Plan Ahead For Time Apart From School & Work

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It might sound basic, but pre-planning your week is really helpful for creating boundaries and setting expectations, for yourself and with your family. In uncertain times, it also helps relieve the stressors of not knowing what comes next and feeling overwhelmed about trying to “fit it all in.” Time apart from school and work is important for emotional well-being, connection with others and practicing self-compassion.

Preview Your Calendar

Before your week begins, take time to go over what’s happening during the week ahead: 

  • Identify what pockets of time you have or can create to coincide with openings in your partner’s or children’s schedules.
  • Set specific start and stop times for work hours or projects.
  • Give yourself ample breaks. Take a short nature walk or try a meditation.

Prioritize Activities

What are the biggest must-haves for the week, and what are the nice to haves that can wait? You might find your priorities have shifted in the new normal of working, schooling and living at home. Or maybe it’s just the timing of those priorities that’s changed. Remember to consider activities beyond school and work like:

  • Playtime with the kids
  • Connecting with your partner
  • Adult self-care 
  • Exercise
  • Outdoor time

Communicate the Plan

Once you’ve mapped out how your time will be spent throughout the week, let your people know what you have planned:

  • Give those involved a chance to chime in with their priorities and needs so it feels good for everyone.
  • Brainstorm ideas for meaningful ways to spend downtime together. Try a
  •  or read one of our recommended books together.

Be Flexible

Even the best made plans aren’t foolproof. There will be days when your work might extend into planned downtime or a kid needs to stay online for help with their math. Be kind to yourself if your day or week doesn’t go exactly as planned.

Remember the goal here is to create specific time separate from school and work, time dedicated to connection, playfulness and well-being. If it feels too difficult to coordinate everyone’s schedules, start with smaller chunks of time and specific activities. A quick, one-song dance party at snack time or a 5-minute walk in the neighborhood right after school ends are simple ways to create boundaries between school/work life and home.

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