Creating Support Systems
Creating a network of individuals who are there to help can enhance your self-esteem and make you better able to handle any situation. By having people you can go to during the good times (and the not-so-good times) you will be more likely to be a happy and healthy individual. As you build and use a support system, it’s helpful to realize that having a support system requires you to both give and take. In order to build healthy relationships with those in your support group, know that these people have needs just like you. Follow these steps to build healthy relationships in your support system:
- Give attention – Find out about the members of your support group. Ask about their hobbies, likes, dislikes, families, and friends.
- Learn to take advice – Ask for advice from your support group. This will create a sense of trust and closeness between you, and people may be more willing to help you succeed. It is important to hear how other people have managed different situations, both to spark ideas about what might work for you and to deepen your understanding of the world and those around you.
- Give praise – Praise a member of your support system when he or she does something well.
- Take the first step to get to know someone – Make new friends or coworkers feel comfortable by initiating a conversation or an invitation to a virtual book club or an appropriate socially distant activity (safety permitting). So often we miss an opportunity for connection because we are anxious or preoccupied when some of those connections may be just the thing we need to help with those feelings.
- Give help – When a friend is asking you for help, follow through when and if you can. You’ll be more likely to have a solid group of people willing to give help to you if you give help to others.
Members of an emotional support system might be: immediate and extended family members, close friends, fellow parents in your community, friends you’ve met at your place of worship, teachers, people who share the same hobbies or interests, neighbors, exercise partners, clergy members, therapists or counselors, coworkers, supervisors, members of your HR department, your EAP, mentors, career advisors, etc.
This has been a difficult year for social connectedness, we have all had to adapt from our norm and find alternate ways to meet our needs. Think about where you have been able to maintain those connections and where you may need to make some plans to nurture some relationships.
SWEAP and Dr. Delvina Miremadi-Baldino © 2020
Tips to Help with Work-Life Balance:
Separating Your Work Life From Your Home Life
This year, working from home has become an option or a mandate in many industries. E-mail, messaging applications, and more help improve productivity and help create flexible lifestyles — but they also can make it difficult to separate your work and home lives. This can be a problem whether you’re a telecommuter or a regular commuter who brings extra work home with you. It’s easy to allow work to take over when it’s in your home, you have to be on the alert to keep work from consuming your home life, experts suggest the following strategies:
- Set expectations with family and friends. Your family, housemates, friends and neighbors need to know that when you’re working at home, you’re working — and they should know when and how to interrupt you. If work constantly consumes your home life, remind yourself the positive aspects of working at home and that it is okay to set boundaries within that time. Maybe it’s giving you some more flexibility, more free time or more time with family. At the same time, at-home workers must consider what’s acceptable to their families and how to negotiate schedules so everyone is considered.
- Let voicemail pick up. Early morning or evening phone calls from colleagues or clients can infringe on one’s personal life. Sometimes (if possible) it is okay to turn off your phone’s ringer. If someone calls in the evening, say, “I’m on my way out the door. I’ll be glad to call you back tomorrow morning.” Having a separate office line also helps you know which calls to answer.
- Separate work and personal e-mails. File incoming work e-mails separately from personal ones, if possible, and deal with each at a designated time.
- Clock in, clock out. There’s no car or bus commute to put distance between you and your work worries when home is the official workplace. Setting your own transition rituals can help ease you out of work mode and back into a more relaxed, personal mind-set — or vice versa. Do whatever works for you. Some telecommuters will go out to get coffee or take a walk and then come back to their home offices — that’s their morning ritual. Then, at the end of the day, they may take another walk around the block or some sort of final tasks that marks the end of the day. When you close up shop, push in your chair and shut the computer cabinet. If you feel like it, try tidying up your work area so it is neat and ready for the next morning and so it is less tempting to disturb.
- Set a regular non-work schedule. Plan a lunch call with a friend, start a book club or find an exercise routine. Keep those regular activities get you interacting with people and keep you in touch with what you enjoy. Build in some time for you and your family — whatever that might involve. And when you need a break, such as a vacation, consider leaving your laptop at home.
SWEAP & The StayWell Company, LLC © 2020