Are you feeling the pressure to be the perfect parent, the perfect home schooler, the perfect partner or the perfect employee?
Are you juggling a handful of different roles but all under the same roof? It can be overwhelming can’t it?
As an NHS GP and Private Health and Life Coach, I’m seeing many of my patients and clients feeling overwhelmed by the pressures that have been put on them during lockdown.
I thought I would share my top tips on how to take the pressure off yourself and bring back some calm
1. Establish Boundaries
It’s helpful to identify the individual things that are adding pressure to your life and causing you stress. Write them down, it doesn’t matter how long the list is!
Put those pressures into categories such as: home, work, kids, partner etc. Then dedicate a portion of your day to each category.
Having clear boundaries between your different roles will help you gain more control, allowing you time and energy for each category. I understand there will always be an element of crossover, but having your individual roles defined in your head will certainly help with the overwhelm.
2. Maintain a Routine
Maintaining as much of a routine as you can enables you to feel more in control of your day. Try to wake up at the same time each day, have your morning routine however that may look, set your goals or intentions for the day and away you go.
If you are working from home, try to stick to working hours so it doesn’t merge into your home life. Enjoy your normal mealtimes and breaks so that you maintain those boundaries you’ve set. If you are home schooling, try to dedicate a portion of the day towards this and maybe use this time for you to have a break from your own work. And exercise might be a nice excuse to take time for yourself.
There’s no right or wrong but having some form of routine will really help you reduce stress and anxiety.
3. Don’t aim for perfection
You do not need to be the perfect partner/parent/employee/home schooler. You’ve put that pressure on yourself. No-one else expects you to be perfect, so why expect it from yourself? All it does is add unnecessary pressure.
Make sure that the goals you are setting for the day are realistic and achievable for you and your family dynamic. Don’t try to achieve a week’s worth of work in a day or reinvent the wheel. Take each day as it comes and if you don’t achieve something, don’t worry. The main thing is to focus on the positives from the day. What did you achieve? This will give you a greater sense of purpose and achievement.
4. Take time for yourself
Please do not neglect yourself whilst you’re juggling all of these different roles. Your mental and physical health is hugely important. Remember, we are living through unprecedented times at the moment. This is not the norm. We are suddenly having to adjust to juggle different roles under the same roof which we haven’t necessarily had to do before. It will be hard, but don’t forget to be kind to yourself. Dedicate some time for yourself to unwind and reset. You could wake up a little bit earlier to take time to meditate or exercise. Or try one at the end of your working day. Ideally, I’d suggest at least 30 minutes of time to yourself. That may feel hugely indulgent but your mental and physical health will be hugely grateful for the daily self-care and balance.
5. Focus on the things going right
Finally, gratitude is something I’m hugely passionate about because even after a chaotic day there is always something you can be grateful for. Try to find 1 thing you are grateful for and it can be something simple – like food on the table. This really helps to reduce stress by bringing you back to the present moment. Share it with others or involve the family to establish gratitude practice in your home. It really is a powerful tool.
Remember, there’s no right or wrong way to be in lockdown and you’re doing a great job! We’re in this together.
Dr Christie Lewis is an NHS GP and a Private Health and Life Coach specialising in stress, anxiety and burnout. Having experienced this in her career and seen hundreds of patients and clients going through the same thing on a daily basis, she has become hugely passionate and an expert in this field. She offers 1:1 Coaching for anyone struggling with any aspect of their life and you can reach her on social media or via her website.
Social Media: @doctorchristielewis