With the recent announcement that the lockdown in the UK is continuing for at least another 3 weeks, the reality of working from home, and juggling home and work life, has become longer term for us all.
We are all experiencing how hard it can be to work from home – hard to switch off, hard to have proper breaks and hard to stay connected with people in the same way. All of us feel like this every now and then, so its important to take a moment to acknowledge this.
In our services, we use the principles of Applied Behaviour Analysis to support our learners in having more choice in their lives, and ultimately becoming more independent; we also apply these principles to our own lives, and believe they can have benefit for lots of people. Below we’ve provided some suggestions from one of our Supervisors on how you can apply these principles at home.
Your own behaviour plays a huge part in how you feel, and there are ways that you can approach your days to stack the deck in favour of feeling good.
Start off by creating a routine. This will be based on your own needs and tasks for the week, and will be personal to you. Remember to build in breaks or work towards something you find motivating.
Grab a favourite notepad and plan the days however best suits you.
Use some of the tips we’ve provided below, or come up with your own and embed them into your daily routine. Having a few simple ideas can help you schedule your day and make sure you get the balance of work and leisure right for you.
Self check-in. Acknowledge how you feel at regular points during the day – worried, calm, nervous, happy, angry, frustrated, etc? If this is something you struggle with, label/name your own observations (tight shoulders, heavy eyes, relaxed shoulders, clenched jaw, racing mind) – in ABA we use the term tacting for naming things. Once you notice how you feel, you can better understand your feelings and help change them. This takes time, so patience is key!
Body scan. Notice how your body feels, starting from your feet touching the floor, your legs, stomach all the way up to your head. This will help you to relax through the day.
Behaviour momentum. A term that exists heavily in literature about ABA; it can be explained very simply. If you have a difficult task ahead – and some days this might just be getting out of bed, completing exercise, or a task at work you find difficult – it’s easy to feel ‘ugh’ and avoid the task completely. Try behavioural momentum – taking small steps towards it. Take one easy step, then another, then one more and reinforce yourself. This could be a cup of tea, or a peek at your social media – whatever you find motivating. Take a few more steps and reward yourself again. One small step in the right direction will keep you moving in the right direction.
Half-smile. Start your day with a half smile. Because… why not? When you smile, those around you smile too.
Quick wins. Go to the window, taking a few deep breaths of fresh air. Put on your favourite comfy jumper. Have a snack. Sit on your favourite chair. Have a ‘movement’ break while you think about your body. Plan what you fancy for lunch. Stretch. Draw or doodle. Breathe. Have a cold glass of water. Call a friend or family member. Play a game on your phone.
Exercise. You might find behaviour momentum helps with this! Look for engaging videos to follow online, or go out for your hour in the middle of the day. You’ll feel much better for it.
Gratitude. Think of 3 things you’re grateful for within the day. A roof over your head, food, health, good friends, blue sky, anything you want!
It may be that some days, you don’t want to do any of the above at all. That’s fine! If that’s the case, try to ‘face it’ by acknowledging (through self check-in) or ‘replace it’ by selecting something else to do that you might enjoy.
Good days come from planning mixed in with a little resilience.
Just remember it is important to find time to step away from the computer, and take regular breaks that connect you with the wider environment. And stay connected with others in whatever way you find easiest.
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