The coronavirus crisis is unprecedented in our modern age. As we practice social distancing and stay home, every aspect of our lives has changed, parenting is no exception. From the hustle bustle of normal life to suddenly being thrust into house arrest and dealing with COVID-19 uncertainty, parents are left to take on new obstacles no one could have predicted for 2020. As parents step into the new normal, it’s so important to take care of their mental health more than ever. Here are 10 ways to make it a positive day during quarantine.
1. Prioritize Stress Management
Learning new coping skills in a new routine while confined to the house has been the biggest learning curve in staying positive: If not managed, stress takes over. Just recognizing that has been the hardest lesson and prioritizing ways to take control of the day has been critical. Sometimes that means embracing my feelings and being okay with them. It’s okay to be scared. It’s okay to not know what is going to happen next. Other times, I turn to things I do have control over: writing, cooking, calling friends and family, and spending as much time as possible outdoors.
2. Exercise For Endorphins
Any type of exercise is a stress reliever, mood booster, and heart strengthener. But without the luxurious days of visiting the crisp cold gym, managing a fitness routine at home is difficult. It’s one of those things that’s easy to slip away, but times of stress are when you need exercise the most.
One way to exercise is to include my 3 year old and to take it outside. It’s not pretty, and it certainly isn’t seamless (he always has to go to the bathroom mid-workout). My favorite home online workouts have been through Glo Yoga, Pinterest, or just a simple walk.
3. Improve The Mood Outdoors
Indoors makes the quarantine all the more real, which is why we spend as much time as possible outside. There is something so soothing and relaxing about the outdoors. Studies have proven this, researchers found that participants who spent just five minutes sitting in nature experienced an increase in positive emotions. Luckily we live in a beautiful state with beautiful weather to do almost any activity outdoors. If we can do the activity outside, we do, whether it’s eating, playing, or reading, we relocate outside.
4. Spend Time With Cuddly Companions
According to a study conducted by Washington State University, cuddling a cat or dog for a few minutes reduces cortisol levels. It goes both ways because our dogs truly are in paradise. They haven’t been this happy since their puppy years when they were the babies of the household. They get frequent baths, constant brushes, and a million pets all day long. In return, they bring just as much joy to us with their constant adoration and jovial moods. Plus any dog lover will tell you, spending time with our furry friends is never time wasted.
5. FaceTime to Stay Connected
Although we are physically isolated from our family and friends, we are all connected and close because we are going through the exact same thing. Constant checking-ins, Zoom chats, and FaceTime conversations make the distance forgettable for small moments.
6. Ignore My Son
In the first days, I felt pressure to implement some sort of school-like curriculum. I am not a school teacher, art teacher, PE teacher, or any other qualified profession for teaching children. I am his mother, so although it makes me his personal maid, chef, teacher, and so much more, it doesn’t mean I have to use this time to replicate school. For us it’s been a time of talking, songs, creating art – some days on the walls and floors rather than the actual paper, imagination, and sports. But other times it means I ignore him (in reality he is ignoring me) while he plays independently. There shouldn’t be pressure to replicate something that can’t be replicated in the home environment. Rather he just needs to know that he is safe, cared for, and loved. And those times he plays independently, I write, do 100 air squats, or stare off into the ceiling.
7. Create Rituals
Rituals create a sense of serenity in the midst of chaos. So we created our own with peanuts and popsicles. It’s an event in itself when it comes the time of day where we shell our peanuts outside for an afternoon snack followed by a cold Schmancy Pop under the blazing sun. It sounds simple but it gives us infinite joy being present and talking to each other, usually about which Godzilla monster is our favorite or where the snakes are hiding are some of our daily conversation starters.
8. Stimulate The Mind With Podcasts or E-books
Depression is a common effect of lack of mind stimulation. One way we enrich our day with mental stimulation is with podcasts or e-books. With my son around, I can’t listen to my typical podcasts on various sociopaths and scandals so instead we listen to e-books. Right now, it’s Harry Potter on Audible.
9. Cook for Comfort
You can’t control what is going on in the world but you can control what you eat, why not make it delicious. Cooking takes focus and makes me forget about any worries I have. My son joins in the fun as well and likes to take an active part in preparing meals. Not only is the process fun, but it’s so comforting to have a good meal. As our grocery store visits are more infrequent, we’ve been running down this list of recipes from the New York Times, that includes pantry staple recipes, perfect for your time while in the house. Another local favorite for fun and flavorful recipes are from Grilled Cheese Social. For recipes designed for my son to help, I rely on The Toddler Cookbook.
10. Puzzle Revival
I love seeing the puzzle revival on the internet (a hobby I’ve never let go of). The more pieces the better. Unfortunately, I can’t do my puzzles with my son around because he likes to throw the pieces like one would throw fall leaves. Instead, we work on his puzzles, some of our favorites kid puzzles are by Melissa and Doug.
One day when we look back on this pandemic from the other side, we will remember some of the good moments and new routines we learned. Because as much as we want to rush back to our old routines, it’s important to remember that not all our old routines were good routines. This is our time to cleanse the palate and start fresh. And the next time we encounter a stressful moment, we will be that much stronger, collectively and as individuals.
Looking for more stimulation? Here are 6 Books To Read While Social Distancing.
Love it? Pin It For Later!