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“You’re Not Working from Home, You’re Home Working Through a Pandemic.”

Brittany Hall

Busy woman doing gymnastics for body relaxingThis quote has been my mantra during this unpresented time of COVID-19. Every time I feel unmotivated, I remember this quote. Every time I reach for that extra cookie or pack of fruit snacks, I remind myself of this quote. For many of us right now there’s a pressure to continue life and work as usual. While also prioritizing our physical and emotional well-being. There’s a pressure to show up to work or school with the same zeal and enthusiasm as before. There’s an unspoken expectation to adjust to these virtual workspaces as if it’s the same as going into the office or school. Financial pressures to maintain similar workloads.  A pressure to make birthdays and graduations just as special through a screen as they were in person.

With all the pressure and expectations, whether internal or external, I’ve had to remind myself that none of this is normal and it’s okay if I don’t respond as if it is. It’s okay if I’m a little less productive during the week or uninterested in attending zoom birthday parties. It’s okay to give myself time and space to mentally and emotional adjust to this present reality.

Here are a few things I’ve done to maintain perspective on the fact that I’m home working through a pandemic and not simply working from home.

Creating and maintaining a schedule has helped me adjust to this new and temporary reality of working from home. However, that schedule has a modified work time and more scheduled breaks. It was unrealistic for me to work from 8-5 in an uncomfortable dining room chair while looking at a computer screen. I had to adjust my schedule to something feasible for the work environment I was in with more breaks that allowed me to disconnect from the screen and the work.

  • Making time for the things I enjoy but with moderation and balance in mind. Too much of anything is never a good thing. Eating comfort foods and engaging in activities that bring me joy during this stressful time has been beneficial. However, overindulgence could become problematic to my health and well-being.
  • Getting half dressed. Wearing sweatpants with a nice blouse has been a visual reminder that I’m home working through a pandemic. I would never wear these outfits to the office, but I also would not wear a suit during pandemic.
  • Changing clothes after I’m done working. This has been another visual reminder that my work time and leisure time are still separate. I change my clothes every evening to remind my brain that I’m no longer in work mode.
  • Accepting some loss. In order to maintain my mental and emotional health, I’ve had to make adjustments that have resulted in loss. Loss of connection, income, and even motivation. This is a difficult season for everyone, and we are all experiencing loss in some way. It’s been important for me to sit with that feeling and acknowledge that some of it is outside of my control.

Disconnecting from the screen…all of them. Being at home I’m forced to use my phone, computer, and tv much more often, for both enjoyment and work. Consequently, I’ve had to be more intentional about disconnecting, not responding to the text, or joining the zoom calls to recalibrate. It’s required me to sit still, pull out my coloring book and just enjoy the moments with no technology.

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