It’s finally happened, but not in the way that most of us imagined. While the world is not (yet) being plagued by zombies, a respiratory illness by the name of COVID-19 has made its presence known across the globe, and has spread rapidly.
The panic and hysteria caused by the media in response to the COVID-19 outbreak/pandemic has been impossible to ignore. Statewide emergencies have been declared, schools are closing, and brawls over toilet paper and bleach continue in local stores. All jokes aside, the situation has become pretty serious, and measures have been put into place to stop the spread of COVID-19. One of these measures is something called “social distancing," and it will most likely become your new normal for a while.
I know that this situation seems to be getting worse by the day. Store shelves continue to be empty due to everyone panic buying and people are being less than pleasant to each other. Every cough earns you looks of disgust and fear, despite it clearly being allergy season, too. I personally think I’m more likely to die because of the pollen than I am of COVID-19. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t protect my family and my immunocompromised friends. I plan to ride this out at home with my three kids (wish me luck!) and try not to get sick myself.
I can imagine how overwhelmed you are right now. Trust me, you are not alone. On top of being confined to your house, wondering how you will survive an in-home quarantine with your sanity intact (especially if you have children!) was not the plan for 2020. Even as an introvert, I am also overwhelmed at the prospect of being (mostly) confined to my home with minimal adult interaction. In spite of all of that, I have decided that I am going to make this as positive an experience as possible, and I hope you will, too.
Despite how bleak things are right now, it’s important to stay positive. This won’t last forever! Here are some things I will be doing during this time to help minimize panic and worry:
Create a new (temporary) daily routine. My normal daily routine has gone up in smoke. With the kids out of school, I will be coming up with a new daily schedule that we will follow each day to try to keep things a tad more normal around here. I have found plenty on Pinterest that I like and can edit to suit my needs. If you need a good place to start, Pinterest has plenty of daily schedule examples that can help you keep your day both organized and (almost) stress-free. It will take some time to get used to it – so don’t beat yourself up if you don’t follow it to the letter each day.
Limit your media intake. When I say media, I mean the news (though it wouldn’t be a bad idea to back away from social media, too). Look, I know we all want to stay informed, but right now, the media is not helping to quell any fears concerning COVID-19. If anything, the media (as I said above) has helped to facilitate mass panic and hysteria. You can keep yourself informed of new developments, number of cases, and any other information concerning COVID-19 on the CDC’s website. Unlike the media, the CDC is only concerned with facts and presenting new information as it develops.
Get outside! While we are all advised to remain home, that doesn’t necessarily mean we all have to stay indoors. Break out the sidewalk chalk, bubbles, sprinklers, little pools, and any other outdoor activities and let the kids run! You can also go on a nature walk (this is a good one even without kids) or walk the dog an extra time each day. Either way, the activity and sunshine will do you a lot of good.
Keep the kids’ minds sharp. I am not a home school mom (kudos to y’all, by the way), so I wasn’t sure how I would navigate home school – let alone what I should be teaching my kids! My approach so far has been to utilize some free resources recommended by my kids’ teachers, as well as allowing them to explore their interests (my middle daughter chose to learn about Theodore Roosevelt yesterday!). My favorite so far has been Scholastic’s Learn-At-Home courses for science, Khan Academy for my middle schooler, and ABC Mouse for my youngest. If you want to learn about more free resources to help you, here is a complete list of all companies offering free learning resources during school closures.
Have (virtual) get-togethers. People always like to point out the downfalls of technology – but right now, it’s a godsend. Technology in this day and age allows us to connect even when we can’t see each other in person. Right now, that is a much-needed relief! If you need some adult conversation (but you want to be safe, of course) hold a virtual coffee/lunch/dinner date with your friends! You can even hold your book club meeting or a wine date online. The options really are endless with this one.
Get to know each other again. Let’s be real - these days, I feel like we are all so busy that it makes it hard for us to really connect. As a parent, I have discovered that there is a lot that I actually don’t know about my kids – and it’s not for a lack of spending time, but it’s really been about me being distracted by, well, EVERYTHING else. I am looking at this social distancing as an opportunity to get to know them again, and to spend time with them without distraction. Even if it’s just you and your spouse (or, well, just you), take this time to really connect and get to know one another. Play their favorite video game with them, watch their favorite shows, and allow them to choose dinner.
Jillian is an Air Force spouse, proud Slytherin, and all-around creative soul. She's a California girl adjusting to Southern life with her husband, three kids, and three fur children. She's currently pursuing a degree in Psychology with a focus in child and adolescent development, is a part-time preschool teacher at her local Methodist church, and is an active volunteer within the Robins AFB community. In her spare time, Jillian enjoys reading, gaming, and crafting. Be on the lookout for her blog, "Milspouse, Mom, Geek" - launching in Fall 2020!
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