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Front Page - Friday, April 24, 2020

Career corner: Taking care of business, yourself while at home

Work seemed stressful for all the normal reasons a month ago. Perhaps your boss had unrealistic expectations, you were making less than you wanted or your co-workers were annoying.

Now, work is stressful for a new set of reasons. You’re worried about losing your job. You’re working from home for the first time. Your business model is shifting due to “The Virus.”

Who would have thought we’d all be learning to work through a pandemic? Who thought there would be a pandemic? But, here we are.

For most people, the isolation of the pandemic (paired with fear of the unknown) has been the hardest. So, what can you do to stay engaged at work when you’re isolated?

The first thing is set a schedule and work to keep it:

• Get up at the same time every day

• Start working at the same time

• Stop working at the same time

• And, go to bed at the same time

I know it’s tempting to let your schedule go. After all, your boss isn’t there to breathe down your neck for the first time in a long time.

But you have to do this for you, not your boss. Keeping a normal routine will help to keep your head in check.

Take breaks throughout the day. With the number of Zoom meetings I’m having, I’ve found I can go almost an entire day without getting up my chair. Take the time to have lunch. If you can, get up at least once every hour to move around.

Try to keep tabs on whether your communication style is working for your colleagues. Communication is key to success at work. With the changes we’ve had, there is no more walking down the hallway to check on people. Watercooler conversations just aren’t possible.

Now we’re sending email, instant messages, texts and having video chats and phone calls. Not every type of communication works well for everyone. Check in with your colleagues to see what works for them.

Taking care of yourself is the most important thing. Focus on whatever it is that you need to do to be sure you’re mentally and physically healthy as you can be. Don’t allow yourself to become unnecessarily drained.

One of the hardest parts about self-isolation is keeping your mental health in check. Don’t take it for granted. It will impact you, your spouse, your children and other loved ones. And, it’s easy to neglect. Be sure you’re eating three meals a day. Do simple things like shower and comb your hair.

I hope we will soon be able to look back and remember that crazy time when we were all isolated. But, until then, you’ve got to get up every day, put on your sweatpants and attend your Zoom meetings.

Angela Copeland, a career expert and founder of Copeland Coaching, can be reached at copelandcoaching.com.