Change. It's something most of us have feared at one time in our lives. And rightfully so, because change can be scary. Especially now. Especially as parents. It's been three weeks since the city where I live has been shut down. New York City. The city that never sleeps is sleeping, and I am ever hopeful that flattening the curve will allow it to wake up soon.
Since COVID-19 has come into our lives, we've all been impacted. Schools are closed, businesses are shut down, families are together 24/7 and we're social distancing from friends and loved ones. It's A LOT, to say the least, and with no end in sight, it's unnerving.
I will admit I was completely frantic during week two of our quarantine. It was the first week of virtual learning for my kids (second and ninth grades), I was trying to figure out how to fit in time for my business, and we were getting my husband organized with his work from home situation. All of that, coupled with regular every day life and some sleepless nights, had me feeling scattered and anxious. I quickly realized that I needed to get it together.
So I decided to make a list of the things that could help us navigate our "temporary" normal a little more smoothly. I'm calling the time period we're in our temporary normal because, well, it is temporary in so many ways. We won't be wearing masks or social distancing or home schooling (unless you choose to) forever. We're navigating our days moment by moment and that's unfamiliar. My use of the word "temporary" in this particular instance is not meant to discredit what's happening in the world - it helps me (and some of my clients) put an imaginary time frame around it. It's a coping mechanism, if you will.
So how do I cope with being quarantined with my husband and two kids with no end in sight? I'll tell ya...
1. Nourish. Your mind, your body and your spirit. That means self care, even when, especially when in quarantine. You need time for yourself no matter what. For me it's eating well, staying hydrated and having dessert every night (body). It's committing to continually learning and working with my clients (mind). And it's meditation, journaling and gratitude practice (spirit). I make sure I'm doing all of these things every day to help stay healthy across the board.
2. Plan. Easier said than done when you have school in session, work to do and all the other things going on at the same time, and you're in charge of all of it! I've found that creating a daily schedule (even if it's the same thing every day) has helped us, especially my second grader. Kids need structure, and they're feeling the affects of being in quarantine too. I keep our schedule loose, but I think having a basic guideline has been helpful for all of us.
3. Activate. Get moving! Go outside! Every day we try to get outside for a walk, bike ride, or to throw the ball in the front yard. Spring is starting to peek through in the Northeast, and once it is in full bloom, we can do a lot more outside activity. Safely and responsibly of course!
4. Connect. Gone are the days of complaining that we're using technology too much. Now we're craving it to stay connected to the ones we love. We're using all kinds of virtual ways to connect with grandparents, friends and relatives to say hi, and share stories. It's easy to let this fall by the wayside and want to drown your worries in mindless TV or scrolling - don't do that! I've challenged myself to connect with at least 1 person every day that I haven't spoken to in a long time. It's been a fun thing!
5. Be Present. Quarantine has allowed us to be together as a family for way more time than we typically would be. The ability for all of us to have dinner together every night, (usually someone is missing), or family game time (Lego building challenges are a hit in our house!) device free has been a good thing. We're having more meaningful conversations, and for that I am grateful.
We all have so much more on our plates these days. Trying to make sense of it is almost impossible. I try to make sure I'm doing these five things every day to stay somewhat sane.
I know the next few months for all of us will be challenging. I hope on the other side of this, humanity can come together to be kinder, more accepting, more supportive and more loving toward one another. I hope we will have learned a lot about ourselves and our communities. I believe we will be stronger because of it.
Wash your hands.
Don't touch anyone.
I love you.