Working from home for the last several years has been amazing…but it hasn’t always been easy. After just a few days of social distancing and shelter in place due to COVID-19 I’ve noticed a friends struggling with the same things I struggled with when I left my day job. Tensions are ramping up and people are feeling really discouraged about their ability to juggle all the things.
I totally get it-I felt the same way but there are some things you can do to help you thrive during this season.
I’ve compiled 21 of my TOP TIPS to shorten the learning curve and help you thrive in the midst of an uncertain world.
1-Don’t try to do it all– I know-This seems like a ridiculous way to start a list with a bunch of things you can do but I mean it…..Some of these things will help you thrive during COVID-19 but not if you frantically try to do them all and exhaust yourself. You need downtime too. You need space to just sit with a book or a cup of hot tea and just be. Pick your battles sister and play the long game on this one.
2-Routines matter, but they won’t happen on their own-Now that your daily routines have been totally disrupted Now that your daily routine has been shattered by work and school closings, it’s time to design a new routine for your household. If you are home with your family, work on this together so each person understands the importance of getting into a new groove. You don’t have to police it mercilessly and it isn’t set in stone. Your new routine can be flexible_Remember it’s designed to support your family’s physical, spiritual, and emotional health.
3-Create a cleaning, cooking, and home care schedule-In addition to the extra cleaning of high touch surfaces (like light switches, faucets, and electronics), having everyone home will mean more dishes, trash, and clutter will pile up. Get ahead of it now by creating an updated cleaning schedule/chore chart that allows everyone to carry a little of the load. It’s also a great time to remind people that picking up as you go is way easier than doing large clean ups at the end of the day.
4-Recognize the importance of self care (physically, emotionally, spiritually)-Moms…I’m talking to you here…This isn’t the time to be a martyr and do all of the things for all of the people while you exhaust yourself. Exhaustion isn’t good for your mental health or your immune system. You MUST create little pockets of downtime for yourself in the midst of this or you’re going to burn out quick. Tell your family what you need and ask them to honor it so that you can all stay healthy.
5-Movement matters-Being home is going to limit our movement in big ways so it’s important to make time each day to get up and move. There are a plethora of online yoga and workout programs for free ( I like doyogawithme.com) that you can use. If you don’t live in a metropolitan area that has ordered shelter in place get outside! Go for a walk, clean up the yard, plant a garden, or play catch with the kids.
6-Play matters-Just like movement helps our body feel better, play helps our body and mind feel better. This doesn’t have to be a somber time with no laughter or play. Tell jokes, watch funny movies, play charades or pretend to be explorers. Turn on the Netflix fireplace and sleep in blanket tents in the living room. Create fun diversions that give your brain a break from the world of COVID-19.
7-Connect virtually with people you miss-Perhaps the hardest part of social distancing is not connecting with the people we love. Introverts and extroverts alike are reeling from limitations on face to face gatherings. Use Zoom, Facetime, Skype or Google Hangouts for video chat. It won’t be the same but it will be better than texting. There’s something special about being to see people when you talk to the, even if it’s only on a screen.
8-Emotional wellbeing is crucial-Contrary to what many of us have been taught, our bodies and minds and emotions are not separate entities that can be managed independently of each other. Your peace of mind impacts your immune system just as much as your physical health does. Emotional well being means we are aware of our feelings, understand how to feel them without getting stuck in negative thought patterns, and knowing the impact they have on us. My number one resource for wellbeing is https://www.facebook.com/LarksSong/ and they’ve opened up their children’s emotional wellbeing curriculum for the month of April. http://bit.ly/little-larks-well-being.
9-Don’t forget about God-My audience is mostly Christian women, so you may have already thought of this, but please, please, please, don’t forget to make time to sit with God everyday. Having your kids home may have eaten up that big block of quiet time you had scheduled everyday, but you still need it. Carving out little moments here are there is a great start but there is so much more available to us if we can get into a quiet space for 15 minutes and give God time to pour out His peace onto us. Play worship music throughout the house to bring an added little dose of Jesus to every corner of your space.
10-Coax your feelings to the surface-Up and out is path emotions were meant to take. Stuffing them deep down and pretending that you aren’t feeling scared, anxious, or sad can lead to physical and emotional stress on your body. Make time to talk about your feelings with people who are willing to listen and don’t allow them to build up.
11-Grieve what you’ve lost-There are a lot of things that have been cancelled or postponed. This is bound to create some grief that needs to be worked through. Your grief is valid, no matter how silly or insignificant it may seem, and you deserve to grieve what has been lost. Events, hugs, face to face conversations, spiritual gatherings, school, work, and pastimes have left a hole for many of us. Give yourself permission to feel sad about things that are important to you.
12-Find the sunshine-Open the curtains (and windows if possible) every morning. Close them every night. Try your best to keep your body tied to the natural rhythm of day and night. It will help boost your mood and help with winding down at the end of the day. COVID-19 isn’t the only thing happening in the world we just may have to look a little harder to find lovely things to occupy our mind.
13-Make time to create-Every one of us is a creative being. That creativity can be channeled through creative arts like music, paintings, or theater while other times it comes out in our work or the way we care for our family. If your typical outlet has been taken away, find a way to flex your creative muscles everyday. Read stories, play pretend, move furniture around in your home, or dream about where you will go on vacation next fall.
14-Don’t stay glued to the news-What’s going on matters, but not as much as your well-being. Check it once or twice per day for updates to stay current and then shut it off. Allowing the alerts to pop up on your phone and constantly watching the number of cases climb is only going to create more disruption in your daily life.
15-Limit electronic time-Staring and scrolling may seem like a good distraction from what’s going on but too much screen time can actually backfire. Treat yourself like you do your kids on summer break. Pick what time you’re going to be online and put your phones away at the other times. Take a deep breath and put your phone away for the majority of the day.
16-Find the beauty in something everyday-What lights you up? What helps you see God’s magnificence? Don’t let those things get buried under the layers of isolation. Many national parks and museums around the world are sharing virtual tours, live feeds, and bringing some of what they offer to you. If you’re not on lockdown and can get outside for a walk-do it. Go out at night and look at the stars. Take a deep breathe and recognize that this won’t last forever.
17-Be kind to yourself-Living in uncertainty takes more energy and can leave our nerves raw. Give yourself a little longer to do normal things and forgive yourself for being ‘spacey’ or not thinking of things that seem super basic.
18-Clean out your newsfeed and email-Now is a great time to look at what type of messaging people are sending out. Are you following pages or friends who are stirring up scarcity and fear mongering? If so… Bye Felecia…Because no one has the bandwidth for that kind of foolishness right now. Unlike, unfollow, and unsubscribe. If it’s a friend or family member you don’t want to unfriend, simply block or unfollow. They’ll still be able to see your posts and you can see their profile, but they won’t pop up in your newsfeed.
19-Play the long game- I know I mentioned this at the top of the page but let me talk about it a little more here. For most of us, our COVID-19 journey isn’t going to last a few weeks and then life will return to normal. This is gong to last several weeks and then our recovery will take months, if not years. I don’t say that to stir up fear or scarcity. What I want you to hear me say is that each of us needs to keep our eye on the longer term impacts this may have. Burning through all of your resources this week will increase your stress later. Now is the perfect time to think about starting a garden, making extra meals to put in the freezer, and making sure you have supplies on hand to isolate and clean your home just in case someone gets sick.
20-Have hard money conversations-If money is tight now, take the time to go through your bank statement and cancel recurring charges that you don’t need. If you’re able to work-keep working. If you have a business that has moved online-keep making money and try to reduce non-essential expenses wherever possible.
21-Don’t be afraid to ask for help-The COVID-19 pandemic is creating pressures most of us never imagined. Don’t be afraid to ask for help from your church, counselors, and your community. If you feel overwhelemed and have thoughts of self harm please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline1-800-273-8255. If you’re a Christian woman in leadership in your church, community or business, I’d love to support you in my free Facebook group. Click here to join today.
Above all else, remember that God has not abandoned us and that this won’t last forever.
What would you add to the list? Is there anything you’re doing to care for yourself or your family during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Angela J Herrington is founder of Broken Beautiful BOLD online women’s ministry and Life and Leadership Coach for Christian Women.
In addition to operating a successful boutique social media agency, she teaches women how to recognize, cultivate, and unleash their God given leadership ability. She holds a BA from Indiana Wesleyan and a Masters in Leadership from Wesley Seminary. Her graduate research project focused on leadership development and opportunities for Gen X women in the US church.
Angela is a Lark’s Song Certified Life Coach who reaches hundreds of thousands of women in 40+ countries each month on Facebook, IG, Twitter, Pinterest and two blogs. She is Director of Communications for Wesleyan Holiness Women Clergy, a women led organization dedicated to engaging, empowering, and equipping women to lead in the church.
She is the host of the soon to be launched God Sized Calling Podcast and has also been published in Hope for Women and HOPE is Now magazines.
Angela is a also wife, mom to 6, and proud resident of Marion, Indiana with her family when they’re not traveling the US in their RV.