In early June, the Office of Benefits & Worklife held a Zoom discussion in its Coping with COVID Conversations series titled Remote Workers Living Alone. This conversation offered an opportunity for employees to engage informally with others also living alone while working remotely.
The conversation was facilitated by engagement specialist Eve Carlson and mySupport clinician Anthony Meek, both of whom live alone and are working remotely.
Many participants shared their experiences and found commonalities. Coping strategies and ways to thrive were the focus of the conversation. Among those highlighted:
- Stay connected to others. Have regular communication with your friends and family virtually.
- Maintain a routine. Try your best to stick to a sleeping, eating, and working schedule.
- Set boundaries for work. Just because you may have more time now does not mean you should be expected to overwork.
- Exercise. Get outside if you can. Go for a solo or physically distanced hike, or find in-home exercises you like. There are lots of online options, including virtual JHU wellness classes.
- Take time off. Although you may not be traveling, do not feel guilty taking vacation or personal days. Time off is good for your mental health and helps set boundaries.
- Find the fun. Find creative ways to entertain yourself. Set up a virtual game night, sing loudly in the car, have a physically distanced picnic.
- Do not feel guilty if you feel unproductive. You are coping with a pandemic. Be gentle with yourself. If you do not learn how to play the banjo, clean your entire house, or write a memoir, that is OK.
- mySupport, available to you 24/7 for confidential counseling and referral services
- Calm app, free to university faculty, staff, and bargaining unit members
- JHU Wellness Programs, offering unlimited virtual classes for $20 a month
- JHU HR Information Regarding Novel Coronavirus
Some webinar participants have been connecting with one another beyond these conversations to continue sharing experiences and tools. If you are interested in participating in future conversations, email email@example.com.