We are all out of our normal routines! Some of us have more to do than usual and are feeling stressed due to steep learning curves to prepare for online learning, helping children with their learning at home, among other things. Some of us are out of work and may be concerned about the lack of income. We are all probably feeling a little disconnected and out of balance. I’m sharing my top 5 tips to stay in balance during this unusual season:
Whether you are crazy busy or not busy enough, you need to get yourself outside EVERY DAY! A little fresh air and sunshine outside your 4 walls will keep you from feeling so cooped up and will help:
- boost your immune system
- improve your mood
- keep your circadian rhythm on track to allow for better sleep
Aim for at least 15-30 minutes outdoors to exercise. Do yard work, walk the dog, play with your kids, or just deep breathe and soak up some Florida sunshine. If you have children at home, they need to be outdoors too!
Whether you have extra time for exercise OR feel like there are not enough hours to do all that is asked of you right now, we ALL need a little movement to:
- boost the immune system
- improve mood
- relieve stress
- improve sleep
There are a lot of resources available to help you with “in home” workouts. YouTube and other internet sites (both free and subscription) provide an endless source of guidance. This week my family has enjoyed the extra time at home to walk, run, bike, paddle board, explore a new nature trail, and do yoga together. If you have children at home, they need you to set an example and have you engage with them to get them moving too!
Ask “What CAN I Do?”
During this time of uncertainty, we need to work extra hard to keep a positive mindset. Negative thoughts lead to negative emotions, like anxiety, fear, and depression. While there is a lot that we CAN NOT do right now, there are lots of unique opportunities and things we CAN do that we often lack time for in our busy schedules. Let’s reframe our words and mindset and not miss these special opportunities to make good use of this unusual enforced time at home. May I suggest a few:
- Spend time reading something you enjoy alone, or aloud with others
- A little yard work each day…just 15 minutes of weeding or trimming each day will create a sense of accomplishment, and will get you outside
- Declutter closets, tackle “honey do” lists, and check off home repairs
- Exercise and get outside every day
- Look for ways to serve others (a family member, a neighbor…) to keep you focused outward and not inward
- Break out the board games, card games, and puzzles
- Meditate on Scriptures that remind you that God is sovereign
- Each evening think of 5 things to be grateful for from the day
If you have children in the house, they will feed off of your mood and attitude, so staying positive yourself will have ripple effects. Get them involved in the list above.
Eat Fresh Food!
Thankfully the grocery stores have stayed open, and thankfully fresh food has stayed readily available, unlike toilet paper! Use this time of confinement to cook real food at home, and be thankful we weren’t limited to weeks of canned food. Cooking at home will have many benefits:
- A nourished body and soul
- Budget friendly
- Opportunities to be connected as a family around the table
You may want to stick to family favorite recipes for comfort, or you may want to use this time to try some new recipes and be a little adventurous. Some of my favorite healthy and easy Tasty Friday
recipes are archived on the health & weillness page of our school website. If you have children at home, this is a great opportunity to get them involved in the kitchen learning to chop, prepare a dish, or prepare a whole meal for the family.
While “social distance,” “lockdown,” and “shelter in place” are the battle cries of the day, we are really just trying to keep a physical distance from others to prevent transmission of COVID-19. We need to work harder at staying socially connected to each other during this quarantine.
- Stay connected to your family, friends, and colleagues via text, video chats, or an old-fashioned phone call. Be especially mindful of your older family and friends that may be feeling isolated
- Take the opportunity to write an old-fashioned letter
- Phone neighbors to check on them
- When you are out on necessary errands be intentional to be encouraging and show gratitude to those working hard to serve you
- Meet a friend outside in a park or trail to walk and talk
I have loved seeing the faces of upper school colleagues on Zoom for Morning Devotions we are sharing together each day. If you have children at home, you can encourage them to be creative in connecting with their friends and relatives, too.
This challenging time will pass and become a page in the history books. Until then, a little time outside, movement, a positive mindset, fresh food, and connection with others each day can help keep your balance and even enjoy this change of pace.
by Lou Jones,
Geneva School Nurse, RN, Health & Wellness Coach