In the words of Joey Tribbiani, “How you doin?”
No seriously, this new life we’re all experiencing is no joke. The sudden change of all our routines. The abrupt halt of life as we know it. It can take a huge toll on our mental well being. I find myself having moments where I actually mourn my normal, mundane life stuff. Like, remember the good old days when we could run to Target and browse the hand soaps without fear of the National Guard showing up?! Remember when running out of toilet paper was just an inconvenience and not a White House Press conference situation?
I am incredibly grateful for the hard work of healthcare workers, first responders, grocery store employees, truck drivers…(the list goes on and on.) And even though I know how lucky I am to be home with my kiddos during these uncertain times, I still miss my students and the structure of my work life. I’m sad for my boys and this new, weird stay at home situation and all the things they have already missed. And, I’m not going to lie- I’m worried for the future. But, throughout this past week (which, OMG doesn’t it feel like a year?!) there have been moments where I felt optimistic, cheerful and dare I say it, sane. So, I thought I’d share my instances of happy to spread a little positivity, and maybe you all can share some of yours?
- Routine. I have always been a routine, planner kind of girl. And while I don’t have anywhere to go and nothing is on my agenda, just the act of having a morning routine is comforting. I’m up when my kids get up, which is usually around 8:00 AM. I put on fresh clothes, make their breakfast, and sit with a cup of coffee. It’s similar to our weekday routine, but less rushed and more enjoyable.
- Exercise. Thankfully I’m an at home workout person anyway. Just keeping up with my normal routine of exercise (yoga practice, bike rides, walks) has really helped my mental state.
- Making a to-do list. I have loved to-do lists since I was a child. I keep making lists to keep my sanity. Sometimes my lists are simple (laundry, take chicken out of the freezer, etc.) and other times they are inspired by my kids. We create our “what do we want to do today?” list together and it gives us a purpose and plan for the hours ahead that can feel a little endless at times.
- Creative Outlets. I go a little stir crazy without a project to work on. Having something to write or an activity to plan for my kids helps me tremendously. Recently I have been creating virtual lesson plans for my students and it has been surprisingly enjoyable.
- Getting outside. We are so lucky to live in the South where we can spend our time doing outside chores and play. Today I went for a walk while listening to an audio book and it completely transformed my mood.
- Talking to my friends. My text message game has been strong lately. Whether it’s sharing funny memes or checking in with my besties, having that space to vent has been so helpful.
- Watching my kids play. Honestly, it’s so nice to have a chance to slooooow down and watch my boys find ways to entertain themselves. I am so impressed with their creativity and what they are able to come up with when they actually have the time to be kids.
So those are my life saving activities for the moment. I’m sure it will evolve as we get deeper into our new social distancing lifestyle. What’s working for you? How are you maintaining your mental health and finding a little joy? Stay safe, sane, and happy, friends!