This week has been one marked on our calendars for months now, and it will definitely be one we remember forever, although not for the reasons we thought it would.
Justin was supposed to have a conference for work this week and we were going to spend the week traveling, first in Memphis and then New Orleans. We were going to turn it into a work trip + vacation and we were both really excited. Obviously, things have drastically shifted in our world lately and that trip has been cancelled. Instead, we are hunkered down at home, socially distancing ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic. I still can’t believe I’m typing those words – this all feels very surreal.
I know many of us are feeling anxious in this time. We hear about toilet paper shortages, increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, stores and restaurants closing, quarantines, and a general sense of panic amidst all the leaders asking us to remain calm. There’s no sports. There’s no school. It feels like a strange, alternate reality where normal life is cancelled.
Today I thought I’d share some of the things I’ve done to make the most of social distancing at home. I recognize that this isn’t an easy time for many people. I know that many families are affected personally by this virus and have loved ones in critical condition or who have died. I know many people have lost a source of income due to all the store closures and cancellations. I don’t at all want it to seem like this is a lighthearted time at home for us, because all of this weighs very heavily on my heart. But I also know that I need to try to stay positive and busy during this time to keep my own mental health up and take care of my family. We are all just trying to do the best we can with a very difficult situation. I wanted to share what I’ve been doing in case it helps even just one person find something that helps them cope with staying at home for an indefinite period of time.
Make a List
When I realized that we would be staying at home for the forseeable future, I wrote out a list of things that I would love to accomplish – everything from opening Vi’s 529 plan to home updates. I appreciate that a ‘to-do list’ makes this time feel purposeful, which helps ease my anxiety level.
Some items on my to-do list are things I’ve been wanting to do for a while and just haven’t made the time to do them . . . now that it feels like I have nothing but time, it’s a good time to tackle some of those projects. For example, I’ve been meaning to put another coat of paint on our playroom toy shelves since it was starting to chip off in some places. It’s been bothering me for a while, so yesterday I finally tackled it and it looks so much better now!
I’m also working on some projects that were on my ‘someday’ list to do, like painting the basement. I knew I wanted to paint this space eventually but it wasn’t on my radar to do this year; however, now that I have so much time at home, it’s a perfect time to get a larger scale project like this done.
It doesn’t have to be a huge project or cost money. Even something simple like rearranging furniture, cleaning out closets, finally putting together a gallery wall, etc. can be done during this time and makes your home feel fresh.
Date from Home
Justin is also home for the week since he took this week off for our vacation, so it’s been nice to have lots of quality time together. We kind of each do our own projects and things throughout the day, but in the evenings we try to do something together. The first night it was folding laundry and watching Frozen 2 on Disney+, then the next night we got out a puzzle to work on together. It doesn’t have to be fancy to be fun and meaningful. Streaming movies and shows together is a nice way to unwind but doing something like completing a home project, cooking a meal together, putting together a puzzle or playing a 2-player game is a great way to connect and focus on our relationship in ways that we don’t always have time for.
Move your Body
I’ve never been more thankful for my at-home workout plans from Expecting and Empowered. There are a ton of free workouts from various fitness instructors on YouTube and lots of subscription programs out there too. Find something that works for you! Exercise is proven to be a mood booster and can help reduce stress and anxiety – all things we can use right now.
Yesterday I was feeling the need to move my body and I was craving a change in scenery, so I put Vi in the stroller and we just went for a walk. It was a little chilly but the crisp spring air was so refreshing! I meant for our walk to be about 10 minutes long and it ended up being over 30 minutes. It felt so good to be moving outside and I kept on going. Obviously, weather is going to be a factor here but on days where the sun is shining and it’s above freezing, I’m going to make it a point to get outside at least for a little bit.
I took a break from Facebook for Lent and I’m so happy I’m not on it right now. Social media can be a great way to connect, but it can also just be a continuous cycle of seeing people panic and share misinformation. I am still on Instagram, but I limit my time consuming that content. Instead, I stay connected with friends and family through phone calls, group texts, and the Marco Polo app. Marco Polo is my favorite – I am staying up with my college friends in different states as well as my fellow stay-at-home mom friends from my area. We’re sharing our experiences and days with one another through videos and it really helps to have regular communication with others to keep me from feeling too isolated.
Simple Self Care
I haven’t taken the time to paint my nails in a long time, so I gave myself a pedicure. It felt good to do a little something for myself and feel a bit normal. Things like a face mask or a deep conditioner (Pinterest is full of DIY options if you don’t have a store brought product) can help you stay relaxed. Light a candle, listen to music, and give yourself some TLC.
Learn Something – Classes, Books, Podcasts
Now is a great time to take an online class! There are SO many options out there. Brit + Co is currently offering FREE classes through the end of the month and I’m going to take advantage and take one or two of them.
It’s also a great time to read a book! My physical library is closed until mid-April,(thankfully, I already checked out many books beforehand) but they are still doing digital checkouts. There are apps to download books if you don’t have an e-reader or you can also use an app like Audible to listen to audiobooks.
Podcasts are also a great way to get some mental stimulation too. I’ve previously shared my favorite podcasts here but I’m currently loving listening to the Herself podcast, Chris Loves Julia, and Happier with Gretchen Rubin as I work on projects around the house.
I think one of the most important things is just to try to stay occupied – keeping my body moving, my mind active, and my relationships growing has helped me cope with these difficult and strange times.
Stay safe friends ❤