We bet everyone learned a new phrase recently, ‘social distancing’! We cannot stress how important it is to stay home and stay safe so that we can get through this difficult pandemic as quickly as possible. In this stressful and uncertain time, it helps to establish some new habits while maintaining old ones to gain a sense of control and normalcy over your life.

If you are fortunate enough to be able to work from home, and even if you are not, a lot of these are universal for coping with spending time at home; here are some tips to help you get things accomplished:

  1. Maintain your morning routine. While you won’t have to dress up or commute, the process of getting ready will help kickstart your day and get you in the right mental state to work from home. Changing out of pyjamas, taking a morning shower or making a cup of coffee can all help with this process.
  2. Have a dedicated workspace. Set up your workspace with a comfortable chair and a well-positioned desk. Keep the space clean, bright, and free of distractions. Make sure you have everything you need to work efficiently.
  3. Stay connected. Make sure you set clear expectations and a solid communication strategy between you and your colleagues. Take advantage of chat apps like Slack or video conferencing apps like Zoom to help you keep in touch and make you feel less isolated at home.
  4. Manage your time. Set a clear schedule that reflects your normal workday, including a lunch break, and make sure you log off when it’s time to “leave” work. Try to make the most out of your workday and avoid doing work outside of this time.
  5. Stay positive! Working from home can be isolating without social interactions, which can make people feel less motivated and less productive. Keep your spirits up by listening to music, take breaks to go for a walk or exercise, and stay in touch with colleagues and friends.

Being forced to stay at home is not only hard on you, but also your kids. With schools shutting down, children’s sense of routine has been disrupted and you may be wondering how to keep them (and yourself!) sane. Here are 5 tips to keep your kids happy if they’re home for long periods.

  1. Create a routine early. Just as it is for you, routines are important for your kids to provide a sense of normalcy and structure. Plan a rough daily routine with times for different activities, such as schoolwork, exercise, chores, and play. Let your children be involved in the planning process if they wish to, especially if they are older kids. This will also help you plan your day.
  2. Get exercise. Exercise is critical for children’s physical and mental health. Think creatively about activities that you can do when confined to the home. Play in your backyard, build an obstacle course through the house or try physically active video games or kid-friendly dance tutorials on YouTube. Kids also love it when their parents participate!
  3. Learn new skills. This is the perfect time for you and your children to learn new skills together, such as cooking, chess, crafts, or science experiments. This keeps their minds active and free from boredom, which will help reduce stress and frustration for the whole family.
  4. Maintain social connections. With technology these days, it is not difficult to keep in touch with family and friends even when you have to practice “social distancing.” Arrange virtual playdates for your kids and their friends through Facetime or Google Hangout. Guide them through art activities where they can share the results online and via email with other relatives. Take this opportunity to reconnect with people.
  5. Teamwork. Let your kids help out with household chores and share responsibilities with other members of your family. Explain to your kids when you need “quiet time” for work and when you can spend time with them. You are all in this together!

Last but not least, always remember the following tips to keep yourself and family safe, and contain the spread of the virus:

  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Avoid touching your face, eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Avoid contact with vulnerable people.
  • When you need to cough, cover your mouth with a tissue and discard it immediately. If you don’t have one, cough into the bend of your elbow.
  • Disinfect surfaces you regularly use.
  • Only rely on and share information from trusted sources.

For more up-to-date information, visit the Government of Canada website.