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10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant

10 Things To Help Manage Your Work-Life Balance When Pregnant
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Pregnancy is like a bitter gourd in the sense that it’s a dichotomy— it’s healthy for you, but bitter to taste. Being pregnant is an experience that inspires a rollercoaster of emotions and life changes, and if you’re already pregnant, you might have already started to feel several biological, physiological and physiological changes within yourself. The hormonal changes lead to issues like nausea, mood swings, fatigue, etc., which can be exacerbated if you have a family to look after and older children to take care of. If you’re a working mother or a single parent, then your responsibilities skyrocket even further.

How do you manage home, kids, and work while dealing with mood swings, depression and pregnancy-induced body pain? It’s not easy to do so, but the good news is that there are ways of enjoying your work, life and pregnancy all together.

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Here are 10 things that help relieve stress while pregnant:

  1. Start with a healthy diet. Food cravings, an increase in appetite and bingeing sessions will all become part of your life for the next nine months, so the key to alleviating many problems is in maintaining a healthy diet. Eat fresh vegetables, salads and fruits as snacks rather than indulging in high calorie finger foods like french fries, chips or junk food.  Doing this is important to keep yourself from gaining extra pounds, which will make you lethargic and may contribute to a sedentary lifestyle post-pregnancy.
  2. Please, make a point of exercising every day, even if only for 20 to 30 minutes. Keeping active will raise your spirits and also keep your blood flowing, which helps to nourish your growing baby. To help motivate you, consider joining a prenatal exercise class so you get a chance to meet and socialise with other moms-to-be.
  3. Open up to your boss and colleagues—let other employees know that you are expecting so they are conscious about your fragile emotional state, and can speak with you in a way that doesn’t add to your depression, or trigger mood swings. Keep your boss updated about your health from time to time if you feel you need to get some of your workload transferred, and to establish that you might need some breaks without having to explain about your whereabouts.
  4. If you have the option of working from home, then keep your employer informed about the situation so that you can take occasional breaks from the office, and relieve some workplace pressures by working from the comfort of your own home.
  5. Think about your post-pregnancy options well ahead of time and submit a proposal about them to your boss. Be clear about whether you want to return to the same full-time job after your maternity leave, or if you would consider a part-time job instead. Inquire as to whether a work-from-home option would be possible as well, if that appeals to you. Planning beforehand always helps, as you would be aware of your job options in advance, thus alleviating later stress. While planning your post-maternity work options, don’t forget to discuss your maternity leave with your boss, and keep your family informed about the process and decisions being made.
  6. Try to stop worrying and micro-managing, both at work and on the home front. You should understand the importance of staying calm and happy during your gestation period, and realise that it’s  really okay if your house isn’t tidy in every corner. Don’t stress yourself unnecessarily about petty issues at the office either: stay away from office politics and gossip, especially if it’s directly or indirectly related to you and your work. Take active steps to manage stress as it comes up, and learn to say no.
  7. Help your children understand the situation so that they can lend you a helping hand when it’s needed. This is an opportunity to encourage their independence and self reliance: encourage them to finish off their school activities/studies on their own, and let them serve themselves at mealtime and get ready for school on their own in the mornings. You can also ask them to tidy up their own rooms or help you a little with laundry and light housework.
  8. Ask your partner or spouse to spend more time at home than usual. Let him share some domestic work, and also assist you with cooking for the family. Most importantly, make him realise that you need constant love and emotional support at this time.
  9. Make it a rule that one meal serves all, and that there is to be no fighting about food preferences in regard to wanting something else. Meal-planning discussions can happen on weekends to keep everyone happy, and will keep you from getting stressed out.
  10. Backache, sleeping disorders, leg swelling, and mood swings will often be out of your control, but the amount of stress you’ll experience is mostly in your own hands. Keep in mind that a great way to alleviate some stress is by focusing on cheerful activities that also keep you active, such as shopping for your maternity clothes, as well as gifts and clothes for your newborn, and decorating the nursery.

Pregnancy is a beautiful feeling for any woman, so try to enjoy every bit of it. Best of luck to you: you will soon be a dear mummy to a beautiful new baby.

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Featured photo credit: Beautiful pregnant woman at home via Shutterstock

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Published on July 27, 2021

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow

15 Smart Video Conferencing Etiquette Tips to Follow
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During the pandemic, video conferencing replaced in-person meetings and has now become the standard option for business meetings. Over the past 17 months, most workers have gotten past the video conferencing learning curve with Zoom or Microsoft Teams (or their platform of choice).

But just as with in-person meetings, attention can wax and wane. Some say we’re just not used to staring at ourselves so much on the screen. Instead of fixating on that, try employing smart video conferencing etiquette, or you may risk indiscretions that will flag you as a slacker.

Put the Pro in Professional

After more than a year of fine-tuning, here are the new rules of video conferencing etiquette.

1. Mute Your Mobile and Other Devices

The first video conference etiquette you need to know is muting your other devices. Just as in the pre-COVID days, someone’s obnoxious ring tone blaring Taylor Swift’s newest single in the middle of a meeting is also an annoyance if it happens during a Zoom meeting and so is the inevitable fumbling to turn off the sound. Even the apologies to the group get tiresome.

Also, when notifications are activated on the computer that you’re using for the meeting, the incoming message takes over the audio and you’ll miss out on snippets of the conversation. Be sure to eliminate this possible faux pas.

2. Dress the Part

While working from home, you may have fallen into the habit of slipping on your comfiest T-shirt each day. Hey, no judgments! But before you log on to your video conference, try to make an effort with your appearance.

Depending on your company culture and the importance of your meeting, consider dressing the part of the professional whom you wish to project. It will help you feel more self-assured, and others will likely take you more seriously.

For women, wear light make-up, put on earrings, and make sure your blouse is crisply pressed. For men, show up freshly shaved. Wearing a crisp collared shirt in a solid color will usually suffice.

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Pro Tip: Stay away from wearing white or black, unless those colors look great on you. Consider wearing light blue or brown instead.

3. Stage Your Workspace

Have you noticed the backdrops of experts interviewed on news shows? Bookshelves and photographs are carefully curated, and no busy-patterned furniture or artwork is in sight.

Take note of what appears behind you when you choose the location of your video conferences. Piles of junk mail on the table or stacks of folded laundry on the couch will convey more about your personal life than you care to share. Make sure you remove clutter from the camera’s eye, and present a tidy, orderly workspace to your colleagues, coworkers, and bosses.

4. Put Some Thought Into Lighting and Perspective

Be aware that in a video conference, your computer camera can actually make you look up to ten pounds heavier depending on where you sit. But you can easily drop those added pounds by moving back from the screen to diminish the wide-angle distortion.

Frame your head on the screen by tilting the screen up or down. Also, it’s best to not place yourself in front of a window or bright light, which makes you appear in shadow. Instead, face the light source, moving it (or yourself) until you have a flattering amount of illumination. You can also purchase some small spotlights that allow you to add light as needed.

Pro Tip: If your lights add too much redness to your skin, consider counter-balancing with a green filter.

Remember That Half of Life Is Showing Up

5. Arrive on Time

In the old days of in-person meetings, it was nearly impossible to slip in late into a meeting unnoticed. In today’s video conferences, logging in late still shows poor form. Instead, strive to arrive five minutes early and get yourself settled.

Once the meeting is underway, the host may be less attentive about late arrivals waiting to be let in. Diverting the host’s attention away from the meeting with a tardy entry request is the ultimate giveaway that you didn’t honor the schedule. If you don’t want a black mark against you, log in on time.

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6. Turn on Your Video

Few people like to see their face on the screen, but buck up and turn on your camera in video conferences. In most cases, it’s better to be a face on a screen than a name in a blank square. Your statements will be more memorable when other meeting attendees can see you.

If you need to turn off the video, either because of a poor connection, some commotion in the room, or a need for a quick break, give a short explanation via the chat feature. Then, go back on video as soon as you’re able.

Pro Tip: Keep your explanation for your departure pithy. “Sorry! Doorbell rang. Back in five” says it all. Be sure to honor what you say in chat and really do return in five minutes.

7. Plan Ahead Before Sharing Your Screen

Don’t be one of those people who makes everyone else wait as you click through folders in search of a document. That’s just poor video conferencing etiquette. If you know you’ll need to share a document or video on your screen, prepare by pulling it out of its folder and onto your desktop. Also, clean up the files and folders on your desktop to reduce clutter and facilitate easy access. Close other programs like chat, calendar notifications, and email. Disable pop-up notifications to ensure there’ll be no unforeseen distractions.

Be sure to remind the host before the meeting that you’ll need them to activate the screen-sharing function. Show courtesy once you’re finished by hitting “stop share” to return to the screen with participants.

Attend to the Pesky Details

8. Make Sure That Meetings Remain Right-Sized

With the easy accessibility of video conferencing, it can be tempting to extend the meeting invitation beyond the core group and include everyone peripherally involved in a project. But just as with in-person meetings, the more people involved, the more unwieldy the meeting becomes.

Use good judgment when asking others to sit through a video conference so that you don’t needlessly take up others’ time and so that participants can be fully engaged.

9. Remember to “Unmute” Before You Speak

Most of us are likely able to count on one hand the number of video conferences when someone didn’t have to be reminded, “You’re on mute!” Forgetting to unmute before speaking has become one of the most common missteps in video conferencing.[1]

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Show everyone your impeccable video-conferencing poise by managing your mute feature with flawless control.

10. Stay on Point to Keep the Meeting Length in Check

As with in-person meetings, an agenda with assigned time limits for discussions remains necessary to keep a meeting focused. Data shows, however, that video conferencing can actually reduce meeting time.[2] Reasons include the elimination of commuting time and the ability to screen share and annotate to keep everyone on task.

Additionally, side conversations are virtually impossible with video conferencing now that you can no longer have back-and-forth exchanges with the person beside you.

Pro Tip: If you’re running the meeting, let attendees know in advance the protocol for the chat feature. Is it okay for them to “chat among themselves” or not? (See point 11, as well.)

Talking Has a Time and a Place

11. Chat Appropriately

Just like side conversations or texting in an in-person meeting, the use of the chat feature during a video conference can be disrespectful unless it’s directed to all participants. Hence, it’s good video conferencing etiquette to mind your use of the chat.

At the start of the meeting, you may want to ask the host if it’s alright for participants to use the chat feature. This allows them to disable it if they choose. Used appropriately, it can be a helpful tool to clarify or amplify an earlier point once the conversation has moved on or to let the group know that you need to sign off early (and why).

12. Use the “Raise Hand” Feature to Avoid Interruptions

The slight lag in many video conferences can result in speaking over another person if you attempt to jump into a conversation. To avoid this awkward interruption, indicate when you have something to add to the discussion with the raise-your-hand feature that signals the host you would like to speak. This effective meeting management device makes video conferencing run more smoothly, especially with a large group, but it must be activated and monitored by the host.

Pro Tip: For meetings of six to ten people, sometimes the old-fashioned raising of your physical hand may be the best option. But it’s up to the meeting host. Ask them what they would prefer, and follow that.

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13. Don’t Record the Session or Take Photos Without Prior Permission

In this case, not sharing is caring. The “sharing culture” made popular through social media has little place in video conferencing. Before recording a meeting or capturing a screenshot of the participants, always ask for consent in advance from the full roster of attendees. Knowing that a video conference will be photographed or recorded could have a bearing on what others are willing to discuss.

Manage Yourself

14. Minimize Distractions

While de-activating audio and video features can keep distractions from affecting the other participants, you will need to manage noise and disruptions on your end to give your full attention to the meeting.

Move out of high-traffic zones in your home, keep your door closed, and ask family members to be considerate.

15. Save Snacking for Later

Save snacking for later—or earlier. Eating while on video conference is a no-no. Munching in front of the group while close to the camera—as you are when video conferencing—subjects the participants to an up-close and (too) personal view of your food consumption process.

However, it’s perfectly fine to sip quietly from a glass of water or cup of coffee or tea. If the meeting threatens to last for more than two hours, you may want to ask the host in advance to schedule a five-minute break at the halfway point.

Final Thoughts

Even though bosses are now beginning to ask workers to spend some of their workdays on-site, up to 80 percent will permit employees to work remotely at least part of the time, which means more video conferencing in your future.[3] Mastering these video conferencing etiquette tips will help you dial in—as well as dial back—your participation and demonstrate your unwavering level of engagement to the team.

Featured photo credit: Chris Montgomery via unsplash.com

Reference

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