Quarantine Life at Home: Parenting, Self-care, and Sanity
Balancing many hats while holding down the homefront
It's been three weeks since my children have been in school and over two weeks since our home turned into our office, classroom, gym, bar, restaurant, therapist office, playground, movie theater, and place of worship.
Social distancing has us "stuck" at home, cut off from our family, friends, and our daily lives. We're trying to be parents and workers, blessed to be both, all while trying to stay sane during this very weird and scary time. As the coronavirus spreads and we are doing our part to "flatten the curve" it can feel very jarring to be so disconnected from our routines. We may all need some help trying to restructure our days to stay physically, mentally, and spiritually healthy.
Here are a few tips to help get through these difficult days.
- Self-Care: The internet wants us to believe that we aren't doing enough to stay productive with all of the extra time we have now. The truth is you are doing just fine. We are going through a collective traumatic experience. Not everyone is able to turn a pandemic into something creative or productive. If you are staying inside, attending to you and your family's basic needs, that's plenty. As a society, we are all individually focusing on different things for survival whether it is work, schoolwork, mental health, or simply getting through the next week. I have found that organizing some time to be alone has helped me. Whether it's as simple as enjoying a hot shower, morning coffee, a few minutes of yoga and meditation, reading, creating new cuisines, house projects, listening to my favorite songs, or connecting with friends and family online - looking after your own well being is paramount.
- Routine: The first thing I did when I knew our daily routines were changing was to try to make a schedule for not only my children but for myself. I started off with a very detailed day - to - day routine. However, after day one, it didn't feel realistic, and it wasn't. We were off-key and everything was in disarray. Work and school are much different out of the office and classroom. As businesses, schools, and districts are making sense of this very rapid change we must adapt as well. Make a schedule that fits you and the people in your home. Keep business as usual, or as "usual" as can be. Taking it day by day made the most sense to me. Take breaks and deep breaths. We all strive for stability and structure young or old.
- Utilize Online Resources - Ask for help: There are countless options for online learning. I have come across many people and organizations willing and ready to help during these tough weeks ahead. Start with our local library, if you don't have a library card sign up for one online. There are options for e-books, audiobooks, movies, magazines and more. My eight year-old has been especially interested in the virtual tours through different museums, zoos, aquariums, and national parks. Also, make sure you are staying connected and communicating with school officials. It's okay to feel overwhelmed as our lives were catapulted into homeschooling and working simultaneously. Use the resources that are available.
- Get Outside: Crisis often heightens our anxiety. It feels good to get out of our heads. A quick ten-minute walk around the block might help with that. We started taking advantage of being outside now more than ever as it feels like a necessity. As a family or individually, getting outside is a freedom these days. We call it our daily quarantine walk, which may not have happened otherwise, yes the dog comes too (she is loving all this time with us). Breathing in the spring air and taking advantage of longer days have been one of the simplest things to get us through quarantine – all while maintaining a responsible distance from others of course.
There are people who are unable to be quarantined right now because of socioeconomic factors and let's not forget the essential workers who are working tirelessly on the frontlines. We must remember it is a true privilege to be "stuck" and safely sheltered in our homes with our loved ones. The world seems quieter, the air feels cleaner, and there's a little bit more free time for most people. We're not stuck at home, we're safe at home. Be kind to yourself and one another. We are all in this together.
Jessica Hunter can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org