We are past Week 52, Day 365 since the start of the pandemic. Life as we knew it was over when we were ordered to stay at home and socially distance.
That means that we have spent the majority of the past year at home, together.
It’s enough to drive all of us crazy.
We didn’t know how long we were going to be in this situation. Foolishly at the beginning of the pandemic, we thought it would last maybe 3 months. Three months later, we thought it would be another 3 months. Finally, around August 2020, I accepted that we were in this for the long haul.
Finally, after all these months living through the pandemic, I feel like I have it under control. Here are my tips for surviving, working, and making the most of this unprecedented time (disclaimer: although I’ve felt moments of despair, depression, and anxiety during the pandemic, I consider myself lucky. My mental health has been pretty stable during this time, and I know that it hasn’t been for many).
Here are my tips for getting through the pandemic wall:
- Time Management. Although I’ve gained some time by not commuting every weekday, it became easy to blur the lines between work, household obligations, personal development, family time, free time, etc. I could use improvement in this arena, but I’ve found it enormously helpful to plan out the week and put things on a schedule. This ensures that I use my time wisely, including allocating social time with friends through virtual calls and downtime during the week. I found this podcast so helpful.
- Productivity. There are days that you feel super productive and other days that are a slog. Take advantage of productive times to hammer out the difficult things on your to-do list, write. I have been getting up earlier than the rest of the family to exercise and then write for my blog. If i get into a zone, I’ll keep going with writing, even if that cuts into my 9-5 job. Sometimes for exercise I’ll go for a walk and listen to my podcast. Or I’ll cook while listening to a podcast. Either way, i’m learning as I go about my day-to-day.
Helpful Tip: On days that you aren’t feeling productive, commit to tackling easy tasks to feel accomplished even in a small way
- Let it go. Kids are failing all over the country because of the inadequacies of virtual learning. My kids are the same. Not many adults can sit at a computer and learn for 7 hours straight, so why do we expect our kids to do the same? My son is watching videos and playing Minecraft while he’s in class. I’ve heard that other boys his age are doing the same. We’re done yelling at him about it.
- Exercise as built-in family time. Taking a walk or bike riding as a family or, that counts as both family time and exercise. You can’t get more efficient than that!
- Alone Time for all. Being together 24-7 in a 1,400 sq. ft. house is enough to make alone time a priority. My kids have their own rooms, but I don’t. As much as I’d love to have a home office where I don’t have husbands and kids walking in while I’m in one of my zones, it doesn’t happen. I get my alone time on the occasions I go to my work office, go grocery shopping, or walks. Also, this early morning time is a guarantee of some alone time.
- Mom self-care. This can come in all shapes and forms. For me, it’s quarterly Skype sessions with my friends here and around the country. It’s also my skincare regimen while watching Youtube videos about skincare regimens.
- Delegate weekly chores. This is a biggie for my household, otherwise the resentment builds up until I blow up like Mt. McKinley. You have to tell your husband and kids outright the help you need around the house. I created a weekly schedule to clean the cat litter. I ask my husband to clean up after dinner or fold the laundry or clean the bathroom. It can’t all fall on the mom, but it naturally does.
- Schedule meetings/ time to attend kids classes. In the beginning of the school year, I didn’t bother because I was busy with my own job. Once they started tanking, I printed out their daily schedule. Whereas before I was uninvolved, it does sometimes help when you can keep your kids on task and remind them to make flashcards or study for that quiz. You also get to see what they’re learning and get an idea of the curriculum at the school.
- Sleep early, wake up early. This was my mom’s mantra my entire life. Finally I’m somewhat following it, by waking up earlier than the rest of the house. Ideally I’d like to wake up before the sun is up, that way I feel like I have some time in the morning to do myself.
- Give the kids a project that they will eventually do by themselves. Puzzle, legos, crafts. My son’s school work keeps him busy but my daughter constantly walks around the house saying she’s bored. Sometimes we’ll chat or bake or play together, but I need to find more things for her to do herself, whether it’s crafts, art work, puzzle, legos. Anything that’s not on a screen.
Are you and your family still at home during this time? How are you doing? Do you have any tips to turn this time from drudgery to drastic improvement?