Anyone feel like they are walking a tightrope lately? No? Just me?
I think the key for being at home during a stay-at-home-order is to find balance. How do we do it all? Well, we don’t.
I like schedules. I like to have a plan for the day and a plan for the week. But since #Corona, that has gone out the window. For our normalcy in the day now, we strive to just make it.
We have three kids in our home. Once a week, our big kids go to their dad’s for the week. This leaves me with baby O and the dogs for a full-week while Sam is at work (Sam is essential at the VA and is still reporting to work).
On those early mornings, when it is the baby and me, my goal is simple: keep the tiniest human in the house alive and well.
I am not kidding.
Being at home all day every day with kids, big or little, may take a toll.
But, these are unprecedented times and stress tends to rise. I don’t think any of us can get through this situation without a bit of stress or strain. We count on routine, we count on a job, we count on school, and some of those things now are in our home more so than ever before.
So, we just create new routines, right?
Sounds simple, yet it is so challenging. Creating a new normal can be hard when you aren’t sure if you have a “normal” to begin with. Stress comes in a variety of ways. You might get short with family or friends, you might feel a little anxiety creeping in, maybe your nights are sleepless and you feel exhausted.
So part of our new routine becomes self-care. Listening to our bodies. Knowing when to take a break and when to work, knowing when to get some fresh air and when to take time to rest, that is self-care. Reading a good book, cuddling on the couch with your kids, watching a movie, listening to a podcast–those things are self-care for me.
Working at home with a soon-to-be-one-year-old has its ups and downs. We decided to keep O out of daycare until things settle down with COVID-19. This means that work gets done between naps, during play time, and when time permits if necessary. This means that big sister and big brother step up (and they have stepped up B I G) to help out so Mama can get some things done.
This is our new routine, and our new normal.
How do you know you are worked/stressed/defeated? Ask yourself a few questions.
- Are you feeling pressured?
- Are you irritable?
- Do you have a stomachache or headache?
- Is your sleep pattern interrupted?
- Are you having stressful dreams?
- Are you overeating? (guilty, oversnacking here)
- Do you feel sad?
- Are you anxious?
If you answer yes or think “maybe that is me” to some of those questions, then it might be time for a break, time for a walk, time for a chat with friends and family.
Working and staying at home all day can take a toll, trust me. I have felt a little, dare I say, bored. But, I can change the situation by doing a few things like taking a walk, listening to a podcast, unplug from the computer/email, ask for help, stay organized (that is t-o-u-g-h, friends), eat healthier (a few M&Ms and Skittles never hurt), and communicate. Easier said than done, right?
Isolating can be tough. For those of us who thrive on social interaction, stay connected with technology! I am telling you, apps like Marco Polo, spaces like Google Hangouts, and Microsoft Teams can make a difference!
Just seeing a person can make a huge difference! Trust me!
There’s also this thing called a phone call…
We also have to consider those who may not have the technology. Reaching out can be sending a letter, dropping off food, or simply calling to say “hello.” Remember not everyone uses a smartphone or Facebook.
A big stress reliever and part of routine at our home is interacting with the dogs. Memphis really picks up on Sam’s tension, stress, and anxiety (and sometimes senses it in other members of the family). With the beautiful weather there are more games of fetch outside, more frisbee, and more walks. This is good for all of us!
We will always have stressors in our life. We can’t always control them or the situations we are in, but we can control how we respond to them.
Remember to take time for yourself. Balancing this new normal can be tough. It is okay to have a lazy day, a TV day, a no-work day. We need to be kind to ourselves and to one another.