Q: I am worried about my job. I work for a large financial services company. I am struggling with balancing work, remote learning for my kids and my household. I feel like I have moved from an A performer to a C performer. What can I do?
A: This pandemic has escalated almost all of our stress levels. Many parents are in an incredibly difficult situation, especially if their children are enrolled in a remote learning program.
Here are a few recommendations:
- Give yourself a break. We have all had to reset expectations during 2020. This pandemic won’t last forever thankfully.
- Give your kids a break. This environment is new and stressful for them too. They probably miss their social interactions, whether it be a bus ride to school or an afterschool club.
- Talk to your manager. Explain that you are trying your very best but this pandemic is stressful for you as you are navigating new territory. Share what you are doing well and how you may need some additional flexibility.
- Explore ways to reduce your stress. Take a walk. Maintain connections with friends and family, even if virtually. Get outside.
- Contact your company’s EAP (employee assistance provider). An EAP can often help with how to manage during these stressful times.
- Consider a new hobby. Cook a new recipe. Start a new puzzle. Dust off a board game.
- Attack a closet and clean it out. Donate unwanted clothes.
- Limit your time on social media and watching the news. It can be overwhelming and likely won’t change the pace of a vaccine.
- Brainstorm volunteer opportunities for your family. Could you family help a neighbor with raking leaves? Could you pick up gift cards for a family in need? Could you donate non-perishables to a local food pantry? Giving back is good for the soul.
- Reach out to your primary care physician or health care provider. There are many who are struggling. You are not alone.
It sounds like a vaccine will be available in early 2021. However, 2021 feels like a long way away, especially for us extroverts. Be kind to yourself and realize that we will likely see brighter days ahead.
Pattie Hunt Sinacole is a human resources expert and works for First Beacon Group in Hopkinton, an HR consulting firm. She contributes weekly to Boston.com Jobs and the Boston Sunday Globe Money & Careers section.