Face and Embrace with Grace
With the overarching context of COVID still very much in our lives, people who even have a fairly solid approach to life are experiencing deeper levels of anxiety and stress. This is just related to everything going on in their lives.
One of the biggest struggles right now is the context of loss. Everything became difficult from normal social life to health concerns. It became harder especially for people who have older parents. The most significant thing for women leaders, though, is just trying to balance having children at any age at home, while trying to continue to work. There’s also very little boundaries now, which could probably be the biggest area of stress for women, besides the loss and just increased anxiety.
But, it is possible to embrace grace (flowing with the current rather than against it) during COVID.
Reclaiming Some Semblance of Balance During this Global Pandemic
The number one tip is to make a clear distinction between your work life and the rest of your life. That’s easier said than done. Technology in general, nowadays, gives us that 24/7 mentality of always having to be on. But the fact that women leaders are primarily working from home now has caused absolute blurring of all distinctions. Women need to start being clearer with their calendar and to actually map out time. It used to be mapping out time for being strategic, mapping out time to really look and get your vision, and leading your team and all that kind of stuff, instead of just daily tactical stuff. But now, it’s really making a very clean distinction.
One example is this: if it means at 5:00 PM, three days a week, you are off, it really helps when you actually tell your colleagues that. This is because people won’t expect you to be available. Lots of times, we set a precedent, and then people expect you to behave in a certain way. You can tell your team: “From now on, on Fridays from 12 onward, I’m going to be with my little boy.”
This way, people can still write to you, but they all know you’re not going to be as responsive as you are Monday through Friday until 12 noon. You leave them with a mental reminder of your availability. And just that one shift in your schedule each week, will make a major difference in terms of just feeling more connected to your family life and having a slightly better balance between work and personal life.
Self-Care for Women Leaders
It might be easier said than done, but working women (especially women leaders) should make self-care a priority. When you have a 24/7 nonstop focus on your home and work life together, you tend to cross self-care off your list. Self-care can be simple quick stuff that you can do in a few minutes. Start with breathing, meditation, or having some friends meet you regularly via video conference. The other thing is thinking of what you really love. Whether it’s reading, gardening or baking, you have to carve out time for it. Go to your calendar and carve out time for yourself because you deserve it.
There are many silver linings during this pandemic. People with family members who live away from home get the chance to have phone dates. They can now spend what used to be their commute time to have conversations with loved ones via video call. Long overdue high school reunions were set via Zoom calls because of the new normal. It is definitely a challenging time for most of us, but finding that silver lining and exploring new things and making some shifts and staying positive is what counts.