General, Life Lessons

#StayHome – Sanity Savers

Being alone, I’m good at. Alone Together is taking some work.

I’ve always liked being alone. I am the person who has no trouble eating alone in a restaurant, taking myself to the movies or skipping the big parties for some couch time at home.

The thing is, I am used to being home by myself. With my husband at work and the kids at school, I had 7-8 hours a day where I could exercise complete authority over every sound and action of my day. Playing music loudly when I wanted to and shutting it all off when I wanted to. Conference calls without consideration of volume. Meditation in the middle of the day. Zero real interruptions.

As you well know, Covid19 has changed what all of our normal days look like.

For us, it means that while Ish is still at work, the boys are home and it seems no one gave them the “Mom gets what she wants whenever she wants it” rule book. I’ve been working from home (when I’m not travelling) for well over a decade, but this is an entirely different set of circumstances.

As a result, I’ve had to create some new ways of managing in order to deal with the Covid19 #StayHome rules. So far, these are the things that are saving my sanity.

  • Forcing myself outside at least every other day. I know many of you are getting out twice a day, but this is still my hibernation season. The calendar says spring but it snowed today so I ain’t buying it. I hate cold temperatures and wintry weather so this is killing me, but I do it and feel better every time I do. I bring the kids along – and Ish when he’s home – and we practice social distancing while sharing our feelings about the situation we’re in. Tip: It’s easier to talk to teens when you’re focused on doing something else.
  • Exercise: I’m not fitness-inclined usually but I started a 6-week online fitness program thanks to this list that Pay Chen put together (https://www.cbc.ca/life/wellness/these-are-the-free-no-equipment-online-fitness-classes-you-need-right-now-1.5500751). Even better I forced my family to join me. It gives us something to measure time with (way better than putting Xs on a calendar) and really helps our mood.  Plus, we’re channelling our negative energy in a helpful way thanks to some kickboxing moves.
  • Music. I’m building a Spotify playlist that has some good, calming music. I find music always helps to ease me out of a funk and finding some new-to-me tunes has helped to get my morning started on the right note. (See what I did there.:)) Plus, there have been some incredible evening dance parties online including @djdnice and @startingfromscratch .
I shared this travel memory from Rwanda on Day 2 on my Facebook page.
  • Travel photo memories. A friend tagged me on a post that suggested you post one photo of one of your favourite travel memories each day for ten days. I NEVER do that sort of chainmail stuff but you know what this one is really helping. Every morning as I search for a photo to share, I’m finding such incredible gems and reminded of how lucky we have been and how much we have to be grateful for. I love it so much I may continue it past the 10-day requirement. Try it. It works. It doesn’t have to be travel if that’s not your thing. It could be a different loved one each day. Or maybe your favourite memes. Whatever sparks gratitude and joy.
  • Family scrabble nights. My family is competitive. And Scrabble has long been the game of choice. We have made a ritual out of a 7 pm game and I’m calling this our Covid Tournament of Champions. Making it an evening game gives us something to look forward to at the end of the day and ensures that Ish can be a part of it even though he’s at work during the day. Some nights I initially don’t feel like playing but mid-way through the game, the competitive spirit kicks in and it’s a great way to end the evening. 
  • Sleep: Do whatever it takes to make it happen. Exercise is great for tiring you out but if you need a sleep aid take one. A good night of sleep offers a shot at a great day.
  • Think about tomorrow tonight: This was something I always did. Before going to bed, I’ll jot down the things I want to accomplish the next day. Other people use it as a time to journal about their feelings. Whatever floats your boat. It doesn’t have to be a huge list, but it helps to clear my head before bed so that I am not waking up and worrying about things in the middle of the night.
  • Don’t start the day with email or social media: I love social media but it has a way of introducing the whole world’s concerns and fears to you and nobody needs that the moment you wake up. My morning routine, even before Covid19 was to try to start the day on my own terms. I try to do at least a 10-minute yoga/meditation class (I’m loving the quick hits offered by @yogawithkassandra in Ottawa) and have a cup of coffee before peeking at the world in my inbox or social media.
  • Instagram over Twitter: Pick your channels carefully. For me, it has been Instagram over Twitter so far. On Insta I’m seeing people smiling, sharing, reminiscing, baking. Twitter has much more of the no-nonsense news and stress. Your stream of preference might be different but step back, take a look at what you’re consuming in your social media diet and decide which stream serves you best when.
  • Put your oxygen mask on first: Yes, your family needs you but there has to be some YOU to give. I’ve always gotten up earlier than my gang and I still do. That me-time is vital. It’s also why I’ll be joining in on as many of my girlfriend’s Zoom or Facebook Messenger group chats in the evenings as I can. We all need some time to indulge in our own concerns, worries, annoyances and good news. Plus, if we aren’t going through this together and holding each other up when we can, we’d be doing friendship wrong.

What about you? Any tips to share?

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