It’s been a while since I’ve written here on Red Shutters.
I’ve had a year. Lots of good stuff! But the kind of stuff that’s pulled my attention away from writing on the blog.
I’m back today to talk about how I’m making staying at home during the coronavirus global pandemic manageable for me and for my family.
I’m on day 10 of being at home with my family, practicing social distancing to keep us (and the people around us) safe from the continued spread of the coronavirus. The days have bled together in a blur of carbohydrates and yoga pants, but we have made it through. We’ve had ups and downs and way too much screen time, but the good news is that I still adore my family. (And I think they still like me!)
With no end in sight to our stay-at-home mandate (perhaps it’ll be the end of April? Or maybe May?), I’ve put together a list of 9 ways to stay at home during coronavirus. These COVID-19 tips are all about feeding your spirit; see the CDC’s website for health tips.
- Make a list — After a few days of a schedule that we didn’t really stick to (our school district has yet to roll out online learning), my kids and I adopted a new strategy: daily to do lists. I leave lists for the kids on the kitchen table, and they’re empowered to spend the day completing the tasks in any order they’d prefer. The tasks vary from the simplistic (make your bed) to the more complex (complete 30 minutes of math enrichment), with a few softballs (give Mom a hug) thrown in there, too. It’s been amazing how well they concentrate (and stop complaining) when they’re focused on their lists. (I’ve made myself a “COVID-19” to do list, too, and it includes such tantalizing tasks as cleaning out the closet, going through the kids’ clothes to see what doesn’t fit anymore, and reorganizing our books.)
- Read — Interestingly, this week, my stress dropped significantly when I started to read an amazing book. I got swept up in the story, and momentarily, forgot about what was going on in the world. My new commitment is to have a novel in my hand or at my side 24 hours a day for the duration of this pandemic. Here are 10 excellent books I’ve read in the last year that I hope you’ll enjoy:
- The Other’s Gold by Elizabeth Ames
- Trust Exercise by Susan Choi
- If, Then by Kate Hope Day
- The Stationery Shop by Marjan Kamali
- Ask Again, Yes by Mary Beth Keane
- Inheritance: A Memoir of Genealogy, Paternity, and Love by Dani Shapiro
- Rules of Civility by Amor Towles
- The Third Hotel by Laura van den Berg
- Nothing to See Here by Kevin Wilson
- Red at the Bone by Jacqueline Woodson
- Laugh — We’ve been hosting a number of movie nights with the kids since we’ve hunkered down at home. In order to keep everyone’s spirits up, we’ve focused in on comedies, and truly, nothing is better than listening to your kids cackle and guffaw over a perfectly timed joke. Host a movie night in your house or watch stand-up on YouTube – anything to get your spirit filled with joy.
- Move your body — I know every expert out there says this, and it can be super annoying to hear, but it’s true: moving your body will make you feel better. I took a long walk with my family over the weekend, and it was just what we all needed. The sun was shining overhead, the birds were chirping, and everyone was staying six feet away.
- Connect with friends — My Book Club met via Zoom last week. It’s definitely not the same as being together, but what fun it was to see my friends on the screen. We shared several laughs and tips on how we’re getting through the day, balancing work and kids at home. And, we’re meeting up again this week.
- Check on your neighbors — At the start of the pandemic’s spread in Massachusetts, one of my neighbors put together an emergency contact list for everyone in our neighborhood (something we should have had long ago), and a group of neighbors held a Zoom call a few days ago to check on everyone. Knowing that we can reach out to those around us makes a big difference in feeling better. Even with social distancing, we can help one another. Run to the pharmacy for an elderly neighbor or shovel (it’s still snowing in New England) a neighbor’s walkway, if they’re not able. Staying six feet away from one another, doesn’t mean we can’t still be connected.
- Limit social media — In our I-need-to-know-everything world, this one may feel counterintuitive. I find, however, that too much time on social media can make me frustrated. To help with us, I have a timer set on my phone to kick me off Twitter and Instagram after a specific amount of time (I took Facebook off my phone years ago). These decisions free me up from spending too much time in other people’s business and in other people’s anxiety.
- Write it down — Someday, you’ll look back upon this period of social distancing. What will you remember? Consider starting a journal of your life in the time of coronavirus – even just a paragraph a day. Or, if writing is not your thing, take a photo each day you’re at home. Focus on what you’re grateful for, what makes you laugh, what you cherish.
- Dream — One day, our need to stay in our homes, away from the people we love, will be over. What will you do to celebrate? How will this time have changed you? “The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams,” said Eleanor Roosevelt. And she was right. Keep dreaming and hoping for what’s ahead.
What are you doing to get through a COVID-19 quarantine? How are you staying at home during coronavirus? Tell me in the comments.
Stay safe out there, friends.
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