What a weird and wonky world we are living in right now! We are definitely in unchartered territory right now and everything seems out of control and spinning and spiraling way too fast.
I wrote in January that 2020 was going to be the Year to Slow Down.
and I most certainly DID NOT MEAN THIS!
Please know that wherever you are and whenever you are reading these words, that you are NOT ALONE. Not even for a nanosecond.
In uncertain times such as these, there are only a few things that you can control — and so I’ve tried my hardest to compile the best advice I can think of to hopefully be of help to you in some way.
These are universal things — use what you want/need for this particular crisis, but file them away in the back of your brain for the next time you find yourself feeling out of control or spiral-y.
10 Things You Can Do to Take Care of Yourself and Your Family
1. Create a Schedule
I have always been a big fan of schedules — and this probably started back when I ran preschool centers for at-risk and homeless children before I had kids of my own. There is a reason that all preschool and elementary school classrooms have a chart hanging on the wall with the daily schedule —
usually there is a listing of something like:
8 am circle time
8:30 sharing time
9:00 small group work
9:30 free play
10:00 snack and recess
10:30 math games
with some simple clipart graphics
Do this. For reals, do it. 🙂
I’ve written about my time management tips and tricks for moms before — and I shared in it that moms don’t work 9 to 5, moms work 5 to 9. You are in charge of you but you need to have some sort of daily routine set up — especially in uncertain times — if you do not already have a schedule or routine in place, make one.
If you have kids in the house right now that you are trying to also homeschool — create a schedule for them, too. It does not have to be perfect or pinterest-worthy in ANY WAY.
Just a down and dirty sticky note will be just fine.
If you do not have kids in the house, you don’t get a free pass. 😉
You, too, need to figure out some sort of schedule for yourself so you don’t spend the entire day in your jammies watching Netflix (PS: it’s okay to do this, once in a while — it’s good for your brain to “turn off” (see #5 below) — just make it a CONSCIOUS choice, not a default setting.
More info is here, on making a schedule and why it’s advantageous for children.
2. Meal Plan
If you’ve been on my email list or have followed me and my writing for a while, I am preaching to the choir, here, I know.
[somehow you don’t know what I’m talking about? Here is the Meal Planning for
Dummies Normal People article]
BUT — if you’ve been a hold out, now is the time to make a meal plan and stick to it. It’s not the time to be grabbing fastfood last-minute or heading to the store willy-nilly.
If you haven’t already downloaded it, here is my top-selling 5 Ingredients or Less Slow Cooker Meal plan, free of charge.
3. Parent the Hell Out of Your Kids
Please pardon my language.
But now is NOT the time to be annoyed by your children. Now is the time to hug them and reassure them that everything is going to be okay.
Now is the time to play the board game, and dig out the legos.
We are all stressed — all of us.
But how you handle this stress is going to make an impact on your kids.
Perhaps even forever.
If you are having a difficult time coping, then you need to reign it in so you can be the absolute best parent in the history of the universe to your kids right now.
If you are having behavior problems with your kids, see what you can do to quickly change what needs to change so you can harmoniously be in the same house.
Don’t give your kids the impression that they are annoying you.
Put down the phone and hang out with your kids.
If you are working, then work during scheduled work hours (see #1) and then when the work is over, be present. Truly present.
My favorite behavior books are 1 2 3 Magic and How to Talk So Kids Will Listen, and How to Listen So Kids Will Talk.
If you need ideas on workbooks or board games, I outlined my favorites in this article: I’m a Closet Homeschooler
4. Take Care of Your Physical Health
I’m not a doctor. I’m not going to rehash all that is floating around in cyberspace about how to best help protect yourself from getting sick or how to best boost your immunity —
You know what you need to do to become a bit healthier.
Now is the time to really focus on whatever health related New Year’s Resolution you had for yourself.
Just do it. Eat a bit better. Drink a bit less. Work out more often, but don’t overdo it.
Consider yoga and consider fasting — I’ve done both every day for almost a year — March 30th is my one year anniversary of Intermittent Fasting and doing yoga daily.
my favorite Yoga app is Down Dog, and it just so happens to be free right now.
My favorite fasting book is Delay, Don’t Deny by Gin Stevens.
If you think you are drinking too much, reign it in.
You don’t want your kids to think that adults need alcohol in order to handle stress. If you are looking for a good book to read about alcohol, This Naked Mind is a great book.
5. Take Care of Your Mental Health
Now is the time. If you’ve always wanted to start journaling, do it. Start a gratitude journal, start paying attention to all of the little things in life that make you happy and try your hardest to start and end your day in a thankful space.
Do yoga. Garden. Read uplifting words. Pray. Go silent. Take long walks. Take a bath. Paint your toenails.
Do all the things. This is the time.
If you know me only for my crockpot recipes, you may not know that I’m a little bit “woo” — but I am. 😉
I’ve always liked trying to train my thoughts to stay in an ‘attitude of gratitude’ and I even go so far as playing subliminal messaging cds around the house….
(don’t judge! this is who I am! 😉 )
ANYWAY, if you haven’t looked into reprogramming the negative tapes in your head, now may be the time to do some research.
I like Inner Talk and have gotten quite a few of their tapes/cds over the years.
When I ran the preschool centers for homeless children, we used “nap time music” — so I played the Boosting Self-Esteem tape for the kids — it sounded like classical music, but the messaging was: You are always loved, You are perfect just the way you are —
(I told you I was a bit “woo!” )
If you don’t want to purchase something right now — my favorite subliminal app is free — I play it in the background while listening to Pandora, I play it if I’m having a hard time sleeping, and sometimes I’ll just play it while I’m running — it’s cool in that it’ll work in the background behind another app such as Couch to 5k or while listening to music.
The preprogrammed voices can be male or female and there is also an option to record your own.
If you need help with your kids’ mental health and how to best talk and engage with them, Second Step is a very helpful resource.
6. Get Enough Sleep
I have sleep apnea.
My friend Jen diagnosed me 2 years ago this upcoming May — I’ve always been tired for as long as I can remember.
I brought it up to my doctor a number of times and was sort of shoved aside:
“welcome to motherhood!”
“welcome to age 40!”
but Jen heard me snore on a girls’ getaway weekend and said I should have somebody check it out.
So I got a sleep study and it was found that I stopped breathing 45 times during my sleep stretch.
I now sleep with a CPAP machine every night and feel so much better than I used to.
You probably don’t have sleep apnea. But you probably could use more sleep.
Get it. You deserve it.
Schedule in an early to bed, early to rise schedule for yourself (see # 1)
7. Limit Exposure
I don’t want to give out any sort of medical advice. I also don’t like being bossy or a know-it-all.
I am simply just your friendly neighbor Steph who only wants the best in the world for you.
If you are having a hard time understanding the state of affairs we are in or why we need to take this Super Seriously, then please take the time to watch this 8 minute animated video.
my kids are currently 18, 15, and 10.
Adam has asked that I NOT show the kids this video because while it is informative, it is also kind of scary.
If you think it’s not good for you to watch because of your own anxiety level, then don’t watch it. (see # 5).
8. Stay Informed
But not too informed.
Don’t overdo the news — but also don’t ostrich yourself. I happen to get most of my news these days from Reddit, and because of that, I felt that I was about 10 days in front of the major news outlets reporting.
Schedule in your news watching and reading — (see #1) and realize that if you are watching something scary on TV it will have an effect on your kids.
9. Fresh Air
Right now, California is in a Lockdown. Or maybe we are in a Shelter in Place?
I don’t know — all I know is that we are supposed to be staying home as much as humanly possible, so that is what we are doing.
But fresh air and Vitamin D is important —
so if you can, please get outside — read a book outside, go pull some weeds, or walk the dog around the block. Look up at the sun and stars and say a little prayer of gratitude.
10. Better Yourself
We will overcome this. You will overcome this.
No matter what, this will end and you might as well become a better version of yourself.
Poke around Udemy.com and take a class. Learn a new language. Figure out how to beat your husband at chess.
What you do to take care of yourself and your family these next few months will help shape your future and the futures of those you love.
Consider yourself loved and hugged.