By Abby Glaser
It’s hard to believe we’re nearing a year of life in a pandemic! What started for many of us as a temporary adjustment has become a new way of life. This is especially evident in the distribution of labor for many couples with children! With our children doing virtual school, I became responsible for overseeing the education of our children while trying to work from home. I began to burn out quickly, lashing out in frustration at everyone in our household. I wasn’t alone in that. Research shows that women are three times as likely to report suffering from significant mental health consequences due to covid. Women also account for 80% of those who have left the workforce in the past year. We quickly realized that how we had always done things wasn’t going to work and we had to start from scratch in the division of labor. Here are a couple of ways we have done that!
1. Adjust your expectations. Your productivity may not be the same from home. Your straight A student may get a B. Your healthy diet may be suffering. It is easy to expect ourselves to maintain all of the same standards we did previously. But the reality is nothing is like before and we can’t expect ourselves to be either. The physical, emotional and social toll of an entire year of crisis is significant. For many of us there is a need to reevaluate what our priorities are, what we can realistically maintain and what we need to let go for now.
2. Set clear work and time boundaries. If you find yourself and your children working and doing school virtually, you may feel like you never leave the office or the classroom. Working after hours, answering emails or doing homework around the clock isn’t good for any of us. Try to set firm boundaries for when you are and are not at work or school.
3. Prioritize communication and connection with your partner. One great way to do that (for only 5-10 minutes a day!) is the RINGS chat. You can see how this works using the button below. It’s important during heightened stress to keep our connection as couples. This is a simple tool to help you lean on one another during this time as opposed to turning on each other!
4. Don’t be afraid to reach out for help if you need it! That might be venting to a friend, relationship coaching, counseling or a combination of all of those! Even the strongest relationships have been tested in the past year. Sometimes in unprecedented times we need help accessing some new skills. If you are feeling in need of help but not sure how to proceed, we are here to help! Our intakes are always free and we will do our best to come up with the best plan moving forward for you. You can contact us here...
Overall, this pandemic has brought to the forefront what is most important in life: our relationships. We can work together towards a new normal for our families!
Lavern & Ronda Nissley are co-directors of Encompass. Married since 1978, both enjoy coffee, riding their tandem bicycle and working together to build strong relationships.