I don’t know about you…but this quarantine life is a bit crazy and hard to handle!! It’s taken me two weeks, but I’ve put five things into place now that are really helping me cope. I’m sharing them with you in hopes they inspire you with some new ideas to help you as well.
Creating a daily/hourly routine:
Having a routine is probably one of the most important things for me to maintain my mental and emotional health. But how do you create a routine spare of the moment for an ever-changing crisis?
My first two weeks at home I had no routine and was just winging everything. This had me in constant anxiety and fear of dropping the ball. Once our schools sent out what was expected of us, and once I realized this was going to be our way of life for a little while, I was able to create a hourly routine for our weekdays.
The easiest way for me to start making a routine was our eating schedule. I started with certain times for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Then I scheduled in home school, outside time, work time, personal time, family time, and bedtime. I informed my family of my new schedule and told them how it impacted them.
I can use these scheduled timed activities throughout my day if they ask me what were doing or they start bothering me for something like lunch. I can say, “It’s 12:30, lunch is at 1:00.” It seems to help my kids a lot to know what’s coming next and at what time, and it gives me allotted times for myself.
Letting things go and not forcing things:
Even though I created a daily/hourly schedule I know I have to be flexible with expecting everyone else to follow it. This schedule is for me, not necessarily my husband or my teenager.
For example, a part of letting things go is not freaking out when my teenager wakes up at 12:00 and misses breakfast. As much as I want to pull him out of bed at 10:00, I also don’t want to fight anything that isn’t critical right now. By letting him sleep a little longer he wakes up rested and we can skip the whole morning argument. I just don’t have extra energy to use up forcing him to comply with everything. He’s there for lunch and dinner, and has his home school time alone with me in the afternoon since I’ve already finished home school with the younger kids in the morning. It’s not perfect, but it’s working, and right now anything that works is a win.
I’ve also had to let go of some school and activity expectations for my kids. My youngest daughter is in private school, and the week after spring break we were given a schedule for them to follow that was from 8:00-3:00 everyday. This schedule included all the work they would normally do during the regular school day including projects, papers, work in every subject, a daily conference call, and even recess. When trying to stay on this schedule I about had a heart attack! There was NO WAY to have my daughter on her own 8:00-3:00 school schedule from my house. Especially when I’m also working from home.
I decided to let this go.
I took the work they gave me for the week, decided on how much we could feasibly do, and decided not to do the rest. Now we do two hours a day, mid-morning, and we skip the conference calls in the afternoon. I make sure we’re getting what’s graded completed, and I forget the rest. I also decided to do all of Science one day, all the Math one day, all the Reading one day, etc. It’s much easier for us to focus on one subject a day, verses five subjects everyday.
If I’m going to be the teacher, I’m going to have to do what works for me.
I’ve also had to let go of attending all of our Live Stream dance classes, and recommended soccer/baseball practices. I’m not saying we don’t do them… I’m saying we only do what isn’t a fight. If it’s stressing out me or my kids I toss it out the window for that day. Right now I need to stay sane!
Getting dressed in stay-at-home cute outfits:
I’m sorry, but I do not look as cute in sweats as all the singers on the iHeart radio benefit show! Am I right?? I have my daytime pajamas and my night time ones and lately I’m sick of looking at myself in the mirror.
I decided to go through my closet and create a new brand of outfits – my Stay At Home Spring Wardrobe.
I still wear sweat pants, but I wear Spring tops that make me happy, I fix my hair, I put on some freaking mascara, and even some perfume. I swear creating my new outfits has made me so happy, and I look forward to waking up and getting dressed now. Little things like this can go a long way for your daily attitude!
Self checking my self talk:
Before all this craziness began, I had been successful in creating a lot of quiet space in my brain. This was weird for me because my brain has been full of negative habits for years and years and years. But as soon as the crisis hit, my brain immediately became full again.
I found myself full of anxiety, and my coping mechanisms kicked in. Perfectionism, drinking, eating, my inner critic came back, I was people pleasing, being a control freak, comparing myself to others on the internet, and isolating.
Pretty much a full relapse of all the things I’ve worked so hard to get rid of. Luckily I noticed it all right away and I’ve been able to self check myself as I go through my day. As soon as I begin to think of something that’s not serving me, I can tell myself to knock it off!
Self awareness is key! Listen to your brain. Calm your thoughts. Especially that inner critic – you have NO TIME for that right now.
Making myself a priority:
What does that look like? For me, it’s self care habits that I schedule into my daily routine.
For example, at my house I have older kids and they sleep in until about 9:00, so I scheduled breakfast at 10:00. This gives me time to wake up around 8:00 and have two hours to myself. This morning time is critical for me. I use this time to practice my Daily Gratitude, plan out my day, and get my mindset right by writing in my journal mantras and empowering beliefs. What are those? Some include: I am a patient Mom. I am a leader in my family. I am a devoted wife. I am enough. These mantras and beliefs help me during my day when I start losing my crap during home school!
It’s also taking time to create things such as writing this blog post. It’s having time to mediate and process my thoughts. It’s laying outside in the sun. It’s drinking my afternoon coffee. Yesterday I called my Mom for an hour and vented about my life…you know, things for YOU!
But mostly, it’s taking the time to do these things without feeling guilty about it. NO MOM GUILT. It’s knowing that it’s okay to put on my mask first. It’s knowing what I need and doing it. It’s knowing what I need and asking for it.
No one will make you a priority. You have to do it yourself. I know our first reaction is to take care of everyone else first, but I promise you can show up better for your family when you meet your own needs. This may feel uncomfortable at first. Start small and build over time.
We can do this!
I hope these ideas have inspired you in some way. I’d love to hear your ideas of how your managing your quarantine life. I’m hear for you and I know we are all going to make it through this together.