Hi Ivy and Sprig friends,
I hope you and your family are well and healthy. I know most of you have now had a chance to experience at least two weeks of staying at home to prevent the spread of COVID-19 Corona virus.
Staying at home and working from home is a huge adjustment for most people I talk to. One of them is just all of the togetherness. And another is the nerves around the news itself. There are so many pros and also some frustrations and cons. But, we can start to find some steadiness and peace in this constantly changing time with some intentionality.
Here are some thoughts that may help you and your family adapt during this weirdly uncertain time. This is NOT a vacation but it FEELS like a vacation. Stay in pajamas all day….watch tv until midnight. Eat anything anytime. No reason to shower or dress. No place to be exactly. Walk the dog a hundred times. You know ….you are living it.
Stop the madness, you and your family need a routine. Routine creates structure and makes people, especially children, feel safe because they have limits and know what is coming next.
1. Set a bedtime and wake up time. First of all, our circadian rhythms need order and alignment. You will sleep better and have more energy if you stick to a time to go to bed. Lights out. And a time to wake up. Get out of bed and open the drapes. Your body will respond in about three days. If you can’t sleep on the first night because its earlier, lay in bed in the dark and think, pray and process everything. We need time to do those things too.
2. Just like changing time zones, eat at the same time everyday as a routine. Let your family know when the kitchen is open. Lunch is 12 -1 and then it gets cleaned up and put away. Snacks are available but try to set mealtimes and then close things up. Grazing breakfasts from 8:30 to 11:30 and late lunches lead to late dinners and late nights. Set your body rhythms.
3. Get some exercise. Not just the walking of the dog fresh air type but the sweating and deep breathing type that causes you to pump blood and oxygen all over your body and release hormones that negate all of that fight or flight cortisol.
4. Bookend your news, texts, social media and phone calls. Just like during your normal workday, you need to set boundaries around your time or you will find yourself looking at Coronavirus updates and hilarious videos all day long and then saying, “Wait, where was I going ?” as you walk through your house! Get your updates in defined chunks and then turn it off.
5. Cooking, cleaning, lysol and other new projects! Wow, those take up time too. This is a good time for families to work together. Make a list and let your family know that everyone needs to pitch in and help. In my family, since I have older kids, we’ve decided that everyone is in charge of doing their own laundry and each person gets a day. Other chores are divided up. BUT, since most still fall on me as the normal house CEO, I ALSO have a schedule.
6. Make an ITINERARY for yourself. I do this the night before and it starts with my wake up time. An itinerary tells me where to go and what to do in my own house all day. Sound crazy? Have you ever been to a spa where they give you your schedule for the day? Well that can work right now too. It keeps you on track and reminds you of what’s next so you don’t head off in a different direction and get to the end of the day with no clean socks and underwear!
7. Find the familiar and incorporate it as best you can. When everything feels different and out of control, we need steady, something that is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. God is who we can ALWAYS count on. He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. He is our strong tower, our rock and our refuge. Pray the Lord’s prayer together with your family to help remind each of you that He’s got you during this scary time. Familiar routines that define your family help your family feel secure together too. If possible, find and continue those too. Your kids need to know that if you always had Mexican Food on Sunday nights that this Sunday is still Mexican Food Night.
I hope these ideas start to create calm and safe feelings for your family and some normalcy within not normal for all of you too.