When it comes to your sanity, working from home and staying at home with the kids full time bring some very similar trials. For the last 2 months I have been at home full time with the kids while Mr C has been working from home. Without some proper ground rules, this could have been a recipe for disaster.
We’ve chosen to keep the kids sharing a room for now. I think it’s good for their relationship and helps them bond. They also both like having the company at night. It means we’ve been able to create an office which keeps whichever one of us is working totally separate from the rest of the house.
The only thing that’s made it tough for us is not having our friends around us. It means that we would pretty much spend all our time together if we didn’t make an effort to get out of the house. Being in each other’s pockets 24/7 is not healthy, and for me makes me want to retreat into myself entirely.
I made Mr C a list when we first moved here, and I try to stick by a few rules myself too. So whether you’re at home full time with the kids, at home working from home, or even both (go you!) here are my top tips for not losing your sanity.
- Get Dressed & Make An Effort
- Start 5 Minutes Early
- Take A Proper Break
- Get Some Air
- See Other People
Mr C and I had a conversation today about motivation. I’ve noticed over the last couple of weeks his outfits for the day have been getting more and more ‘relaxed’. To me, it’s no surprise that his motivation has dwindled along with his attention to clothing detail. As ridiculous as it sounds, what you wear has a direct impact on how you feel, and can really impact your day.
It’s not about wanting to look good for other people, it’s not about putting on a front or anything negative. In fact, I think there’s nothing more positive than getting dressed up knowing you’re not going to see anyone. You’re doing it for you. If you make an effort with your appearance when you wake up, you set yourself up to make an effort with your day. I find my worst days at home with the kids are the days I don’t get dressed properly in the morning.
For me, the same goes even if you’re not working at home (in the traditional sense, cos y’know, kids are hard work!) Getting up and getting your day started even just a few minutes before the kids gives you valuable time to collect your thoughts before being bombarded with shouts for breakfast and crappy nappies! The same goes if you’re working from home; starting just 5 minutes early will make you feel like you’re on the front foot rather than the back foot. So that’s extra motivation x2 before you’re even 1 minute into your day!
Now you’ve given yourself all that extra motivation, the last thing you want to do is kill it all off. Not taking proper breaks is the number one way to do that, so it’s important that you schedule breaks in. It’s also a good idea to schedule breaks and stick to the schedule. That way, there’s no way of forgetting or getting caught up in tasks.
If you’re at home with the kids, it’s an amazing idea to try to fit in a kid-free moment at some point in the day. If your kids nap, give yourself some time then. Forget about tidying, cleaning, washing or anything else that can totally wait. Your well-being is way more important. If your kids are past the nap stage, check out quiet time and the 20/20 rule which I wrote about a few weeks ago. I promise you, it’s a game changer.
Your mind needs fresh air and oxygen to function properly. Getting outside is a great way to refresh your mind if you’ve hit a wall. But even just the simple act of opening a window can blow the cobwebs away so to speak. Standing outside for 5 minutes is a good way to work in a break and give yourself some much needed oxygen. If you’re in an office all day, try to open your window for at least a few minutes every couple of hours. Even if it’s the middle of winter and snowing a blast of cold air will do you good.
This is a big one. For me, in the long term this is probably one of the most important. For someone like me (unsociable twat) it’s not even so much about seeing other people, but just about not seeing my people! There’s no sugar coating it; if you’re at home all the time, whether it’s working or with the kids, the chances are that the only people you see on a daily basis will be your family. I love my family as much as the next mama, but the truth is if I spend all my time in the same 4 walls with them I will end up getting really fed up with them (and they with me). We all need time away from the kids, and our other halves. You know what they say about absence and fondness – totally true.
I call my time away ‘mental breaks’ because that’s exactly what they are. Breaks because I’m going mental and can’t handle human interaction 24/7/365, and a break for my mental capacity. There’s rarely an opportunity when you’re at home all day to let your mind be free and wander. Giving yourself the chance to do that is great for you, and encourages creativity and positivity. So let your mind wander, whether it’s alone or mindless chatter with a mate.