What To Do When The Monday Blues Visit You At Home

Working from home isn’t really a breeze. Here’s how to keep your peace of mind while being productive

Dr Shalini Anant Updated: Apr 9, 2020 14:50:04 IST
What To Do When The Monday Blues Visit You At Home

Living under the shadow of a global health emergency and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic brings with it the necessity for most of us to stay and work at home more than we otherwise would. While this may be a welcome change to some, it poses a difficult challenge for others. Between caring for the family, household chores as well as career demands converging, with no outside help to balance the scales, now, more than ever, our ability to multitask, keep cool under pressure and stay motivated in the face of difficulties is being tested to its limits. But with the right guidance and emotional self-care, these stressful days can be tackled without losing one’s peace of mind or productivity.

Here are a few suggestions to keep your head above the water:

‘Never multiply stressors’

There is a simple principle that helps us stay afloat in nearly all crises. Tackle one major stressor at a time, depending on the urgency and importance of the task. Trying to answer the needs of multiple cries for attention will only overwhelm and exhaust you. So prioritizing, delegating and being honest about how much to take on is key.

Add joy to your to-do list

Consciously include and engage in calming, uplifting activities to counterbalance the stress of working hard to meet work deadlines and family needs. This not only means physical self-care—sleeping adequately, eating well, staying hydrated, exercising—but also carving out time to do things that you associate with joy–dancing to your favourite music, doing something creative, connecting with those you’ve lost touch with, lending a helping hand to a needy neighbour and the like.


Tune in to yourself

Work pressures in times of crisis tend to bring out the worst in us. Being self-aware helps us know our minds, better identify emotions and be comfortable with oneself, so even solitude can be enjoyable. It’s also important that we acknowledge, express and validate our experience(s). For instance, it’s okay to need and take a break if we’re tired, and don’t berate yourself for feeling sad, stuck, frustrated or scared—all natural responses to our circumstances.

Share the Load

It helps us and the people we live with to keep a balance between our sense of responsibilities and rights. If we are feeling overworked with office or home tasks, politely but firmly ask for the work to be shared or reduced.

Look at the bright side

There’s always a silver lining even in the darkest times. Use this opportunity of more home-time to catch up on pending work, declutter or try new hobbies and learn new skills. If, for you, office demands are minimal, use this time to slow down and do absolutely nothing as well for once! It’s not often that our rat-race lives takes a pause so remember that it’s okay to do whatever we feel like (in addition to the different chores we all have, of course!).


Choose information wisely

While staying informed is important, try opting for fewer news notifications, since constant consumption of information about the emergency can be anxiety-provoking, and sometimes inauthentic. Choose online tutorials, learning channels, humour pages, positive posts or creativity challenges to keep your mind sharp, your skills updated and your spirits lifted.

Create habits

Whether it's your daily morning coffee run at the cafeteria, the regularly scheduled team meetings or even the familiar commute, a regular routine with its rituals make our time can be predictable, but give us purpose and direction, and can be strangely comforting. They also offers us a sense of control and assurance when so much in the world renders us helpless.

Bring back those patterns in the new work-from-home times we are living in. Make a designated workspace that mimics your office work station, create a broad structure for your day with specific hours set for calls, meetings, hands-on work as well as for self care. Build in home chores as well as fun activities too, and take breaks at the times you usually would.


Dr Shalini Anant is a Mumbai-based clinical psychologist.
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