We are all trying to figure out what our ‘new normal’ is going to look like. Initially, we thought that this was just temporary, but a lot of businesses have transitioned to operating remotely, so working from home may become the new norm. The unintended consequence is our homes are no longer a sanctuary and have also become our office, daycare, school, and gym. This intensifies the stress we feel because of the loss of our usual coping mechanisms and causes mental burnout.
“Mental health is not a destination, but a process. It’s about how you drive, not where you are going.” – Noam Shpancer, PhD
- Have a routine
- Keep an at-home exercise routine
- Get outside -- in nature -- if you can
- Declutter your home
- Meditate, or just breathe
- Maintain community and social connection
- Be of service, from a distance
- Practice gratitude
- Let yourself off the hook
- Get a healthy amount of sleep
In addition, couples struggle with the increased time with our significant others, no matter how much we love each other. We have all seen articles which jokingly tell us to repress our negative feelings, but if this becomes the new norm then it will not be a healthy or sustainable strategy.
“When a man can listen to a woman's feelings without getting angry and frustrated, he gives her a wonderful gift. He makes it safe for her to express herself. The more she is able to express herself, the more she feels heard and understood, and the more she is able to give a man the loving trust, acceptance, appreciation, admiration, approval, and encouragement that he needs.”
– John Gray, Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus
The key is communication. My wife has a certain level of expectation that I know how she feels, but it helps when she explains it to me. We have made steady improvement as a couple and over the years I have learned a lot of her non-verbal cues, but we learned the hard way that a discussion with-out emotion is the best way to create mutual understanding.
Regardless of the technique used, it is important to develop our own coping process to prevent mental burnout. We are living in unprecedented times and the additional home-life stresses we are feeling may become the new norm, so we need to ensure that the new norm is healthy and sustainable.