With school closures, shelter-in-place mandates, work from home requirements, and the inundation of the phrase “social distancing”, we are all preparing for a lot of “DOING NOTHING” in the weeks to come all while keeping up with the daily demand of work and homeschooling kids. It seems like a fairly easy adjustment. However, for many, this abrupt life alteration is filled with uncertainly, financial stress and the fear of the unknown.
As a financial industry writer, it has taken me days to muster the words to put this article together. Which topic do I start with? Financial? Working Women? Family? Thoughts spinning, people waiting for this article to drop. And, today as I sit in my home office, window open, listening for the playful energy of kids on the school playground to energize me to write, the hard reality hit…..the joy of recess will not be heard today or anytime soon. The only sound will be the click-clacking of the computer keys and my family walking, talking and working in the background. So here we go……
There will be plenty of time to write about a variety of topics in the weeks to come, this staycation is not ending anytime soon. This article is for my tribe and your tribe, for the ladies who work tirelessly to make a difference in the world, both in the workplace and at home. The ones I know, the ones I don’t know, and the ones I hope to meet in my next chapter. Life as we knew it has definitely shifted but one thing is certain in this time of uncertainty…..
This is not the time to sit back and wait to see what happens next. It is an opportunity to hit the enormous RESET button on life. A time to reflect, recharge, reevaluate and reorganize. How many times have you heard or said one of the following:
“I wish I could just be home for a week and get caught up on household tasks.”
“I wish I could sleep in for one more hour.”
‘I wish my kids could have a break from homework and activities.”
“I wish my commute was shorter.”
“I wish I could spend more time outside with my family.”
“I wish, I wish, I wish……
The list of “I wish” messages are endless, I have mine, you have yours, and as my grandmother used to say, “Be careful of what you wish for”……..Gran was right, every wish that I have ever verbalized came true in a matter of a few short weeks. Can you relate? For at least a year, we have all been vibrating at unhealthy levels. Long commutes to work, 24/7 connectivity to electronic devices, endless travel (both personal and business), packed schedules, you name it. Even our children have been thrown into the vortex of unhealthy scheduling with sports, afterschool activities, homework, zero downtime, all while watching from the sideline as their parents move at lightning speed to drive them to activities while taking work calls on the road.
Although this historic moment does not come under the best of circumstances, it is a beautiful gift! A gift of time, time to unwrap every wish we have ever wanted. If we embrace this time, we will all come out of this better.
But how do we hit the reset button with spouses at home, kids at home and the barrage of news feeds hitting our daily feeds, fueling our emotions with uncertainty, fear, and anxiety? By taking it one day at a time, one task at a time, shifting the focus and sticking together. Here are five steps to keep the calm:
STEP 1 – SET UP OFFICE HOURS
For years my husband and I have both worked from home on Fridays. Never did we imagine this would abruptly change to five days a week with our daughter home and working a homeschool platform into our schedules. To meet the new demands, we have to reevaluate our schedules and establish hours we work, hours we study, and hours we must just “be”. Maintaining a daily routine is essential to keeping life going.
STEP 2 – MODERATION WITH MEDIA / TECHNOLOGY SHABBAT
Like anything in life, moderation is the key. Limit the time you watch, listen and scroll news feeds. Although it is important to stay informed, maintain a healthy mental balance and alter the amount of news consumed throughout the day. Take a technology Shabbat and change the channel to M&Ms, movies, and music. Watch a funny movie, have a dance party, learn the latest dance moves from your kids (this weekend my daughter is going to teach me the RENEGADE dance). Wish me luck! And, if you care to join us, we can set up a meetup on FaceTime. Which brings me to the next step….
STEP 3 – STAY CONNECTED
The connection does not have to be in person, this is the beautiful thing about technology! Take the time to call, text, FaceTime, organize a virtual meetup and stay connected with your friends and family. It is so important for us and it is just as important for our kids. Kids need virtual interaction with their friends. If you think this lifestyle change is hard on adults, think about the children. No school, no playdates, no sports, no group activities and for some, no lunches. Their world has been shifted too. If your child does not have a phone, let them borrow yours, schedule a hookup with one of their friends or a group of friends. This past week alone, I have enjoyed more calls, texts, and FaceTime moments than ever before. We have laughed, shared information, bonded and brainstormed, heard our kids laughing and playing games, all from the comfort of our own home. No make-up, all-natural, just the way it should be!
STEP 4 – STAY ACTIVE
Take the time each day to move. Get outside, go for a walk, ride a bike, hike in nature, just keep moving. Exercise builds mental and physical strength, both of which are needed to stay healthy and forge through this crazy time. Make it a family activity and encourage your kids to work out too.
Staying active can also include reorganizing spaces in your home. Attack that list of projects you have been wanting to do. Organize the garage, clean out closets, get your finances in order (more on that in the next article). Get your kids involved and have them clean out their closets, organize a study area, and donate clothes, books, and toys they no longer use or need.
STEP 5 – DOWNTIME
There will be loads of downtime in the weeks to come. Hours have been gained with not having to commute, drive kids from activity to activity, and run endless errands. If you add up all the hours spent in a car, they add up to a huge gift of time. Time that can be used to reflect, relax, rest, read and reconnect.
Reflect on how this time at home is changing your and your kids’ lives for the better. Relax, grab that book you have been meaning to read, finish the puzzle you started (we have one that was started in November), have a spa day at home. Rest, take a nap, sleep in, sit in your yard and meditate. And lastly, reconnect with your spouse and your children. Cook, clean, dance, laugh together and most of all cherish the moments together.
With kids, without kids, spouse or no spouse, as women, we are the CEOs of our households. If we embrace this gift of time, we will start our next chapter organized and energized, rested and relaxed, healthier, happier, and more connected. This storm will pass, hopefully, sooner rather than later. Don’t be the one to look back and say, “I wish I would have used the time more efficiently.” It all starts with us, let’s do our part! Stay home, stay safe, stay focused and stay healthy!