By Patty Janes, Ph.D.
In 55 years of life, the only experience that remotely prepares me for what is happening with the Coronavirus pandemic was two months of bed rest during a difficult pregnancy. I was unable to support those I was used to caring for and scared something bad would happen to my beautiful baby. Doctor’s orders were to stay put, lay on my left side, and do everything I could to keep us both safe. Day one was survivable, day two was not.
Communities around the world are facing this test, magnified on an incomprehensible scale.
While COVID-19 is affecting the world in more complex ways than I experienced those eight weeks, I feel a similar concern today.
As I sit at home, preparing to teach university students online, I’m reflecting on how my bed rest became a gift. I kept both my daughter and myself safe by doing what I was supposed to. Twenty-two years later she is about to graduate from the University of Michigan and we are facing a different kind of bed rest.
We all need to do our part to keep people safe. While I worry about small business surviving, families staying afloat financially with reduced hours, etc. I try my best to do what I did many years ago: to not be all consumed by the negative, and control what I could, doing my part to keep us safe. I had to do what was needed, and then I had to reframe.
What can you do to reframe?
Think of all the things we can do during this time to safely care for others (e.g. a neighbor in need). Think of all the things we always want to do but never find the time (e.g. clean out closets or the garage). Then, think of all the things we can do to have unique fun. Finding ways to enhance your life during this stressful time will be vital. American’s spend so much time on the television (US Bureau of Labor Statistics states near 3 hours – ½ of available leisure time), don’t let that get the best of you.
So many organizations have released ways to stay connected remotely, and many are mentioned in my top ten list below. We’ve put this on the fridge to find new things to explore and stay connected.
Play. Board games at home or tech games with others. Keep being social. We broke out Clue last night (thanks USA Today article), and set the goal to play everything in the game cabinet at least once. Our other family favorites Telestrations or Jackbox.TV!
Learn. To knit, draw (Michigan native Butch Hartman created Fairly Odd Parents and he teaches you how to draw Danny Phantom HERE), paint, or play an instrument etc. Thanks to outlets like YouTube, we can learn so many things from home. There are a number of sites providing FREE ways for children to learn including Netflix sources, education companies, and Grand Valley State University’s Charter School office sharing resources.
Drive. Take a day road trip around Pure Michigan and sight see. Pack a picnic or go through drive-thrus along the way. Take advantage of gas prices under $2/gallon. Pick any Lake MI lakeshore – no one is more than two hours from these natural beauties. Trip Advisor’s top beaches in Michigan.
Plan. Your next vacation. You will need a break after this experience and whether a staycation or travel more than 100 miles from home. Have kids and adults alike investigate great things to do, see, learn, etc.
Face time or Skype. People you’ve been meaning to catch up with. Research indicates staying connected with families and friends is so important. If you don’t believe it, here are 82M posts in Google about it.
Walk /Exercise. Get fresh air and open windows, walk around the house. If your environment allows, walk outside, in the neighborhood, on a trail, in a yard. 6’ of distance is easier outdoors and fresh air is healing. Organizations from Planet Fitness to Lulu Lemon are providing FREE ways to get exercise at home (e.g. yoga).
Cook. Try a new recipe with food items on a back shelf or in the bottom of the freezer. Share items with neighbors to try something new and help each other. Create a communal living environment where everyone helps with meals. It’s social. It’s helpful. And, someone learns something new. Guaranteed. Thanks to my InstaPot, I didn’t ruin the corned beef on St. Patty’s Day for the first time!
Meditate. Download an app to start or end your day in peaceful, contemplative thought. It works. Great FREE App: WakingUp
Live. Don’t let this situation keep you from learning, growing, and building relationships. Life doesn’t stop, use free conference calling services to have regular large family chats, club or hobby meetings, or continue your volunteer work. Keep moving forward. We need each other more than ever.
Which of these will you do or have you done? What would you add to the list?