How are you and your family holding up during the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic? For me, it’s been a rollercoaster of emotions. Here’s a little glimpse into my world (I’m sure you’re dealing with many of the same issues):
I’m alone in my house with three children, as my husband and oldest son remain in quarantine lockdown elsewhere. Local restaurants are closed, schools are closed, and people are told to stay home from work. Where I am, the government is tracking people on their phones, and we’re bracing for a full and enforced lockdown.
The supermarkets are getting wiped out and, for the little bit that’s left, there are limits to how much we can buy. I’ve also been forced to cook more meals now than ever. The kids are always hungry! Breakfast for the whole family, lunch for the whole family, and dinner for the whole family. Plus, we can’t forget about snacks. I can’t even look at food anymore!
In between all the home-cooking, I’m helping my children with online classes and homework. But, too much sitting isn’t good either. So, I’m trying to keep their little body’s active with home workouts and boredom-buster activities.
Add my business to the mix and I’ve been busier than ever.
Times Are Changing
The world is rapidly changing. We’re all forced to immediately adapt to a new lifestyle and we’re posed with the questions: What’s going to happen next? Will this thing keep spreading? Will self-quarantining and social distancing be enough?
Then, some even bigger questions: Will I still have a job next week? Can I afford to pay next month’s bills? Will I be able to put food on the table for my family?
We’re faced with a lot of uncertainly, to say the least.
As humans, we thrive on consistency. We find comfort in schedules, rituals, and knowing our basic needs will be met.
On the flip side, when we experience a shake-up (whether it be a move, job change, or a health pandemic), we have the ability to respond in one of two ways: Break down and let fear overpower the ability to do pretty much anything or to get flexible, re-organize, and rise to the challenge.
Despite enormous uncertainty right now, there is tremendous comfort in creating our own daily certainty. Here’s how:
1. Create a Purpose For Your Day
Every morning, set an intention that anchors you. What do you want to accomplish? I’m not just talking about creating a to-do list, but consciously aligning to something bigger. Don’t allow your mind to get distracted and let it wander to dark places. Focus on the things you do have, rather than the things you don’t. I always remember how blessed I am relative to the suffering in the world. My favorite few ways to set intentions include journaling, meditating, doing breathing exercises, and waking up to my regular yoga practice where I tune my body and my mind to start the day out with power.
2. Map Out Your Challenges & Come Up With a Realistic Plan
Pinpoint what challenges you are personally facing and map out your “fix-it” plan. For example:
Worried you’ll run out of food? Change the way you food shop. Instead of fresh veggies and foods that will go bad in just a few days, focus on shelf-stable canned vegetables, canned fish, oats, gluten-free pasta, rice, and legumes. Also, utilize your freezer! Load up on frozen vegetables, fish, and meat. You can also freeze things like bread, milk, and cheese. Instead of fresh eggs, buy and freeze cartons of egg beaters. There are options, you just have to get flexible.
Worried you’ll run out of meal ideas? There are plenty of food bloggers and cookbooks that offer up creative recipe ideas. I even put together an entire article filled with easy meal ideas that you can make with only the basics. Check it out HERE! Get organized, create menus, meal prep, and don’t worry about getting fancy. Download my flexible menu planner for free HERE!
Worried you won’t be able to help your kids with their schoolwork? Turn to online tutors for support! My son has even recently launched an online business where Stanford students will tutor your kids (they are all out of school and trying to overcome the uncertainty of their future with the certainty of being engaged in something meaningful). You can check it out HERE!
Worried you won’t be able to work with your kids at home? Set them up with an interactive game or book so they’re occupied as you get through your obligations.
3. Keep Your Routine As Normal As Possible
Your normal routine will be a bit out of wack, but this is a great time to work on self-discipline by proactively managing your day.
Instead of viewing your time at home as the ultimate staycation, get up early, get dressed, workout, make a nourishing breakfast, work during normal work hours, eat dinner during your normal dinner time, and go to bed at your usual bedtime. At home, I even have a meal schedule so that all 6 of us don’t announce they want lunch at a different time each day. Keep the structure of your day the same (as much as you can). Routines help establish certainty.
Schedule your work tasks, your home/family tasks, and personal time. Put in in a schedule like you would any of your work meetings. My calendar is full of things I’ve created for myself to keep my day in contact motion. Trust me, it’s better to busy than bored!
4. Create New Rituals
We may never ever have the gift of time like this ever again. Remember all of the things you wish you could do if only you didn’t have to work so hard? If only you could be home more? Why not enroll in online classes and teach yourself new things? I have been doing two daily yoga practices in my office and I’m finally going to take an online mixology class I’ve always wanted to do and have never carved out the time for. Yes, when I finally have you over again, I’ll know how how to mix you an artistic drink!
I’m also relishing the time for late-night movies (because the kids don’t have to wake up at 6 am), enjoying not hosting and entertaining for a while, cooking with the kids more, and really nourishing our family meals and moments.
Take control over the things you can and let go of the need to control the things you can’t. This will pass and you will emerge stronger (perhaps with some new cooking, organizing and cleaning skills too?)!