This past Thursday JonPaul and I made the decision to start “social distancing” ourselves and our kids. Not necessarily out of fear of the virus itself, but rather out of greater concern for all those around us. Recognizing that our small part of this story is to stay home. Understanding that if as many of us did that as possible, we could flatten the curve. We may not be the ones at the front line of this virus, helping to find a cure or caring for the sick, but our role is just as important. I believe we all have a role in this, and ours is to stay home.
With that being said, the uncertainly of this unprecedented time at home has me, and my whole family, feeling more uneasy than ever before. At times, almost frozen with indecisiveness about what we should be doing. What our days should look like? How will we manage? How will the kids hold up after day 7, day 21, day 60?
There are so many questions, and at times, my mind doesn’t stop.
But this feeling of overwhelming heartache for those suffering all around us (economically, physically, emotionally). This feeling of anxiety and worry over the unknown. This feeling of being frozen with where to begin and what to do next. I have felt this before. I know what this is, and thankfully have some sense of what I need.
While my job is first and foremost to be a loving and supportive mom, I know that in order for me to be able to do that, I need to take care of myself. I need to make sure I’m ok before I try and help make everything “ok” for those around me.
So here’s how I’m handling our “new normal”, and how I’m working to take care of “me” during this difficult time. I vow to…
Be gentle on myself
First and foremost I’m working on being gentle with myself. Showing myself grace and patience no matter how these next few weeks go, or how I handle them. Whether I’m the most patient mom I could be, or I snap at the kids every day. Whether I work out every morning, or not once during this whole month. Whether I maintain a healthy diet, or binge eat my stress away. Either way, I’m going to remind myself that it’s ok. I vow to be gentle on myself, no matter how each day goes. And know and believe that I’m doing the best I can, with what I have, where I am.
Keep my morning routine
Now more than ever, I need my routine. I need my structure. I shared a post back in January about my morning routine, and I couldn’t be more grateful now for that structure. It’s what’s keeping me balanced and focused and feeling like “me”.
When everything around me is changing, I focus on the things that aren’t. The sun rising at the same time. My morning meditation. My warm cup of lemon water that always starts the day. When it comes down to it. So many things are still the same. So I keep sending my brain back to those small moments of consistency that are so often overlooked. Remember, the small things ARE the big things. Including how we start our days.
Move. 30 minutes. Every day. No matter what.
When I first started practicing yoga over a decade ago I remember one of the first things I learned was how the physical asana practice was originally developed to help prepare the body and mind for mediation. Movement creates space for stillness. The same is true for our day to day life. Yes, movement is good for our bodies. But even more so, it’s wonderful for our minds.
So I’m staying committed to at least 30 minutes of mindful movement, every day. Which can look like everything from a walk to the park with the kids, to a work out video on youtube, to a 30 minutes yoga practice in my living room. Just 30 minutes.
Create a schedule, plan, and then throw it out all out the window.
You guys, I am a planner. Like a crazy type-A planner. And every ounce of me wants to create a calendar for the kids with their “school work” schedule. But in reality, all that does is create another source of anxiety for me.
So instead, I created a super broad schedule. A framework. And I’m allowing it to be flexible. Whatever we get in, we get in. What we don’t, we don’t. And there is no judgment either way.
Listen to me closely, this is not the day to become the Pinterest worthy homeschooler. Today is NOT that day. Please let’s not all Pinterest our days away and then feel crappy because all we’re left with is a hot mess and crying kids.
Let’s do our best to create a general framework for our days at home, and then let it go.
Find the little moments.
I remember when I first became a mama, I wouldn’t let myself sit down and “relax” until everything was “done”. I would go all day washing dishes, folding little diapers, chasing little feet all around the house. Never letting myself have a moment of quiet because there seemed to be things all around me that “needed to be done”.
The same seems to be true for now. Especially with all of us under one roof for so long. So finding small moments of peace, peppered in the day is so important. Just five minutes, to walk into another room and sit quietly. 5 minutes to stand on the front porch a take a few deep breaths, alone. 5 minutes to stretch on my yoga mat by myself. We underestimate how crucial small breaks in our day really are.
Let go of all expectations
On myself with blog work. On the kids with school work. On JP with pitching in to get it all done. On all of us. I’m letting go of any and all expectations I have for this unique moment in time. And trying really hard to be open to however this goes. Whether we’re home for one week, or six. Just taking it day by day and truly (for probably the first time ever) not having a plan for “what’s next”.
No one of us knows what the next few weeks hold for us, which is crazy if you think about it. This is such a unique time for ALL of us. And I think in the end that’s what gives me the most comfort. Is that we are ALL in this same unique, strange boat, just trying to figure it out. And sometimes just knowing that you’re not alone, and there are people standing with you is all you need to find inner strength.
So for all of you reading this who are scared, or confused or overwhelmed with your “new normal”, just know that I am right there with you. Walking side by side with you. We’ve got this.
I’d love to hear from all of you. How are you feeling with this “new normal”? What daily practices are you putting in place to help you cope?