Part of the frustration that can come with this sort of change to our normal daily life is sustaining our normal expectations while living and working in an abnormal way. This goes for how we work, how we eat, how we exercise, how we create, sleep and plan. The secret to avoiding some of the frustration is to adjust our expectations – for now.
If you’re working reduced hours whether at home or at your place of work, you are likely able to adjust your schedule and some expectations. This is a great opportunity to build some new, positive habits by planning ahead to use your time wisely and productively.
- Awaken at the same time. Try to keep it around your usual time so there won’t be a big adjustment when you go back to work full-time.
- Use your commute time. If you aren’t commuting, use the extra time to ease into your morning with 10-30 minutes of exercise, meditation, reading, and a healthy breakfast. No, you can’t go to the gym right now, but you can figure out some ways to keep up some of your routine from home. Meditation (look online for free options for guided meditation) can help create mindfulness and ease anxiety during this unusual time.
- Take a break from at-home work. If you’re used to grinding through the workday without breaks, rethink that. A break gives your mind and body the reprieve it needs. Those with children or family at home can use the time to reconnect with them and enjoy each other’s company. Have lunch outdoors on good-weather days to recharge and ready yourself for the afternoon’s work. That’s better than the work lunchroom any day!
- Adjust expectations of your kids. If you have kids, you know this time has been tough on them and on you. They’re not in their normal routine, they can’t see their friends, they can’t even go to the playground at the park. That’s a recipe for tension and mayhem. So, you’re it! You’re in charge of their schooling, daycare, mind-filling and energy-burning activities – while you’re trying to work from home. Create a schedule of activities including learning, chores, creative play, outdoor and nap/quiet times. If you need to discuss adjusted work hours/expectations with your supervisor to accommodate this unusual situation, do it. Check the Workforce Services website if you have questions about your rights or eligibility for benefits surrounding daycare and your work hours.
- If your work hours are over earlier than usual, plan to get outdoors for some exercise and fresh air, start a project you’ve been waiting to do, catch up on correspondence and reading, and remember to play. Make a list and schedule certain days or times for certain activities. Planning is key to making the most of your time at home the same way it is at work.
- Eat healthy. Now is the time to learn how to properly meal-plan and shop for only those things you need to make your week’s meals. It’s not the time to indulge (too much) with unnecessary, unhealthy items. There are online planning tools to help you build a healthy, delicious week of meals. Remember to wear your facemask at the store and wash your hands thoroughly before and after you shop.
- Adjust your TV consumption. Don’t overdose on news about the pandemic. Get one daily news report and move on to entertaining or educational programming. Choose the time you will stop watching television and begin winding down for a reasonable bedtime to allow for 8 hours of rest. Rest is an important part of staying healthy. This is an easy one – you can do it.
- Shut off the TV. Even better! Now is a great to play games, work puzzles or work on projects alone or with your family. This is an adjustment that you can enjoy living with.
For those with digestive health issues, be sure to stock up on the items that keep you feeling healthy and keep your digestive system running smoothly. Whether you have celiac disease, inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or other digestive health issues, be sure you are taking the precautions necessary to stay well. If you are immunocompromised, do what you can to minimize your risk of contracting the virus. Plan daily exercise and dietary goals for staying well.
Know that your providers at Granite Peaks Gastroenterology are available to you, even during the COVID-19 situation. We have telehealth appointments available that let you connect with your GI provider from the safety and privacy of your home. It’s easy to set up, convenient and safe!
For those who have symptoms that may necessitate an in-person appointment, our clinic is making it safe for you to come in to see us. We are scheduling patients to allow for social distancing, pre-screening patients, performing extra cleaning steps between patients and wearing personal protective equipment.
For now, we are all adjusting expectations and actions to stay well and avoid either contracting COVID-19 or spreading it to others, and it’s working. Keep up the good work, Utah! We wish everyone safe and healthy days ahead.