I decided to take the time to write about what I’m personally doing during quarantine to navigate this ‘interesting’ time period. I say ‘interesting’ because I am tired of hearing it is “unprecedented.” I’m not saying this isn’t true, but there’s always ‘unprecedented’ occurrences happening either on a personal, global, or community wide level. If you lose a loved one: it is unprecedented, if you lose a President: its unprecedented, if you move to a new city where you have no friends or family: it’s unprecedented. As the saying goes, “the only constant in life is change.” I would prefer to think about all this just as I do all the changes in my life – it is a new season that I have to navigate. This isn’t going to be the last time I have to adapt to a huge change. This thought alone has helped me. This is just another big change in life that I have to adapt, cope, grieve, and navigate through.
I want to preface with the fact that our particular situation during this time period is different probably from yours, we all have unique situations we are dealing with, so not all of what I’m doing could be helpful for you. We are in an extremely lucky position that both my husband and I are essential workers, so we are not worried about finances at this point in time. My husband works outside for his job, and I have been working from home while the kids (6, 3 and 9 months) are not in school/daycare and we have a sitter watch the kids part time so I can get more work done.
So here’s what I have been doing and I hope it proves helpful to you:
Praying. This is IT. This is truly what is keeping me sane. I don’t mean sitting down and reading the Bible luxuriously alone. This is prayer on the go! I have shared my prayer journey on this blog before, but it has become much more of a constant conversation/presence with God since all this happened. I have been lighting a candle many mornings with my prayer intentions in mind and placing them before God, trying to surrender my worries, fears and anxieties. That physical flickering light each day has been a comfort. I’ve also been listening to the Divine Mercy Chaplet – a meditation prayer said on the rosary beads on Formed.org. I light my candle and then listen to the prayer in the morning while I drink my coffee and sit with the baby or while the kids watch a cartoon. You don’t have to do the Divine Mercy chaplet, but listening to music or a recording of someone else is nice – my already full brain doesn’t have to come up with words, I can just listen, and place myself in God’s presence – He already knows what’s on my mind.
Being at home so much is such a change for me and our kids and so reframing my mindset to see the eternal value and beauty in serving in the small things, the mundane tasks of washing the dishes 55 million times a day or wiping a snotty nose or dirty tush and offering it up to God is a continual way for me to grow closer to him rather than be resentful about it. I’m not saying I’m doing this well – there are so many moments a day that I grow frustrated, quick tempered with the kids or feel anxiety rising up in me so much that it over takes me; however, these thoughts are what I try to bring me back into an eternal context and it changes everything.
Saving Money. I know that we are incredibly lucky to be in this position, so this might not apply to you if you find yourself worried about your job security; however, if you are in a position to do so, this is a great time to really see where you were spending money that either you didn’t need to or cannot do so anymore. Obviously, we aren’t paying for our normal childcare, we aren’t able to go on date nights and we have only ordered carry out twice, and while we are buying groceries we’ve been trying to take less trips. I like to take these opportunities to boost our big savings goals, and also boost our emergency savings since we don’t know exactly what the future might hold for income/jobs, etc so the more in emergency savings the more comfortable we can be if something did change down the road.
Nesting. I don’t normally spend this amount of time at home, so I have organized my linen closet, started painting my laundry room, rearranged the furniture in my toy room, dining room, and sun room. We created a little “cafe” with the girls kitchen toys, a cardboard box, and good old paper and scissors. I also made a ‘springy’ front door decoration with some fake greenery and a wicker bag I already had at home. Basically, I’ve been shopping my house and looking on Pinterest for ideas to make the house look fresh and feel better while we are all here all the time! I receive emails from The Cozy Minimalist and she sent one that made me rethink the house in this time of quarantine and how it might not be working for our family as we have new needs right now. I loved what she said about clearing off surfaces and minimizing decor to create calm.
Self Care. This sounds trite but I’ve been doing different things to self care – showering has not been a high priority, but I have been taking one when I know it will boost morale. Coffee is a huge self care item for me – I might only drink a 1/3 of each cup but the process of making it and holding it and smelling it gives me comfort – it’s a small little routine of normalcy. We’ve been baking a lot, too. It feels good to make homemade foods and I personally love memories of baking as a kid so I love that we are getting to do that right now when usually I’m too tired to fit it in our schedule. We’ve also been taking lots and lots of walks when we can. I don’t think I’ve ever enjoyed walks so much as I do now. Included in my self care has been mentally weeding out the bad, anxiety producing thoughts about not doing or being enough right now. The first week of daycare closure, I was so anxious about not working enough, not doing homeschooling well enough, the kids feeling the fear I felt and the list goes on. After that week, I have been working on (note: not perfectly at all!!!) trying to hear those thoughts come through and then push them out or up toward God. My pastor had a nice chat on this on Facebook. This leads me directly into number five.
Being grateful and savoring every minute…Well most of the time…When I’m not losing it with the kids….I know that this is temporary and I know we are so lucky to have job security and a nice place to live and food in our pantry! I know that this will be a small amount of time in comparison to the rest of our lives. Like each momentous change in my life, each “unprecedented” occurrence, I will never get this time back. I probably won’t ever get to spend this much time with my children when they are this small. I never get a completely free schedule until who knows when on the weekends!!! I never get to sleep in until 7AM!!! And stay in comfy clothes and not rush out the door with three kids in the morning, so I am trying to soak it all in because when we do get back to “normal” this will feel like a beautiful memory of time spent as a family and I don’t want it to be squandered fearing what the future might hold because right now in the present moment we really have it pretty good even if every time I talk to a client there’s a child crying in the background (*sigh). Tomorrow is never promised no matter what the situation is and even suffering (though ours is small) shouldn’t be wasted.