So much has changed in our daily lives in such little time. I find myself checking the news headlines in the mornings to see what changed from the day before. I am extremely thankful to be at home with my 2 children right now while so many others are working to keep society going and maintaining our health and safety. I have never in my life been more grateful for all of them. My husband is still working and will continue to work through all of this as he is mostly isolated in his machine maintaining the gravel roads. I am home with the kids trying to keep things as normal as possible for them. I feel this giant sense of responsibility to make sure my 5 year old continues to practice and learn what she should for Kindergarten, all the while keeping my 1 year old injury free and preventing him from destroying our home at the same time. It is much easier said than done. I have also heard from several parents of older children that it is much harder to keep them home and entertained. Friends and social circles are everything to older kids. Not to mention their school work is much harder to help with! I believe we are all just doing what we can to do our best and keep our families healthy and safe. The past 3 weeks I have been trying to establish our new “routine”. I have also discovered a few things that have been helping to save my sanity! Here is what I have found!
I like to do small things that I enjoy. This seems so simple and that it should go without mentioning, but these are things I often overlook during normal circumstances due to feeling too busy. I like to light a candle during the day on my counter, take a bubble bath at night, walk/ride my bike, write, color, or do a puzzle. Whatever you like to do, do it. Don’t think too much about it, just get up and do it. You will feel better because of it.
Rearrange the furniture. This drives my husband nuts. There are 2 kinds of people in this world. Those that find the way they like their furniture and leave it be for all of eternity and those that are constantly changing things around to see what they like best. I am the latter. I get tired of the same old same old. I love waking up in the morning and walking into a newly rearranged room from the day before.
Change around the kids’ toys. Don’t just stop at the furniture. Keep your kid’s toys new and interesting for them. Bring up toys they haven’t played with in a while or move stuff from their room somewhere else and replace it. Old toys will feel new again! Get out mom and dad’s old toys that you have been saving for someday down the road. They will love it!
Get outside at least twice a day. This is easy because of where we live. I do realize there are places where you cannot do this. Go for a walk, fill the bird feeders, wave to the neighbors, or just stand on the porch. Breathe in the fresh air and feel the sun (or rain) on your face.
Drive around your town and look for things you’ve never noticed before. (Again, super easy in rural Iowa.) A lot of families are putting things in their windows to look at- rainbows, bears, drawings. Drive down streets you don’t usually drive down. Go for a drive on a gravel road! See how many different birds you can spot. Look for different types of plants or trees. Download a car scavenger hunt to do as a family.
Have a date night in. Put the kids to bed early. Support your local restaurants and order some food. Have a living room picnic, pick a good movie, play a board game, or truth or dare. Plan a virtual game night with friends. Use the zoom app or try downloading a game app on your phone.
Try to keep a day to day routine as best as you can that you can rely on and stick to. Keep the weekends fun and the weekdays for a little more structure.
Do things to make you feel good about yourself. I am a normal sweatpants/ponytail type of person, so I am keeping to my normal, but if you normally style your hair and wear makeup then do that. If you usually paint your nails, go ahead and do that. Support your local salon or small business and order some new product to try out. Dress up a little bit for your date night in. Spray on you’re favorite perfume or cologne. Do whatever you do that makes you feel good about you and do that.
Connect with and serve others. Use technology to your benefit- FaceTime, call, zoom, Marco Polo, whatever you use, set up times to talk to the important people in your life regularly. Use this as an excuse to make the time to connect more than you usually do. If you’re feeling stressed or worried, talk it out. Share the small joys you experience during the day. Make sure you are checking in on your friends and family, they might be having a harder time than you are. Check on your neighbors. Give them a call or drop off a note (making sure you are maintaining social distance). Send cards and drawings to nursing home residents who can’t have visitors. Drop off a care packages at someone’s house. Leave a small gift for your mailman. Any way you are able, serve others.
If you find other things that help you keep positive and feel good, please share! I would love to hear how you are getting through these unusual times. I wish you all health, safety, and happiness. Pray for our leaders, healthcare workers, and all who are working and sacrificing for us.
Talk to you soon,