Accepting the new normal: Working and learning from home

If we’re not already wondering ourselves, someone is probably joking about it on social media: “what day is it?”

The CDC has been keeping on an eye on the coronavirus since the beginning of 2020. The United States has seen over 300,000 cases this year and over 7000 deaths since January. The global pandemic has caused the country’s leaders including those at the state and city level to take action to do what they can to keep you safe. Some states and cities have a ‘Safer at Home’ executive order aimed at having citizens staying at home except for critical and essential services.

Setting a Routine

This means people are having to work from home and then staying home. Children are having to do their schooling from home as well. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are used to routine and structure. We have dealt with it since before we could possibly remember with our caretakers put us down for our usual nap as toddlers, the school bell ringing marking us tardy or on time for class, and to make sure we clock in and out on time for work. Humans are truly creatures of habit, and COVID-19 has seemed to disrupt our normal routines and staying at home for work and school, has become our new normal, at least for now.

Amanda Marker is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor and is the Lead Outpatient Therapist at the Youth Crisis Center. She says with routines as we know it being interrupted across the glove, it’s important to re-establish routines for oneself. Marker suggests trying to make a reasonable schedule you feel you can stick to. She believes creating a routine can cut down on stress by providing structure to ‘what comes next.’ This is especially helpful for kids who are home all day when they are used to having a structure in school.

Marker says it’s important during this time to not put too much pressure on yourself. She goes on to say we are experiencing this new way of life collectively.

Time Management

Working and schooling from home can be difficult if it’s not something we are typically used to. For many of us, the boundaries of work and home life are not as clear as they were. Marker says it’s important to set reasonable limits, build in short breaks throughout the day, and find time to disengage from work.

Marker points to the Pomodoro method as a way to manage your time. It’s a technique in which you set a timer for 25 minutes and then take a five-minute break from your work or study. After four 25 minute work sessions, you are then allowed to take a 15 to 30-minute break.

Disengaging from your job or schoolwork is just as important as practicing time management. Marker recommends creating an “end of the day” ritual. This could be changing clothes to signal your workday is over, turning your work phone off or just simply closing your computer.

Designating a work from home or school space

According to research by Anja Jamrozik, a cognitive scientist, states there are five basic needs to meet to create an effective work from home space “Access to natural light, a comfortable temperature, good air quality, comfortable furniture, and a strategy for minimizing distractions.”

Everybody’s situation is different. Someone may live in a small two-bedroom apartment or have three kids who all need to their schoolwork onlineNot everyone has the opportunity to close a door and set up a desk in a spare room with natural lighting. Marker wants you to remember that it is okay if you can’t do that. Whether you’re trying to set up something for you, your kids, or the whole family the key is to create a routine and make space for it each day. Making space in your home for education shows your kids that it’s important to you and you value learning. Making space for your work helps you focus that it’s time to work and it could be your ‘getaway’ from what else is happening in the world.

Communication is also important when it comes to designating a work or schooling space. You want to limit distraction if possible. Marker says it’s important to set guidelines. If you’re working from your bedroom, close the door to signal to your family members or roommates that you are working. If you are working in an open area, you could try putting on headphones. Marker explains this could be a visual cue to others to not disturb you when you are in the zone working. She also recommends talking to those in the household ahead of time to set boundaries, guidelines, or a schedule when it comes to working from home. By doing that, everybody can help curb the interruptions.

Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health Program

The Youth CrisisCenter was founded in 1974 as Florida’s first run-away program and has grown to be one of the largest and best-known providers of services for youth and families. Nationally recognized as setting a standard in youth services, YCC has been ranked as one of the top five programs in the United States by the Youth Policy Institute in Washington DC. Throughout the past 45 years, YCC has helped thousands of youth and their families overcome adversity and build stronger relationships. 

Are you concerned about relationship issues with your child or between family members? The Youth Crisis Center’s Outpatient Behavioral Health program provides comprehensive mental health and psychiatric care to children as young as 3, as well as their families. Parents may receive individual and family counseling services regardless if their child is a YCC client.


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