As a country, we have recently found ourselves in a situation where we have all magically gotten the hands on family time we have always dreamed of but never really thought would happen (or honestly maybe wanted, but not in this way).
I have been home for the last 10 years with my partner and eight out of those ten years included a child and all the day to day needs and distractions that having a little one around bring. As a work-at-home mom who is in business with their spouse, this is a reality that I have to navigate daily. I have found myself home with my entire family for many years and still had to learn how not to want to run for the hills, and all while trying to run a successful business. It can be overwhelming and distracting, but in between making lunches, folding laundry, and nursing breaks, you can get it done.
Making It Through Cabin Fever 2020
Below are a few easy tips and ideas for navigating this time with your family home all cozy and in tight quarters.
Have a Plan and Be in Agreement On The Goals
Sit down with every member of your family and come up with goals or a plan for this time. How do you hope to navigate it? Will you spring clean? Will you accomplish a task you've been hoping to as a family? What are your goals and what do you want to get out of it. Sit down and talk through it and give everyone in your house a role and a responsibility to carry out the overall vision of the plan. When everyone knows what to expect and how they fit into the plan, it gives the time a purpose. You can have the overall plan and present it to the family or discover the plan together.
Be Honest about Your Needs
Two weeks quarantined inside of the same four walls is a lot. Be honest about what your needs are as a person and encourage others to present and share there's as well. In my house, in order for me to be productive, I need order and clean spaces. That is a lot to ask on quarantine (and I realize it but it it is a need of mine) and I cannot get done what I need to because I am distracted by all of the other things that need to be done, so the best way my family can support me is doing their best to tidy up, with the understanding (on my part) that it's not going to be perfect. So it is important to express that and to also leave room to compromise so that there are boundaries on both sides of those needs.
Maybe skip the schedule and create the routine. I have to admit, I had grand plans of a schedule that we would adhere to during this time, posted with pride on the fridge, but the reality is that keeping a schedule isn't always easy and especially not with so many people in the house. Instead of a schedule, why not try to come up with a routine - a way to do things and move through your day to day. That might be a little easier to manage with all of the
day to day interruptions and distractions.
Stay Active and Get Outside
One of the best ways to survive quarantine is getting outdoors and breathing fresh air. Set a time in your schedule to go for a walk, a run, to work out outside, the let the kids play in the dirt. Rotate the person who takes them outside and when the other person is on-duty, use that time to produce work or check off your "to-do"list or make it a date and get outside together as a family. Being in the fresh air, taking in the smells and the sounds of life happening outside is not something you will ever regret.
Keep Doing Your Daily Routine As Much As Possible
Try as hard as possible to stick with your daily routine. Try to wake up at the same time, go to bed at the same time and maintain your dinner and snack times. It is easy to see this as a vacation - but a vacation mindset means "I am chilling." "I can relax and enjoy this." "I can indulge." and although it is okay to do that some of that during quarantine, life is still happening and work still needs to get done. Don't look back on this time and wonder "what happened? to your work life, your habits and your waistline. Confession: I have already gained 5 lbs and its only been a few days. Getting a grip on that today.
Get Things Done - Keep a List (of goals on the fridge that can be done during this time)
In my circles, there is a non-stop narrative of using this time to seize the day. It can be hard to know how, so I have created a blog post to Help You Get Things Done, just in case you find yourself stuck. This is a magically time to check things off of your list and to really capitalize on all of those things you had hoped to do. Use it. Maybe you won't be able to bulk your productivity but think through a few things that are important to you OR a few themes you want to focus on and make that your priority over the coming weeks and put it in places where you can see it and be reminded constantly of what your goals are.
Schedule Quiet Time
Schedule time for your entire family to be alone, by themselves, to decompress, to think and to process. This can be a time of journaling. This can be a nap time. This can be a time for quiet play - schedule it in your day and it become a coveting time where there is no noise, but just a large exhale. We have this time from 1:00-2:30p every day and I use it to write and to get my thoughts and feelings on paper. It is how I am connecting with you now and it is sacred. I have also pushed wake up time to 9a for my family and I start the day at 6a so that I have have those 3 hours to move through the house and reset things for the day (do dishes, clean the living room, gather my goals for the day) without interruption.
Schedule Productive Times
With your partner, spouse or family members, set times in your schedule that are for your work, your tasks and your time to get things done. This is your uninterrupted time that you can count on daily to rock out whatever tasks you need to get done. You can not be stopped for any reason and save the important stuff for then. Take your office outside and step away - to get your work done.
Keep In Touch With The Outside World, Don't Isolate
At times like this, where everyone's head is down, it is easy to isolate and forget about the world around us, but now, more than ever, we need each other. We need to check on those around us and those who pop into our heads. Write letters, send cards, send voice memos, leave voice mails - reach out and love on your people.
Record Videos or Pictures of This Time
This is a really unique time in our history that we have never experienced before. Right now, things might feel heavy and it might feel uncertain, but one day we will look back on this and let out a sigh of relief that we made it - what do you want your memory of this time to be?
I hope these tips help you to approach this time boldly, confidently and with a clear plan on how to make it through. For the first time in a long time, we are all on level playing field and can empathize with one another. Let's make the best of it and give our families a time to remember.
with strength, courage and wisdom,