Today is Sunday March 29th…or as we are calling it over at our house “Day 9 of Quarantine”. Last Saturday morning, at 7am, we arrived home from Maui and began our 14 days of self quarantine. We left for our Spring Break vacation a few days early, on March the 10th, just a few days ahead of what felt like the world falling apart. I feel so incredibly lucky that we got to have our Spring Break vacation, but also bad for so many of our friends who had to cancel plans at the last minute, resulting in huge disappointments and financial devastation.
I am grateful for the time we had in Maui, which is my mind is the most beautiful and magical place on Earth, but it was a weird and stressful vacation in so many ways. Trying to digest and process the news, trying to find affordable flight options when we felt the need to cut our trip short…but the worst of it is that my husband works as a stock market analyst and it couldn’t be a worse time for his industry right now. I have seen him navigate some stressful situations, but nothing like this…and all while we are supposed to be “on vacation”.
As is typically the case in our family, he had to focus on work …sometimes getting up at 1:30 in the morning to hop of a conference call that was happening on the Eastern time zone…and I took care of our 3 kiddos..not exactly the family bonding time we had imagined nor any kind of a vacation for Steve. Despite all the stress, we still managed to have some time together at the beach most days. Just like the famous quote goes, “it was the best of times, it was the worst of times”.
So as I mentioned, today is day 9 of quarantine for us. The first two days were spent recovering from the red eye flight home. Man, I haven’t done one of those in years and I am not in a hurry to do it again any time soon. I am a person who really needs sleep and being awake for 24 hours in a row kicked me in the pants but good. By Sunday evening the fog had lifted and we sat down as a family to figure out how we were going to navigate the coming days, not being able to leave our house.
This past week has been a wild roller coaster filled with emotional ups and downs, both for me and the rest of my family. I feel like I am often the “emotional trampoline” around here and I had a few really low days where I just struggled to take care of everyone while I was feeling low myself. I have been giving myself grace and cutting everyone (myself included) a great deal of slack.
There were some things we did that worked well to keep things running smoothly and our spirits up, and I thought I would share those with you today!
connecting with friends & family
I know this is a really obvious one, but right now, more than ever, I feel like it is important to stay in contact with friends and family to prevent feelings of isolation and raise our spirits. The first thing that I did when I woke up on our first Saturday morning home was to request a Face Time call with my friend Christine. She and her daughter had been in quarantine for a week already as they had traveled home together from a trip to LA. I nominated Christine as my “Quarantine Mentor” and asked her to share her wisdom with me. She gave me awesome tips, some of which I will be sharing with you throughout this post.
Thank goodness we have technology that makes staying in touch so easy… text messages, emails, phone calls, video conferences and face-time…so many ways that we can connect with our “people”. I have a group of friends from high school that I hold very dear. We all live in different cities and countries now and it has been hard for us to keep up with each other as we all have busy lives. Thanks to this strange time, we were all able to jump on this app called House Party and we “visited” with each other for almost 2 hours! It was so amazing to see these friends, some of whom I haven’t seen in about 15 years!
connecting with community
Another important way to feel connected to others is to reach out to your “community”. I am part of several Facebook groups that make this very easy. We have a mum’s group Facebook group in our neighborhood, and that has been a great place for everyone to stay connected and support each other as well as share resources and information.
I also joined a few new groups – one for Interior Designers and another one for work-out ideas. Connecting with new people that share a common interest has been good for my spirits and has helped to spice things up a bit.
Our social media “communities” are another way to foster connection. I have seen so much positivity and support being shared and it’s a beautiful thing. There were several times over this past week that I have felt really sad, depressed and lost. I shared some of those feelings openly on instagram and got such great support from my friends there. I got a few people responding to me with a DM and they shared that they too were feeling the same and it just made me feel so much less alone. On the flip side, I have had moments where I am feeling pretty good, and I have been in a place to lift up others. Whatever you are feeling these days, it’s all okay to feel all the feels and reach out to others for support.
One of the things that we tried to put in place right away is a loose schedule. We used our chalkboard wall to map out how our days would look and it was a great starting point. In reality, our days didn’t quite follow the schedule we created, but it was a helpful guideline that gave us some structure-it’s still a work in progress.
We have always been very routine oriented in our family, ever since the kids were babies and I think being consistent with that is a comfort to all of us right now. I of course, am the main driver of this initiative because I myself really thrive on basic routines.
In addition to (and perhaps to balance out) the mass amounts of screen time our kids are having right now, we are designating some time for chores, physical activity, family time and basic hygiene! We have also carved out some time for our kids to sit at our family desk all together and do some online learning, or catch up on homework assignments. My older two kids missed quite a bit of school right before Spring Break for health reasons, and then we left for Maui early and they missed even more school…so both of them had some work that was sent home for them to do over the break. Funny how at that time, we had no idea they wouldn’t be resuming school after Spring Break…I still can’t get over how drastically things changed in such a short time.
We joined an online learning program called IXL and we get them to do an hour or so each day as well as some reading. I am not even so concerned about any actual learning during this time, it is more to provide some structure and balance while we are stuck at home together for days on end.
I feel like we mostly have the kids sorted out and happy, now I still need to figure out a schedule that works for me. How to include some time for the things that make me feel balanced and fulfilled, like working on my business, working out and self care. Just the basic upkeep around the house right now has been weighing me down, and that is one of those things that I shared on instagram. I heard back from so many people that they too could feel my pain! Making meals, cleaning up the meals and just the general tidying, it feels never ending and exhausting! I wish my kitchen always looked like it did the day of my photo shoot…sigh…
But mostly it just looks like this…
My “Quarantine” mentor Christine, mentioned above, shared a great idea that she saw online – start a wish jar for things that you want to do when the time of self isolating is over. We altered the idea a little bit and made it a “things I can’t wait to do when we get out of quarantine” wish jar.
Every time we find ourselves thinking of things we wish we could do, we right it on a strip of paper and pop it into the jar.
The first thing I wrote down on my scrap of paper was to go and pick Lucy up from my inlaw’s farm in Courtenay…we always send her there when we go away on a holiday, but because of our self quarantine we are not able to go and bring her back home. We miss her sooooo much!
We miss Ginger as well, but she is still away at ‘Puppy Boarding School’ training to be a working/hunting dog. We will be able to go and visit her next weekend and we can’t wait. We haven’t seen her in two months and I am worried that she has totally forgotten us. We sure haven’t forgotten her!
The hardest part about being in quarantine is not being able to go to the store and buy what we need, especially when it comes to groceries. With all the meals we are making and consuming as well as the baking I have been doing, it always feels like we are out of something. We are so lucky to be surrounded by wonderful friends who have made trips to the pharmacy and grocery store for us. A big “Thank you” to Emma and Shannon!
I am so used to being self-reliant so it feels strange to be having to ask for help all the time. One of the things that made me feel better (more capable?) was to be able to order certain items online.
I ordered some pretty bizzare things off of Amazon this past week, thank goodness for Amazon Prime. I was worried we would run out of this, so I bought a big bag. Then I noticed we were running low on this in the kids bathroom…random grocery store items that I would normally just zip out to buy!
Many of you parents are experiencing the same struggle as me, the kids want to snack all.day.long. Not because they are necessarily hungry, they are mostly bored. And in the case of my kids, a little competitive about getting that last bag of fishy crackers.
My friend Jenn had a great solution to this that I put in place immediately after she shared it with me. She told me that she has given each of her kids a large ziploc bag with their name on it. Every day they pick a designated amount of snack items that go in the bag and that is their allotment for the day. She also suggested I fill everyone up with a water bottle in the morning to cut down on the number of glasses that get dirtied. Jen, you are a genius, thank you for solving our snack woes!
After the first 3 days of making meals and baking, I quickly came up with the idea that we would splurge on a take out meal using Uber Eats or Door Dash every Saturday. And then I counted down the days until I could take a break from cooking. Last night we ordered fast food from A&W and ate it pretty much out of the bag like savages! In front of the TV no less, while watching my favorite show – The Goldbergs. Having a night off from doing the dishes has never felt like such a treat!
5 days and counting
We have 5 more full days of being in quarantine at home and I will be patiently counting down every last one. In addition to hopefully picking up Lucy, I am so excited to just be able to get out and go for a walk somewhere!
This is a stressful and challenging time for everyone and I hope that wherever you are and whatever your situation, you are taking good care of yourself and staying safe. If you have adopted any habits that are working well for you and your family please share them below. Or just drop me a hello in the comment section, I would love to hear from you.
Thanks so much for reading!