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If you’ve suddenly gone from conference rooms to video conferencing from the couch, it takes an adjustment to become acclimated to this weird new work environment—trust me, I know. Now throw in your significant other’s updated schedule, cramped quarters, and both of you trying to conduct business as usual, and you’ve got a whole different outlook on love, patience (and relationships).
Whether it’s tackling space issues or timely snacking, here are nine things (and tips) we’re doing to stay sane—and avoid dueling Zoom calls—while co-working from home with your partner:
1. Set some ground rules. You may have the same approach to WFH as your partner—and that’s awesome— but odds are both have slightly different expectations about what working from home really means. One of you may prefer to work in silence while the other may like to keep the TV on as background noise. That could be a recipe for disaster, especially under stressful circumstances. Figure out what each of you needs to be successful when WFH and, yes, find some compromises (it’s the secret sauce to any relationship!). Maybe your TV-loving partner can tune into a podcast through their headphones. Ta-da!
2. Communicate your schedules.
Before reporting for WFH work duty in the AM, share your calendars for the day with one another. Maybe it’s a sticky note reminder or a Slack message—however you choose to communicate your daily plan (and any important meetings) will help you both avoid disruptions. Because we all know reviving up the smoothie maker during a call with your boss isn’t ideal for your working relationships.
3. Share the
If you’re both having video calls simultaneously (hello, WFH life), you may run into bandwidth issues. Not AOL dial-up issues, we’re talking about modern-day connection problems. Here’s a quick tech tip: try turning off your camera or dialing in from your phone to minimize interruptions. Also, reach out to your internet service provider about troubleshooting or upgrading your bandwidth (at least for the time being).
4. Find separate spaces. Apartment, condo, or home, if you have the room to designate separate workspaces, it’s a game-changer. Whether it be a guest room, home office, or living room, having one person in a different part of your humble abode will help to establish boundaries (and eliminate distractions). Is one of your spaces is significantly superior to the other (full of natural light, plants, and positivity)? Try switching spots every other day, so there is no feeling of resentment about getting the short end of the WFH stick. Remember, function and comfort are key.
5. Be intentional about your time off together.
Eight-hour WFH workday and only a room away? Make your downtime count! From disconnecting over a homemade lunch to grabbing some mid-day fresh air (and taking the dog for the walk), try closing your laptops and reconnecting without talking about work. It might get those creative juices flowing! Looking for a way to destress, together? Plug into a virtual yoga or HIIT class. You’ll burn calories without burning the midnight oil.
6. Don’t forget about me time.
Being cooped up with the same person for too long can put a strain on even the most bulletproof of relationships. I love you, honey, but…. Remember to schedule some alone time. By allowing yourself mental and physical space can provide clarity, balance, and make you a better partner. Get outside—take a short walk on your own—or take a break to read a new book. Your S/O will understand.
7. Don’t get hangry—keep snacks handy!
Here’s the recipe for relationship disaster: two hangry people (now WFH cohorts) who have spent all day together. Keep easy-to-grab, healthy snacks around to keep your mood and energy up throughout the day. Leave a treat on your partner’s desk, too, so they remember to eat between meetings.
8. Make sure your workout class isn’t high volume.
Do your work schedules (or interests) prevent you from working out at home together? If you’re determined to get that WFH workout class in, be aware of the noise level (and take your S/Os schedule into account). Turn on your Bluetooth headphones—or turn down the volume—so your better half can keep focused.
9. Establish a conducive quitting time.
Working from home can easily bleed into your downtime. When 5 o’clock rolls around, close your laptop and step away. You don’t want to experience work burnout, especially if when it relates to your occupational wellness. Unless you’re calling friends or checking the ‘Gram, it’s a good practice to try to leave your phone at your WFH workspace as well. Creating a strict divide between when you’re working and when you’re on your own time will help you to be more attentive to your relationship, your pets—and your own well-being!
Working from home, especially with your S/O, can be challenging—but it can also be extremely rewarding. From a better understanding of what your better half does to taking breaks together, sharing what you do every day with the one you love can only strengthen your relationship (as I work from my standup desk a room away from my husband).
Do you have any tips when it comes to WFH with your partner? Tell us (and tag us) on @mindbody!
Have you been feeling it? The big emotion floating around the last few weeks is the Big Anxiety. Coupled with the stress of what the COVID-19 pandemic has bought for millions of people, disturbed wellness routines, and worry, we have a recipe to create massive damage to ourselves.
Adjusting to the new normal, with social distancing practices in place and adapting to precautions and routines, may be the root of even more anxiousness for many as we’re navigating uncharted territories.
During times of high stress, our bodies experience a physiological strain, where essentially everything from our heart, muscles, blood, and energy have to work harder than needed in order to keep functioning at a minimum. Our body’s natural processes, like breathing, can get compromised, lessening the healing functions of the nervous system, and overworking our adrenal system. Stress management is almost non-existent. This overtaxing of the body disrupts the natural flow of energy and resources, and puts us in something known as the “fight or flight” mode. In this mode, we are constantly deciding if there is some kind of real danger and how to survive it. We feel these signals when our heart rate and blood pressure rise, our stress responses like sweating and either constricted or super fast breathing occur, and our feel-good hormones become compromised.
As we process anxiety, not only do we mentally and emotionally feel the repercussions, we also physically confuse our systems that are doing their best to naturally heal us. Staying in a state of continued anxiety with an overactive sympathetic nervous system can be incredibly damaging to your health, even if it is a small amount of stress that collects over time. Stress suppresses our immunity, digestion, deep breathing, disrupts sleep, and eating patterns, impacts mood, energy levels, and much more.
Studies show that over 50% of adults are essentially holding their breaths. They do a shallow type of breathing known as thoracic breathing, where you breathe lightly into your chest instead of into your diaphragm. For example, notice how you’re breathing right now. You’re likely holding your breath to some extent and you’re probably not breathing much at all. If you’re asked to partake in a deep breathing exercise now, you’ll puff up your chest and shoulders, and empty out your stomach. Guilty?
If you’ve ever seen a baby breathe or the breathing technique of someone in deep sleep, you’ll notice that their bellies rise and fall; the oxygen goes directly into a natural deep belly breath. Adults, however, have become acclimated to holding our breaths without meaning to. When we can slow down and practice deep breathing, we send physical and neurological signals through our entire body that asks us to rest.
The great news is that there are easy breathing exercises we can do at home that do not take a lot of time or effort. An incredible tool that anyone can use in times of high stress is remembering to inhale and exhale. Yes, breathing. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention also recommended breathwork not simply as an immunity building tool, but as a way to balance emotional and mental wellbeing. Deep breathing and other breathwork improves the body’s overall functions; improves the respiratory system, builds protective mucus in the nose, oxygenates and blood and brain, improves digestion, alkalizes the full body, and much more. Each style of breathwork sends special physiological signals—some ask us our bodies to slow down and chill, to get out of fight mode, and bring us back to equilibrium where our body’s natural healing systems can be activated; some styles of breathwork ask to pump up and energize.
It’s common to find yourself rushing through breathing practices or feel like you need to set aside special time for it. But that’s the point. We get to slow down, and we get to implement these practices even if there are distractions, business, and no perfect zen meditation corners in our homes. We can do these anytime, anywhere.
If you’ve been feeling any small symptoms of anxiousness or stress, now is the perfect time to incorporate some incredibly easy and effective breathwork techniques into your day-to-day.
This breathing technique can be done at any time of the day, for as long as you want. It’s recommended to practice this for at least 30 seconds to start and several times throughout the day. It’s a breath technique to practice before going to sleep as well. As you’re doing this breath, imagine your stomach like a big pump. As you breathe in, you’re expanding; as you breathe out, you’re emptying out.
1. Put your hands on your belly/abdomen area.
2. Take a big breath through the nose and PUSH your hands away from the belly as you breathe in. Expand your stomach as much as possible and try not to puff up your chest.
3. Slowly exhale through the mouth and constrict your belly inwards. Feel free to make a sound with the mouth when you do this.
4. Repeat for a minimum of 30 seconds.
The 6-7-8 breath can be done at any time of the day to calm anxiousness and stress, especially before doing to sleep. It’s a self-soothing technique that helps relax and calm the nervous system. You can do this practice sitting up or laying down.
1. Close down your eyes.
2. Relax your mouth.
3. Take a deep breath in through your nose for 6 full seconds. Count in your head and maintain an even pace.
4. Hold this breath for 7 seconds.
5. Pucker your mouth and exhale out through the mouth with a “whoooooossh” sound for 8 seconds.
6. Repeat this 6-7-8 breath for at least 5 rounds, or as long as you wish.
You can adjust the 6-7-8 counts to accommodate your pace. You can try a 4-5-6 sequence, or an 8-9-10 sequence. Play around with the length of time that feels good for your body. Some people love to sit by an analog clock for the ticking sound to help keep pace; some love to incorporate music.
This is another easy technique that can be done at any time of the day.
1. Breathe in for 4 seconds through the nose.
2. Hold for 4 seconds.
3. Exhale for 4 seconds through the nose.
4. Hold for 4 seconds.
5. Repeat at least 5 times.
You can play around with the timing for 6 seconds, 8 seconds, and so on to see what works best for your body.
These are the top three breathwork techniques to manage anxiety and stress. Plenty of other techniques work on sleep, inner healing, subconscious programming, altered states of consciousness, and more. Play with the three techniques above and see what feels great for you. It’s common to find a sense of calm almost immediately, some gentle tingling, and relaxation! As we’re adjusting to the new normal, let’s all contribute to creating peace both inside and out.