Industrial psychologist shares tips on Balancing work, home and me-time during the pandemic

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Kolkata: The current curfew in some parts of the country has an effect on most of us. With no house-help and the mounting pressure of working from home as well as working for home, it leaves us no space to sit and relax for a few minutes. What adds to our worries are the increasing number of Covid-19 cases, leaving us anxious and worried for ourselves as well as our loved ones. During such a situation, it is important to balance work, home and give ourselves the time and space to do things that we like.

Ami Sanghavi, a senior analyst who works in the financial sector and has been successfully working from home says, “Don’t think you have got to do it all. Divide the work between your family members to ensure that there is division of labour. This helps them acknowledge and respect household chores. Also, try using products like Nimeasy that are innovative and make it easier and faster to do household chores.”

Industrial psychologist, Rashi Dhilla, says, “In troubling times like this, having a routine helps us in making sense of our day and gives us a sense of normalcy, while pushing us to complete tasks. However, it is important to remember that this routine is not a strict schedule, i.e., it is not set in stone. Balance out your routine to ensure that you give some time in the day to let yourself enjoy what you do.”

Below are some of the other ways in which Rashi says you can ensure that you are able to balance your day out:

Create a task list for the at the beginning of each day- Write down the set of tasks you would like to accomplish in the day and divide them into work, home and self-care.  For example, cook all 3 meals and sweeping the floor would fall under home; call parents to check on their well-being, meditate, exercise, could come under self-care. If thinking about the office makes you anxious, all work related tasks could be mentioned after you catch up on any pending e-mails, when you sit to work.

Don’t start the day with office related work- Give your mind some time before sitting in front of the laptop. If that means, getting up an hour early, do so, as it will help you in separating work and personal life.

Meal planning- Instead of waking up every day and thinking, “what do I cook today?”, create a meal planner for the entire week. This will also assist you in prepping and ordering anything you may require-from Moong dal for the Pessaratu to Avocados for your guacamole!

Chop vegetables- Chop all the vegetables and keep them ready for your meals in the morning or the previous night. You could also cut fruits and vegetables over the weekend, store them in air tight containers and deep-freeze them.

Cooking- Try to cook your lunch and breakfast by 9:30 AM. With summers upon us, it will be comparatively cooler and more comfortable to work near the stove in the morning. This will also ensure that you don’t need to divert your attention from work during noon and can eat your lunch on time.

Mopping your home- With the increasing anxiousness about the virus, cleaning the home with a floor cleaner like Nimyle will protect you against the Covid-19 coronavirus. It is ideal to clean your home twice a day, but cleaning it once can also leave you with a sense of security and safety, thus giving your mind a break from the constant fear.

Washing vessels- It may be tempting to leave all the vessels in the sink where it piles up to be cleaned in the night. But, doing the same in small batches can keep the kitchen clean. A new dishwashing gel called Nimeasy claims that soaking vessels in water infused with the gel for 20 minutes will require no scrubbing when you rinse them out. Take those 20 minutes between soaking and rinsing for yourself – do some light reading, mediate or do nothing. Look out for such efficient products that help you create time for yourself or facilitate multi-tasking.

Work- While working, keep a bottle of water with you and ensure that you remain hydrated throughout the day.

Finish work on time- Don’t extend your working hours. Give yourself a deadline and stick to it. You may think that you are able to deliver better by working longer hours, but you aren’t being productive in the time that has been allotted to you. Working longer hours over a period of time will also burn you out.

Take a time out- Don’t jump into household chores after completing office related tasks, give yourself some time to step away from it. Take half an hour after work to unwind and exercise. It will set the mood for you to do something you enjoy and take away the stress of the day.

Make dinner- Make a light dinner or a one pot dinner like Khichdi that requires less work and is nutritious as well.

Wash dishes in the night- Always wash any remaining dishes in the night. As tiring as it could be, washing all the dishes in the night, will help you the next day as you enter an odour free and clean environment.

Remember to take some time to be with yourself- Remember those hours you spend travelling to and fro from work, the carefree time where you zoned out and thought about neither work nor home? Try and find a time in your day to zone out. Try and find it while you’re taking a shower, or go out for a short walk/jog.

Exercise – try and include at least 3 hours of exercise every week, in any form best suitable to you.

Regulate your sleep cycle – the lockdown has pushed our sleep routines into disarray. Make sure to get at least 7 hours of sleep each night. To help you fall asleep better, try to limit your phone; don’t look at your phone for half an hour before you intend to fall asleep.