Many of the roles we play in our lives do not fit neatly into professional and personal categories. Covid-19 has brought this into high relief, by significantly eroding the distinction between work and home. Coping with life’s challenges in this ambiguous context can become a real challenge, but there’s an office practice that can help: mentoring.

Our thinking about professional mentoring has evolved in recent years. The traditional model involved a senior-level mentor who advised and actively promoted the careers of more-junior employees, but a new and more effective model has emerged in which employees attach themselves to a whole set of mentors—a personal board of directors, as it were, that you can consult regularly to get advice and feedback on your work and career.

This new model can actually help you at home as much as it does at work. Consider expanding your personal board of directors to include people who can help you think about family issues. It should comprise people you trust, have an interest in you and your family, and have experience or perspective to share. You’ll want to select a range of people from all different aspects of your life. Since each person has their own network of contacts, choosing mentors whose networks don’t overlap will make your interactions with them more beneficial.

Here are some suggestions of people to include and how they can help:

Once you’ve assembled your board of directors, stay in touch—and not just with holiday cards. Connecting on social media is the easiest and most fun to do. Pictures are wonderful ways to convey what you and your family are up to. But every so often, take an extra step to reach out to say thank-you for their friendship and support. It’s important. So is letting them know how their advice turned out. It doesn’t have to be elaborate. Just an email saying, “I followed your advice and talked to her teacher. It really worked!”

But as all the writing on mentors will tell you, contributing your gifts in return is key to sustaining strong mentoring relationships. Pay it forward by contributing not just to your mentors but to their contacts and the professional or community organizations they support. Something as simple as donating to your mentor’s charity walk or buying pecans to support their kid’s school fundraiser. And if they help you with a reference to a great pediatrician, it’s easy to pay them back with a tip about a job lead.

You probably already have friends or family whom you consult when you need to, so expanding them into a board of directors isn’t difficult. It’s only a matter of being intentional about it. With a little thought and effort, your board of directors will provide your working-family juggling act with resources, information, and emotional support, as well as a sense of perspective—the gift of a new way of thinking.