What a crazy couple of weeks we’ve had. Almost overnight, we’ve gone from shuttling kids to and from school, commuting to work, and spending evenings at soccer games and extracurricular activities to lockdown at home. Now, remote work and homeschooling are the new norm. Last week, we highlighted resources that parents can use to keep kids busy and learning at home.
This week, I want to take a moment to talk about your sanity as a parent. As “shelter in place” and coronavirus quarantine orders affect more people across the country and around the world, here’s our parent’s guide to surviving social distancing.
Let’s Talk About Structure
We’ve all heard it’s important to stick to a schedule as much as possible. But it’s equally important to take each day as it comes. That means staying fluid and flexible to accomplish daily tasks but also pausing to learn from everything that is happening around us.
How do you split the difference between maintaining structure and stability while providing space for fluidity and mindfulness? By making efforts to stick to your daily routine.
That means waking up at the same time each day to take your shower, get dressed, and get ready for the day. It might sound counterintuitive to dress up to work from home and homeschool your children. But this is a powerful secret that freelancers have incorporated into their workdays for years. Why? Because maintaining a sense of structure will boost your confidence and productivity.
Avoid parking for long periods of time in front of screens, particularly the television. The novelty will wear off quickly. What’s more, withdrawing and no longer taking part in regular activities can bring your mood down. That said, don’t beat yourself up for a pajama day or two. We’re all finding a new equilibrium, so let go of the past and start moving forward from this moment.
Remember These Fitness Dos and Dont’s
In last week’s blog post, we emphasized the importance of keeping kids active and getting them outside as much as possible. Of course, the same holds true for parents. When you suddenly back off on your regular fitness routine, it can send your mood into a tailspin. That said, how should you exercise during a pandemic?
Here are some tips from the Centers for Disease Control. They recommend placing a hold on your current gym membership if you’ve got one. Why? Because even if you’re lucky enough to belong to a gym that’s now more or less empty, you don’t want to risk putting yourself or others in harm’s way. Remember, some people spread coronavirus without showing symptoms, and so it’s important to take the current situation seriously and stay home.
Nonetheless, your exercise cravings are legit and deserve to be satisfied. What to do? Reconnect with nature by getting outdoors as often as you can. Nature is proven to reduce stress and anxiety, so go for a walk or hike. Just make sure to avoid areas where you can’t keep a safe distance away from others. Exercising online also proves another option. Depending on your fitness style, here are a few resources to get you started: Yoga With Adrienne, Planet Fitness’s YouTube channel, Shape.com’s strength training workouts.
Balancing Accomplishments with Small Indulgences
During a period of isolation, feeling a sense of accomplishment is also vital. Besides staying proactive about school studies and work, now’s a fantastic time to spring clean or complete to-dos that you’ve put off around the house. Tasks that will make you feel a sense of accomplishment might include organizing your wardrobe or hemming up that pair of pants that have been sitting by your washing machine for months.
Adding small indulgences to your day, like planning family movie nights or setting aside time each afternoon for tea, will also keep your spirits up. Find ways to enjoy a little alone time, too. Some parents have reported success in creating zones throughout the house for various activities. For example, set up a reading or chill-out corner with a bean bag chair and books or headphones in one area. In another, create space for game time or craft time. Designating these zones will provide a place for you and other family members craving a little space to retreat.
Surviving Social Distancing
Setting aside time each day to connect with adult friends and loved ones will also help with surviving social distancing. The mutual support you provide each other can happen over the phone or via social media. Use this time to decompress and share parenting tips and stories from your daily routine.
Be sure to connect often with older relatives and friends, too. As a more vulnerable population, they’re likely already following a full coronavirus quarantine and feeling particularly lonely. Remember, also, that every situation has a silver lining, even this one. Many parents already involved in social distancing for a few weeks report feeling guilt-free about not being so busy, and that’s a liberating feeling.
At Our Whole Village, we craft transformational trips for curious families who want to create lasting memories while making a difference. We’re here to help you and your family experience the world, its people, and its cultures. While traveling doesn’t make sense at the moment, there’s no reason you can’t plan and dream! When the time’s right, we’ll be here, crafting unforgettable journeys for adventure-seeking families just like yours.