Many times, it is difficult for us to understand that we are stressed. We are aware of the usual things that cause stress: work deadlines, weight loss struggles, teens, lack of sleep and so on.But we’re living in unusual times: we have to stay indoors for the safety of others and our own health. Though you may be working still, with kids to take care of and a house to ensure stays put with the chaos, you still might feel a sense of “emptiness,” as this is not your normal routine.
It’s normal to try to fill it up with using the extra time saved from commuting, for example, to binge watch a new series. Or maybe, you’re stress eating for that momentary and immediate sense of joy, no matter how bloated, cranky or heavy you feel a few minutes later.
Instead of “misusing” the time given to us right now by spending it on junk food and mindless TV time, try to get creative with some form of routine just for the next day if not the entire week. Here are a few ideas that have been working for me and the kids so far:
- Plan meals. I cook all my meals at home. We do not need to enjoy cooking to bring healthy food to the table; for you and for your kids! Empower them by giving them an individual task in meal prep: peeling, some chopping with a butter knife, unloading the dishwasher, setting the table, cleaning up after, etc.
- Be mindful of electronics. Kids observe and adapt. Even if you are working, they see you in front of your laptop almost all day (maybe sipping cups of coffee, with chips and cookies on the side.) If you can, try to take breaks every 30 to 40 minutes to play or interact with them. That can mean something as simple as having a glass of water together or playing a quick game of I-Spy. If you are dealing with teens, try not to yell at them for having their room the way it is; but offer help to clean it together. A lot can be cleaned in a 10 minute break.
- Keep snacks in check.Grab a small book to read with your toddler when you feel like going for another mindless snack, or distract yourself with some other activity. Your craving for that junk food will go away once you are distracted.
- Hold a cleaning day. On ours, each was given a task — toy sorting, dusting, vacuuming, laundry, clutter clean up. Music helped to calm our minds down; we have it playing almost all the time in our household. We took a water break once in a while and danced a little to our favorite song that was playing then.
This is the time to make sure we make the most out of the time we have, for the sake of our health, relationships and the community. Build your immunity with real food, quick and easy meal options instead of packaged foods.
Give back and help in the community where you can. Be aware, not scared, of the updates. We can emerge out of this pandemic together, stronger and healthier.