Guest Blog by Jillian Harrington, Clearview Cottage Resort & Kawartha Chamber Board Vice President
With the pandemic, there have been many changes and adaptations for everyone in the past year, but a major change that holds a great deal of stress and anxiety is a work-life balance when stuck at home or “locked down.”
Having chosen this life many years ago and being raised in it myself, I figured I might be able to share some tips that have helped us over the years.
There Will Always Be More Work
My dad used to say, “ your work will take as much as you will give it,” as you can imagine with running a business, looking after a property, people and 22 cottages, it takes a lot. It is very easy to get lost in the long list of things you have to or want to accomplish. You need to have some balance.
Try to create a designated space where you do work, and if at all possible avoid your bedroom/ bed. We often link location to work and productivity, so it is very hard to shut your mind off when your workspace is supposed to be your place of rest. This does not mean it has to be an office, we use our dining room table during the day, and after dinner, nothing ends up back on it until the next workday. Family time starts at dinner.
You Time / Family Time
It is of the utmost importance that when you disconnect from work you engage fully in yourself, and your loved ones. This will increase your feelings of joy and decrease your feelings of stress. You are not getting either accomplished if you are thinking about work while reading your book, making dinner or bathing your child. Relish in the joy that your commute is shorter giving you more time to enjoy the little moments. This saving of time should not be poured into work.
We find that connecting with nature allows a great deal of stress relief. It doesn’t have to be long, but get outdoors and enjoy your break. The work will still be there when you get back and as we have established above, it is never-ending. Take this ‘me’ time to remember you are a living breathing human outside of the house. Take in the sun, smells and sounds of the outdoors.
Take A Breath
If for some reason you can not get outside, open a window, and take a breath. Push back from your computer and walk to the fridge, or make a cup of tea. Sit in a different location for a few minutes and decompress. Try to do this a few times a day. At the end of the workday, close that laptop and don’t return until the next day.
Make a List
I know this sounds like a typical thing, but it is super valuable. We keep a big whiteboard with a list of to-do items on it (it’s always a long list), we then put a mark next to the items we feel we can tackle that day. We erase each task as it is completed or put a line through it if we want to see what we have accomplished. This breaks items down into more manageable goals, while still seeing the big picture so you feel like you haven’t forgotten anything.
Don’t check your phone or email after a certain time at night. This one is big for us. My parents always put our phone on hold while we ate dinner every night while I was growing up. We sat at the table and enjoyed time together sharing how our days went and enjoying each other’s company.
Working, living, schooling from home can be very isolating compared to our usual social interactions. It is important to incorporate time into your week to connect with others. The fact is, although you may feel isolated, you are not in this alone. Call a friend, write an email, use FaceTime or join a zoom call. From a 5-minute check-in with a friend to a book group or a reunion of friends, building time into your schedule to socially connect with others helps us shed some burden and share joy.
At the end of the day, the most important thing is to take care of yourself and your family. It’s about building routines into your schedule that creates a disconnect from work to home, from office to family. When you find a better balance you will also find you work productively and your joy with your loved ones will make you happier and give you greater peace.
I’m Jillian Harrington, the third generation of our family to be running Clearview Cottage Resort and after 55 years in business, spending time with the people you love is important. Today, our slogan holds truer than ever: No words. Just Memories.