|Off the Clock Activities|
|By Terry Campbell, Professor, Purdue University Global|
We have another great topic this month; however there are some recent challenges impacting activities. COVID-19 has placed many restrictions on our personal and professional lives. Not all will experience the challenges, yet our lives have changed forever.
You and I have many daily routines and we find there are many disruptions. These may consist of work hours; medical issues and concerns; family; home schooling; schools are starting back; wearing of masks; social distancing; hours working; quality family time; friends and loved ones with COVID-19; and other. So much for our routine and downtime. Not only the areas identified earlier, but the protests, violence not only in many of our communities but in our correctional systems. Yet, we must try and focus and still provide for our families. Work, social distancing, eating out, and travel restrictions will vary state to state.
Now more than ever, we must work toward having as little stress as possible. Easier said than done. Many of us made New Year’s commitments and found some of these were becoming more and more difficulty to complete, especially from February to present. We face difficult times and are not sure what the future holds. One thing I do know; we have to do our best and take control of our lives. This may mean improving our attitude, still managing time away from home and family, and when at home share in quality family time. Remember our children and others are watching how we conduct ourselves. In addition, our negative behaviors will often be emulated by our children.
Do not let substance abuse interfere with your career and family. You must make some down time for yourself, even if this is only fifteen minutes at a time. Clear your mind and begin to feel better, and reinforce positive interactions with family and others. This may include working out, reading a book, music or other outlets. If you and your family are restricted in movement outside of the home, be creative and engage with your family in a variety of ways. You are a role model and your families deserve this. Do not create more barriers between family and work. You know by now, you work in a volatile environment and safety is a must. We must control our reactions while at the same time remain professional.
These challenges are not something you and I cannot overcome by ourselves. This is going to take all working together and a must for you to find an outlet. Including talking things over with your significant others and even close co-workers. I am retired, yet continue to teach online and observe neighbors and family interactions during these times. As many of you can relate, extra responsibilities and patience needed with our children/grandchildren being at home and parents trying to assist with their online learning, support, work and some have lost their jobs, and other obstacles have not only created additional stress for you, but your family as well.
Social media has a way of showing things one-sided and usually with an agenda. As if COVID-19 is not enough, we are in a political season and many people are following the restrictions, while others are not. We are seeing an increase in cases in many areas and some states have quarantines in traveling to some states. Many people feel they have the right to participate or not to participate. Individual choice even with officials outlining requirements and precautions. On top of this, flu season will begin this fall.
I am an early riser and try to complete my walks before the heat takes over. This also allows me less contact with others. If you have the time to adjust and make some choices, please do so. If not, make some time at home. When our children were little, and I worked the long hours, when I came home, we would have some family time and if I still had some work to do, I did this after they went to bed or forced myself to get up earlier. I realize this may not be possible for all, take the time to find what changes you can make to make some positive lifestyle adjustments. When this occurs, you will begin to feel better and others will notice this. Even at work your attitude will be more positive and at home, your children will notice this as well.
Remember, you and I are not the only ones experiencing this. Together we can make the necessary changes and work toward being less stressed and more productive in many ways. We have our family and friends, let’s exercise good decisions and make the necessary changes. You and I have control over this, take the nest positive step.
Stay safe out there.
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