Mindsets for working from home during the school holidays – finding the balance

Working from home during the school holidays can seem like a real challenge. But the key to finding the balance might lie in your attitude.

For this blog, we’ve caught up with Gloria, one of our VAs who offers life coaching and business planning in addition to back-office support. Read on for her great advice on rethinking work/life balance and overcoming negative mindsets.

Why is working from home in the school holidays such a challenge for parents?

Gloria: It’s a challenge because we care. We love our children and know we should be there for them. But we also know that we’re supposed to be working and earning, both to set a good example to our kids and because there are bills to pay! We often feel pulled in two different directions, and we might feel like we’re letting down both our children and our work.

How can we rethink our working lives to achieve a better balance?

Gloria: The good news is that there are lots of strategies to try. Here are some of my favourites:

  1. Ask yourself what you really want

Start by asking yourself what you really want and what a good summer would look like for you. For example, you might decide that, as well as weekends, you want to have a “family day” every week. Or perhaps you’d rather squeeze all your paid work into two intense days and have the rest of the time free to use however you want. Whatever you decide, say it out loud or write it down. Make it specific. “I’d like more free time,” won’t result in you doing anything; reorganising your diary for a four-day week will.

  • Get your objections in proportion

Once you’ve decided what you want, the little voice in your head will probably start raising objections. It might tell you that your boss will think you’re slack. Or it might tell you that you won’t make enough money if you don’t work every day.

A good way to deal with these objections is to ask yourself whether they’re true. Are you just assuming your boss will hate your plan? Have you actually done the sums that show you won’t make enough?

Try to rationalise your doubts. If you do and you find they have foundation, thank the voice in your head for protecting you! But it’s more likely that you will realise that working a five-day, forty-hour week is just a habit and there’s no reason why you should stick to it. And if that’s the case, let it go.

  • Techniques to let a negative mindset go

Something I have learned as a life coach is that we are capable of any mindset. We can rewire our brains to think in a new way. Yes, we might have learned some negative mindsets during our lives so far, but it is possible to reframe those mindsets and make them positive.

So when it’s time to let go of the idea that we have to do a five-day week, even when it doesn’t work for us, we can use certain techniques to dispel anxiety and put ourselves in the positive frame of mind we need.

By the way, if you spend the summer holiday feeling stressed just because of work and family pressure, these techniques are for you too. Remember, some will suit you and others won’t – just choose the ones that work for you and your family.

Affirmations are repeated words that help you create a sense of internal, emotional safety. Try repeating, “I can do this,” or “My family love me,” or whatever the phrase is that resonates with you.

Try starting the day with meditation. Sit or lie somewhere quiet and place your hands on your tummy so you can feel your body moving as you breathe. Focusing on the breath for a few minutes in the morning can help you feel more focused and positive throughout the day.

Intervene to stop anxiety. Most anxiety is forward looking, suggesting possibilities that haven’t happened yet. So if you start to feel anxious, try to bring yourself back to the present. A good way to do this is to use your senses – find one thing each for sight, hearing, touch, smell and taste. This exercise will ground you and might help you regain your sense of proportion.

Go outside! Walk barefoot on the grass and reconnect yourself with something bigger than you. It’s a beautiful world, and so much bigger than your child spilling a drink or a tricky spreadsheet formula.

And lastly, one for the whole family! Work together to write down what is going wrong…and then rebalance it by writing down what is going right. You’ll quickly see that the positive column is a lot longer than the negative one. This can go a long way to making us feel better. When we work, we set a positive example to our children. But we also set a positive example when we show our vulnerability. Writing a gratitude list is a great way to teach emotional literacy to our children (which might mean fewer interruptions too!).

Support for working from home during the summer holidays

If you need business support, Get Ahead are here to help. Gloria offers coaching and business planning alongside more traditional VA duties. She has helped many business owners to find direction as well providing them with valuable back-office support. Explore our site to find out more, or contact your local regional director here.

Find out more about our services or call 01483 332 220 to discuss in more detail.