If there’s one thing 2020 has taught us, it’s to extend grace to ourselves. As fall marches on, many parents are working from home and sharing space with their school-aged kids. How can they coexist and thrive?
MYX Director of Fitness Erika Shannon-Hathaway offers ideas to better manage family schedules. She says, first and foremost, set expectations for yourself and others. “Right now we are operating under very strange circumstances, and we cannot be everything for everybody all the time. “So don’t be so hard on yourself, because it can feel quite impossible to get everything done.”
Need a way to tackle the obligations on your family calendar? Determine your non-negotiables and remain true to yourself. It could be getting up an hour earlier than the kids to enjoy a cup of coffee in peace or get in a workout before your day begins.
As a mother and a mentor to our MYX Coaches, Erika is a big fan of setting yourself up for success. In her words, “stack the odds in your favor and ask yourself how you can make this easier?” For example, do meal prep on Sundays, so you have plenty of quick and easy options during the week. Not into cooking? Healthy takeout or delivered meals can work.
You can use this time to relax, recenter, or reconnect with loved ones. Work will always be there, but kids won’t be little forever. Whatever is going on at home, don’t be afraid to communicate your needs and concerns to your colleagues or your partner. Follow Erika’s lead and speak up, “Try to set a schedule with your partner to take alternate days for different responsibilities. I would definitely stress making time for yourself, even if it's 10 minutes a day, to move your body and recenter.”
MYX Coach Christina LaGrega recommends another form of boundary setting. She suggests having a personal dedicated space, no matter how small, with items that make you happy.
Christina recommends keeping your end goal in mind. She relies on sticky notes as a visual way to track her to-do list and order her priorities. “By the end of the day, hopefully, you can toss each sticky note in the garbage because you've gotten everything on your schedule done,” Christina says.
She’s found success in involving kids in planning the day’s tasks and schedules. Her suggestion? Make a bright and colorful schedule so kids feel included and are encouraged to participate, much like they would with a classroom project.
Another go-to tip: embrace the power of breaks. Rest can be productive. “Both adults and children need to take a timeout to reset or regroup to keep going and stay energized as the day progresses,” Christina explains. This could simply mean changing the location of your home workstation or getting outside.
Experiment and find what works for you and your family’s daily schedule, and then stick with it. After all, you’re only as good as your systems.