The landscape of the American work force is gradually shifting from what it was at the beginning of the pandemic to what it will be when things finally settle down into what experts have been calling “the new normal”. Whether your company chooses to shift back to totally in-office work or adopt a more hybrid schedule changes must be initiated to make that transition smooth.
Preparation is Essential
To imagine you or your family is just going to slide right back into that morning routine is to invite disaster. Months of simply getting up 10 minutes before we turn on our computers and dressing from the waist up has in no way prepared us for traveling to work or school and being presentable when the work bell rings. Getting back to a point where we can easily navigate a weekday morning spent in the office or school is going to require preparation, and not just on the night before
Whether you live alone or have a companion or family, the more tasks you complete ahead of time, the less you rush around and do in the mornings to get out the door. In fact, the less you rush around, the less stress you invite into your routine, the better your day is likely to be.
Does this mean simply packing up lunches the night before? To begin with, sure. However, depending on your office dress codes, dietary needs, and how long it takes to get to drop off kids or partner, versus how much sleep is needed to truly be productive, the more you can get done beyond just meal prep the night before, the happier everyone is going to be getting into the car or onto the bus.
Meal planning for the entire week has become an increasingly popular concept, especially since meal kits have popped up on the market. For those who use the meal subscription services, this can make planning for the week as easy as sitting down with household members every Sunday and simply agreeing upon meal kits to be delivered that week. Otherwise, knowing what meals to shop for and having ingredients on hand for meals planned ahead of time relieves the stress of figuring out what to make on those busy weeknights, including the lunches that can be made the night before!
Sundays can also be the perfect time to sort through your wardrobes for the whole week, planning outfits according to dress codes so that you can simply dress yourself in the morning with out consideration. It is also smart to try on these ensembles when putting them together to make sure everything still fits and coordinates. After all, many of us have gained or lost weight during the pandemic, and not only will you have to scramble to find something else to wear if you can’t button your pants in the morning but having to deal with the stress and disappointment of finding out your old standbys don’t fit is no way to start a day…at least not a good day!
Shower in the evening, rinse in the morning.
Some of us need that shower in the morning to get moving, but do we really need to do the whole hair wash and blow dry routine before every workday? The answer is no. In fact, most health experts agree that washing your hair and hot styling it every day is damaging and can lead to premature hair loss, in addition to being a major time suck AND waste of water. Consider whether you can schedule specific days of the week to wash hair, leaving the off nights for bathing the kids. This way, even if everyone MUST hop in the shower before leaving the house, a five-minute rinse will suffice.
Overall, it pays to be as prepared as possible when starting up the hustle and bustle of the new normal. It may even be prudent to practice morning drills for busy families in the weeks prior to the shift from remote work/learning! If nothing else, this accomplishes getting your bodies used to the amended sleep schedule-sometimes this means making bedtime earlier. You don’t want to discover that you can’t function because you haven’t had enough sleep on your first day back amongst your fellow humans! In fact, all these measures will serve to make returning to in person work easier and less stressful. After hopefully having lived through the worst of a global pandemic, we owe it to ourselves to come back strong.