By Kenny Hackett
We are currently living through very uncertain and unsettling times. Whether you are juggling working from home with home-schooling, spending more time with your partner, or feeling confined and cooped up, there are many things you can do to get you and your family through this time with sanity and relationships intact.
Focus on What You Can Control
The lockdown caused by the COVID-19 crisis has brought about a wealth of new challenges and pressures to daily family life. During these extraordinary circumstances, it is reasonable to feel high levels of stress, uncertainty, fear, anxiety, sadness, and anger. These emotions and the triggers that cause them can affect all family members and often at different times to one another. But there is good news. While you may not be able to control what goes on outside your home, within your family sanctuary, you are in control.
In this article, we’ll take a look at five things you can do that will bring a semblance of calm to your household and help everybody to turn lockdown into a positive experience.
1. Good Hygiene Rules
You cannot go online or switch on the TV without being advised on how to avoid contracting and spreading COVID-19. Make sure the whole family is up to speed and practicing good hygiene, whether they are leaving home or not. Have soap available in every bathroom, use a hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol, and try to avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands. If you have smaller children, perhaps they already have a song they sing in their heads when they brush their teeth. Getting them to sing the ‘Happy Birthday’ song’ twice through while they wash their hands will ensure they are squeaky clean.
2. Keep Your Distance
While lockdown is in effect, the advice is to stay at home as much as possible. Of course, you still need to feed the family. If you need to leave the house, remember to keep your distance from other people at all times. Keeping your distance can feel quite strange at first, especially if you are walking around the grocery store. What happens if somebody comes around the corner and you bump into each other? Who has the right of way when approaching an aisle? In this weird new world, there are many questions, but don’t worry. Everybody is thinking about the same thing. Social distancing is new to all of us.
3. Find Serenity in Structure
There is nothing wrong with declaring a pajama day or waking up at 11 am. However, adding a little normality into the day will give you all more purpose and help you to stay disciplined and distracted in equal measure. Whether you are social distancing, in isolation, or unable to do your job from home, it can be tempting to slip into lazing around, eating too many snacks, and letting the days and evenings merge into one. Try to have a defined morning routine, set mealtimes, a designated ending of the working day, and a calm and enjoyable bedtime. If you find that every day resembles the weekend, try to make actual weekends a little different with new activities, board games, take-out or a movie.
4. Don’t Beat Yourself Up
The word ‘unprecedented’ will possibly become one of the most used words in 2020. Never has a term ever carried so much weight and meaning. Be realistic about what you can expect to achieve. There is no right or wrong way to deal with this. Some days will be easier than others. Some days, the news may give you a beacon of hope only to dash it the next with more unsettling news. Things will get better. They will. Don’t expect to experience perfection; in your work, as a parent or teacher, or in your relationships.
5. Turn Lockdown Time into Family-Bonding Time
With family stuck inside together, you have to make the best of the situation. Aside from home-schooling, spending quality and fun time with your children will help you all to become closer and make some sense of the situation you all find yourselves in. From playing silly games to cooking together and staying connected online to other family members, there are so many things you can do to make it through to the other side happy, healthy, and closer than ever. No matter what is going on outside your household, these are positive and happy memories that will last a lifetime.