News that matters Blog

News that matters Blog

Our ‘New Normal’ Brings Challenges

Posted on Oct 13, 2020 by Karen Getzoni

“In times of stress, the best thing we can do for each other is to listen with our ears and our hearts and to be assured that our questions are just as important as our answers.” Fred Rogers

The 20/21 school year may be well underway, but our ‘new normal’ often feels anything but normal. The challenge has only begun for parents who are forced to juggle work schedules with e-learning or hybrid learning. When those parents’ jobs are in healthcare, the challenges tend to be more significant –for more than one reason.

  • As a significant part of the frontline, these parents are under pressure to stay on the job and work extra hours. Taking a leave of absence or reduced hours to supervise their child’s e-learning or care for a family member under quarantine may not be a viable option.
  • Healthcare is an industry already prone to burnout. Long hours, an intense job immersed in crisis moments, and life and death issues contribute to it.

Avoiding a crash, for you or your child, is certainly doable, but it takes careful, focused, intentional action. We offer these tips to help you help yourself and your child, tips to increase your health and well-being, as well as your ability to survive and thrive despite the current challenges.

For yourself as a healthcare provider –

Take time to evaluate, strategize, and organize: Set aside an hour every weekend to consider the coming week.

  • Make a note of your work hours, your child’s in-school and e-learning hours, and your home responsibilities, including grocery shopping, meal planning, laundry, house/yard work, etc.
  • Make a plan, including a division of labor and the ideal time for various activities. For example, does it work better to do one load of laundry each morning or set aside a specific time to get it all done in one shot? Would taking a couple of hours to prep veggies, and prepare food ahead for the week save you time in the end?
  • Which responsibilities can be given to other family members? Even kindergarten children can be assigned roles such as emptying wastebaskets, helping set/clear the table, bringing their dirty clothes to the laundry room, feeding the pets, etc.
  • Once you have your child’s schedule, talk to your spouse. Determine who has the most work flexibility and then speak to your boss. Adjustments aren’t always possible, but sometimes a small change can make a big difference.

Take time for mental, emotional health:

  • Meditate. Twenty minutes/day, every day, can make a significant difference. Learn to grab moments that pop up here and there. Even 5 minutes of shutting your eyes and blocking out everything around you while you focus on something positive or give thanks for a friend, a child, the sun, the rain, the colors of fall . . . can help bring calmness within.
  • Take time for personal enjoyment. Perhaps it’s a walk, participating in an online game with a friend, reading a book, creative pursuits, family games, etc. The key is to schedule activities you enjoy – even if it’s just once per week.
  • Be aware of others around you. Helping others often boosts our sense of well-being and builds a sense of we’re in this together.

Take time for physical health:

  • Exercise. No time? Take the stairs instead of the elevator, run in place while brushing your teeth, walk around your vehicle three times before getting in to drive somewhere, challenge yourself to see how many squats you can sneak in throughout the day.
  • Make healthy eating choices: Take fresh veggies, fruit, and protein bars for when you have to grab lunch on the go. Even when you are ‘grabbing,’ sit down for five minutes and treat your quick snack like a meal.
  • Get enough sleep. As a healthcare worker, you know that you should be getting 7-8 hours per night. You also understand that it isn’t always possible, but be committed to getting it as much as possible while supplementing with power naps.

For your child –

Recognize that the ‘new normal’ of e-learning or hybrid learning is an opportunity for your child to learn their lessons and develop life skills.

Help them take responsibility for their role in the process. Encourage your child/children to create a schedule for school lessons. Teach them to write a list of their assignments and check off completed ones.  Include breaktimes. Involving children in planning their schedules and other learning decisions gives them ownership.

Set up an engaging workspace that encourages your child to focus on his/her lesson. If he/she must do school work in the same space they use for play, mark the shift in a physical way. Change the organization of their desk space, move something specific from the right side to the left, trade a basket of toys for a basket of school books, add a timer. For younger children, something as simple as having a few t-shirts they wear when doing school can mark the difference. Give older children a specific place to put his/her phone and other electronics aside during lesson time.

Reduce screen time. When e-learning, print off documents to read to help reduce screen time. Set boundaries on break time. While a teen might ‘need’ to text or snapchat a friend, they also need to get outside. Younger children especially need reduced screen time. Fill breaks between e-learning with playdough and legos, rather than cartoons.

For the family unit –

Encourage consistency and order. It helps our brains be more efficient and creates calmness in our spirits. It ensures a sense of stability in a crazy world. To establish predictable routines at home, families can create weekly schedules that include time allotted for academics, time for playing or working on projects, and even regular family meetings.

Build strength and unity with family activities. Cook together – it’s fun. Establish a monthly game night. Choose a show to follow on T.V. Even if someone must miss an episode here or there for work of other responsibilities, the rest of the family can give them an update. Volunteer together. Take a Sunday afternoon hike on your weekends off. There is a multitude of ideas. What you choose to do is not nearly as important as consistently doing it together.

Communicate. Ask your children questions about what they are learning. Share something you learned at work. Maintain a family calendar, so everyone knows what is going on even when you are separate. Leave notes for each other.

Touch each other. Hugs promote bonding, improve psychological well-being, diffuse arguments, lower stress, and boost our immune systems.

Perhaps the time has come where the answer to stress includes finding a new position in healthcare. That’s where your best choice is CURE Staffing.  We connect all talent levels from Clerical, Medical Receptionists, Medical Assistants, LPNs, RNs, Respiratory Therapists, X-Ray Technicians, Nurse Practitioners, etc. with positions that fit your skills, experience, and desired culture. Contact us today.