I have around achievement – I want to get more done in a day. Driving to and from shopping centres and the other ways I seem to lose time makes me feel less efficient (and then, less motivated).
How Will Your Life After Coronavirus Look?
What improvements have you noticed throughout your iso life?
What do you find you have more time for?
Are there things you are doing now that you don’t want to give up?
How can you maintain some of the balance you have achieved in this strange lockdown state and design a new life after coronavirus as the restrictions begin to lift?
Are you less stressed because you aren’t racing to the gym as soon as you wake, racing to get to the office, racing back home post-workout? Is it much more enjoyable to saunter to your local park or exercise in the lounge room? Is it sustainable?
Post-Covid Working Life
What about the commute to work? I bet there are few people missing that! Is it possible to work from home a couple of days per week in your post-iso world? Is that a conversation you can open up?
What about working overtime? I can imagine some people are still working to deadlines and needing to work some later nights. But for others, are you finding it is easier to get your work done by “quitting time” at home than you do in the office? Why is that?
It could be due to more focused working (or less if you have a pet/kids/partner/a phone), or maybe your boss is less likely to ask for “one more thing” before you leave if this request has to be made via email? Maybe they still ask but you are able to say no more easily or ignore the email until your next work day?
Rethinking Your Work/Life Balance After Lockdown
Can you carry this protection of your leisure time into the workplace when you return to normal working arrangements?
What would it be like to be one of the people who leave on time most days?
How does it feel to you to imagine saying no to a work request? Does it fill you with dread?
Rethinking Your Social Life Balance After Lockdown
What about the endless nights out with friends?
Do you miss your mates but want more balance between going out all weekend and having a weekend with some leisurely down time?
How do you say no to social invites without causing offence?
What if you say no once and don’t get invited again?
Rethinking Your Family Life Balance After Lockdown
Are you loving that the kids are doing less and not rushing them to a different activity every other afternoon?
How can you streamline their leisure time (and that of the whole family)?
Is it possible to drop an activity or two (and save some $) so that there can be some afternoons at home just relaxing, having an after-school snack at a leisurely pace, and discussing the day’s events?
These are all great ways to keep that connection that is forged when we have holidays together or are in isolation (!).
How To Create A New Life After Coronavirus
All of these adjustments require two things:
- An awareness that you want to make these changes a regular thing in your life, and why the changes matter (your values dictate your “why).
- Assertive communication to convey this message to the people who won’t want you to change (friends, family members, colleagues).
Use Your Values to Prioritise
So, once you have decided what matters most, you then need to prioritise things.
If your kids have many extracurricular activities such as swimming lessons, karate, and art classes, which of these are non-negotiables for you?
If you feel that it is important to know how to swim strongly, maybe swimming lessons are a must. Or you might be very passionate about art and want this to be a part of your child’s life, so keep the art class.
The point is, if you need to make a choice, get in touch with the values that underpin the reasons for X (art class) over Y (swimming lessons). Then can make a decision based on which value is the priority.
If your child is a little older (12 years +) maybe you can help them to decide which activity to drop, according to their values and interests.
Values Are Key to Designing Your Post-Covid Life
It doesn’t matter if we are talking about kids’ activities, our own busy social lives, or managing our work, we need to know why we are saying yes and why we are saying no.
When it is clear that a decision is aligned with a value we hold, we are then able to talk assertively and maintain our position no matter what other people say in response.
What life changes would you like to keep after isolation life? Why? What value underpins this choice?