Does it feel like it’s been a long quarantine already? Many of us are dealing with changes in our daily routines as a result of school closings and work changes because of the coronavirus, and that can be a real challenge. Your kids might be home from school. You might be trying to work from home for the first time or have a spouse who is. You might be worried about your health, the health of loved ones, or how to keep yourself and other family members from going nuts with cabin fever since everyone’s lessons, sports, activities, and social events are cancelled.
I hear you. I feel you. Let’s talk about some ways to survive (and even thrive!) in the uncertain days that lie ahead. Some suggestions:
1. Do the stuff there’s never time for.
Here’s your chance! We’ve all been handed a gift of extra time. Do the long read-alouds with your kids, go for long walks or hikes, cook that special recipe that you never have time for on a weeknight.
2. Focus on connecting.
These long cloistered days offer real opportunities to reconnect with family members you are stuck with. Be mindful of the gift that time together is, and look for ways to overcome impatience (see #6) and enjoy time together.
3. Get comfortable with quiet and slow.
For many of us, our usual lives are so busy and fast-paced, a large part of the discomfort of this “new normal” is the fact that our days are slower and quieter than before. Settle in to the quiet and embrace this new normal as a gift, an opportunity to grow spiritually.
4. Learn something new.
You may not be able to participate in your usual activities, but look for ways that you can learn and grow personally or together as a family in the days that lie ahead. Using nothing more than YouTube, you can learn dance moves, recipes, tech skills, or a new language. Get learning!
5. Make sure you have structure.
Part of what throws many of us off in days of quarantine is the lack of structure — school and work provide daily routines and deadlines that keep us moving along happily. I love the advice Sister Mary Catharine shares in this article. Cloistered nuns need structure, and so do we!
6. Practice patience, with others and yourself.
Your family is going to get on your nerves. Sorry, but it’s true. Multiple people sharing living space in new and challenging ways over the course of an indefinite number of days is going to cause some friction. Know that going in, and be patient with yourself and others as you take time to adjust.
7. Go outside.
Quarantine does not have to mean staying inside, and the temperatures are warming for many of us this time of year. Make sure you and your family are getting outside every day, breathing fresh air, soaking up sunshine, and moving your body.
8. Reach out.
It can be easy to feel all “Woe is me!” when we focus on ourselves, but think about ways others might need your help, and reach out to them. You might call a neighbor and see if they need anything. Or check in with extended family members. Some people in your life might be feeling more lonely and isolated than ever, and something as simple as a phone call would be a welcome distraction.
9. Pray together.
If you struggle to make family prayer time a habit during busy days, this time offers you an opportunity to establish a new routine where prayer together is a focus. Part of your new daily structure might include prayer before meals, but also at the start of your day together, and at the end of the day before going to bed. Pray the Rosary (even just a decade) or take turns sharing what you are thankful for and asking for God’s blessings.
10. Laugh about it.
Find the funny! Humor is a great stress reliever, and I am sure you have already seen some funny memes surrounding the coronavirus and quarantine. Here are a couple that made me laugh out loud recently: Kermit Dancing and Don’t stop Rockin’
How about you? How are you surviving and thriving these days?
Copyright 2020 Danielle Bean