Work-Life Balance during a pandemic

3 minutes to read

The last year and a half have been intense to say the least. I always aspired to have a greater work-life balance and I thought working from home would enable that. I was wrong, point blank. My personal and professional lives have merged into one: in the boundaries of my room where I have my bed and my work desk. I go from my bed to my desk and back, each and every single day. It’s absolutely draining and redundant.

So, not the perkiest of intros but humor me. Do any of these statements resonate with you?

  • I feel like I don’t have enough time in the day to accomplish everything I need to.
  • I don’t feel fulfilled, no matter how much I get done.
  • I abandon my personal feelings/boundaries often to get things done at work.
  • By the time I finish work, I don’t have any more energy to do anything for myself.
  • I hate my job.
  • I have lost motivation/energy for things I used to enjoy doing.
  • I feel alone.
  • I want something different.

I could go on and on about how I have been feeling for the last year. I’m not deliberately trying to be a Debbie Downer but it truly feels never-ending. I know it’s partially due to just being in a very new place in my life but it’s also due to the pandemic. Being home more has not made me happier or “have more time.” It’s only blurred the lines between the different commitments I have.

Trying to “achieve” a better work-life balance is where we went wrong in the first place. The fact that we have gotten to a point where work has taken over so much of our lives that we have to try to fit life into it is problematic. It should be the other way around. This emphasis/correlation between work and success is threatening the personal happiness, mental health, and emotional fulfillment of many. And I wouldn’t say this is a problem that the pandemic brought along with it; it’s just that the pandemic (and working from home) has exacerbated these circumstances, making it harder and harder to peel away from the related anxiety and stress.

Recently, I read my dear friend’s article on her blog, Haniya Khalid (WFH Tips: Mental Health & Productivity – Haniya Khalid) and I must say, the tips helped. Because I was feeling confined to my room all day, the two that I found really helpful were making my bed every day and delineating between spaces for different tasks. I made my bed in the past but not intentionally. I would tidy up and call it a day. But actually taking the time to make my bed, position my pillows, turn on a candle or spray some room spray has tremendously helped me start my day. It’s a major accomplishment as soon as I wake up and I automatically feel more motivated. Subsequently, I don’t touch my bed again all day. I delineate spaces and utilize more of my apartment. I eat in my living room now, work only at my desk (unless I’m on a call while making breakfast/lunch, in which case I just use my phone), watch tv in the living room, etc. I highly recommend reading Haniya’s article (and her whole blog site) if you are feeling like you could use a refresher on setting boundaries!

I personally thought the pandemic and confinement living would end with 2020. But here we are in June 2021 and we’re still dealing with some of the same, prolonged issues. Things are slowly opening back up and that’s great but the feeling of exile doesn’t just go away. I still feel like there’s so much to do to get out of that funk so I’m going to keep trying and keep moving! I hope Haniya’s article and this one helps you step away for a second and reflect on how solitary living and dealing with working from home during a pandemic can take a toll on us – and what we can do about it!

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