Staying home in self-quarantine is critical right now so we can stop the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Many of us have no choice but to work from home and therefore are spending our time surrounded by our families. This dramatic increase in time spent together coupled with our feelings of anxiety and fear can increase our frustrations leading to depression, bickering and arguments. For those of us who are suffering, it is also a time of reflection which gives us time to think. Since we are not rushing around as we are used to doing in our normal lives, take advantage of this time to ponder what is really important. There are things we can do to stay positive and even find some joy during these difficult times.
Set Some Household Rules
It is important for us to come up with a game plan for our days at home together. We need to designate certain hours for using the kitchen, working, spending time alone, and a period of time to all spend together. Designated chores for each person are also extra important during these times. Children over the age of 5 are more than capable of handling age-appropriate chores. A chore chart on the wall reminds every one of their responsibilities. If we like alone time in the morning to have our coffee and scroll through our phone, make sure we set that time aside. If our spouses need a certain time to do conference calls, make sure they have the privacy and quiet to complete them. With the kids home from school right now, make sure they have space to view their favorite after-school TV shows. It is also important for everyone to remain respectful and quiet in close quarters. Should a disagreement occur, remember we are all in this together and be empathetic to understand the other person’s point of view. Patience is a virtue. Peace and understanding are needed more now than ever.
Spending Time Together
It is extremely vital to spend time together as couples, families, or even roommates during this stressful time period. For those of us who are not infected, we need to set aside intentional time to be together. Perhaps it is during a midday lunch break or after dinner. While catching up on favorite TV shows together or getting lost in favorite books is enjoyable, it is important to do activities where pleasurable interaction occurs. This is a great opportunity for us to share time looking at those photos and videos of vacations, outings, and celebrations that we have never had time to go through. Looking at all those fun, nostalgic times can bring back memories of happiness together and optimism for the future. Family game night is a no-brainer to have fun together while keeping kids occupied. Cooking together can also create good moments of laughter and joy. For those of us living in neighborhoods where we can go outside, get some fresh air together while practicing social distancing.
Talking More Frequently to Friends and Family
Now is the time for us to reach out on the phone to parents, extended family and friends. Try Facetiming with cousins that you haven’t chatted with in months. Sharing stories, funny memories and, yes, even fears with ones we love can calm our concerns and help increase those positive feelings. Instead of constantly watching the news and feeling overwhelmed, set up a teleconference happy hour with friends and family through apps like Zoom.com. Seeing everyone’s face and laughing together will do wonders to uplift your spirit.
Scientists have found that when people give back it stimulates areas of the brain associated with pleasure and trust. They also believe that giving releases endorphins, which are hormones that boost happiness and reduce stress. There are many ways we can give back and help others while stuck in the house. It can be as simple as buying gift cards to help support our favorite local restaurants or shops or phoning elderly neighbors to check up on them. JoAnn’s Fabric Stores are offering free tools, supplies and guidance in their Creator’s Studios for making masks to donate to America’s hospitals through their Make To Give program. Millions of protective masks have been donated already to support healthcare workers.
What Really Matters
During this pandemic, what really matters is staying safe in our homes. Our health is our wealth. We must keep washing our hands and using sanitizers. When going to the food stores, fueling our cars and bringing supplies to elderly families and friends be sure to wear a mask and gloves.
It is inspiring to see how difficult times can bring out the best in people. Let’s start the month of April being grateful for the things we do have instead of dwelling on what we don’t have right now. There is always a lesson to be learned.