• Dr. Dowtin

Anxiety: Telework, COVID-19 & You

Updated: Apr 6



Teleworking Tips During COVID-19

Right now, the world is responding to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. It is a challenging time for many people. That is because there is currently a constant stream of information about what is happening and what could potentially happen. Panic is also ensuing because for many of us in the US, have never experienced this type of event during our lifetime. When things in our environment are uncertain, it is normal to start feeling anxious and worried. You may notice that you are checking your phone more often for updates or that most of your conversations with others are about COVID-19 in one way or another. If so, you may be experiencing what is called, hypervigilance. It happens when we are afraid and expecting that lifechanging news will be shared at any moment. If this is happening to you, you are not alone. As if that were not enough, millions of people are now working from home or attending classes online for the first time and finding it difficult to be productive. Some people are feeling isolated and bored. Others are finding it hard to manage suddenly becoming a teacher to their children while also being expected to telework for their income. Here are a few tips to help you manage during this time. #COVID #SocialDistancing #MentalHealth



Having a hard time being productive working from home?



Structure Do's:


  • Continue with your traditional morning routine.

  • Get dress like any other workday/school day.

  • Prepare your workspace.

  • Sit at the dining room table, if you have one, a desk or somewhere equally uncomfortable.

  • If possible, put your phone on do not disturb (your employer/professor/mentor can be on the exceptions list, along with any other important people).

  • Explain to your loved ones that you still have working hours even though you will be home.

  • Set timers for scheduled breaks - including a lunch break.

  • Studies have shown that working next to other people can create a motivating work environment. Set up a Virtual Officemate Date. Ask a friend or coworker to join you during office hours through video chat. Put your mics on mute but leave your camera's on.

  • Take breaks. Keep them short. I know this was earlier on the list, but breaks can be helpful if we can commit to going back to the task after the break. A real break includes getting up from your computer, maybe take a walk, enjoy the view of a garden, etc. Looking at COVID-19 updates during a break probably is not the best idea.

  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing your best.



Avoids (Structure No-no's):


  • Staying in PJs or extra comfy clothes.

  • Doing dishes or house chores during work hours.

  • Sitting on the comfy couch.

  • Doing work from your bed.

  • Keeping your phone right next to you while you work.




Having a hard time being a homeschool teacher while teleworking?


Tips for working while the children are home (tips vary based on age):

  • For young children, naptime is your best friend. Most preschoolers are used to taking a 2-hour nap in the middle of the day. If you keep their routine consistent, you will have close to 2-hours of uninterrupted time for work!

  • Break up your day. If your employer is flexible with the times that you can work, aim to spend the bulk of your day teaching and spending time with your children. When they go to bed, schedule an hour or two for you to do some work.

  • Have a partner at home with you? If so, work in shifts. Take turns teaching the children.

  • Schedule time for screens (children ages 4 and up). Too much screen time is exactly that, too much. Be thoughtful and predictable about when your children will have access to a screen. Stay nearby, but use an hour or two of screen time so that you can get some of your own telework completed for the day.

  • Be kind to yourself. You are doing your best.


These were just a few tips for working from home during these times. Have more ideas? Feel free to leave a comment. Share this with others.


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