The COVID-19 outbreak leaves us in weird times, but Maria Rushe has 10 things we can do to adjust to a 'new normal' at home.
What a week it’s been eh?
We’ve all found ourselves slowly sliding into chaos. And even for those of us who hoped it’d all pass and gently laughed it off, (yes I was one of them), we’ve suddenly had our eyes opened and our backsides slapped.
The suddenness of Thursday’s announcement left the country reeling. Yes, we all knew it was coming, but I don’t think anyone was prepared for the “6pm tonight” closures.
And so over the past few days, we’ve all had to try to adapt. We’re trying to adapt to all of the changes that are coming at us faster than Sonic the bloody Hedgehog, while trying to maintain a “calm” in front of our kids.
Personally, it’s been a difficult few days.
We had to pull our run of The Addams Family after only 2 shows. I had to leave work, saying bye to my other babbies and my colleagues in a weird and eery atmosphere that none of us have experienced before.
And this morning, Emmet and myself made the decision to close the gym for a while, in order to keep our members safe. A difficult decision, but easy in the grand scheme of things.
And of course, these things are wee buns in the midst of the new reality we find ourselves in.
So how can we make the most of the situations we find ourselves in?
- Routine: Make a plan for the week, just as you would if you were all getting up to go to work/school. For me, I intend to get up at 6am as usual, do a few hours of school work before the girls get up and then a few more after they’re in bed. I’ll allocate a time for Mini-Me to do school work. We’ll schedule time for us to train together or to get out for a run. The girls will have playtime and downtime and bedtime will remain as normal as possible. And they’ll know that Mammy and Daddy still have to work for certain hours.
- Eating: If your kids are anything like mine, they’re ALWAYS hungry. I’m going to try to keep the idea of “breaktime” and “lunchtime” etc going at home. Otherwise, Princess’s bum will be stuck out of the fridge constantly. I’ve also chopped up their favourite fruit and put it in the fridge, so that if they do want snacks, they’re getting snacks, not treats.
- Get dressed: seems obvious, and yet it’s so easy to stay in the pjs. To be honest, I was so upset after Thursday that I spent most of Thursday and yesterday in my pjs. But from tomorrow, it’s up, shower and get dressed as normal. Just without heels or makeup. See the positives where you can!
- Don’t overdo the Mary Poppins act: I’ve already seen social media influencers who have done 3 weeks worth of arts and crafts activities in the first 2 days of no school. Calm yourselves. Let the kids play. Let them be bored. Let them read or draw. Put on their coats and open the door if you can! Not every activity needs to be organised or planned. Save those for the really long rainy days where they are genuinely bored or need to be cheered up.
- Follow people who inspire you: Social Media has been a dark place this past few days. Don’t allow yourself to become bogged down or overwhelmed. Switch off the phone. And try to have a switch off time in the evening. And only follow people who are making you smile.
- Keep active: The one thing that has been lovely this past few days, has been the weather. Get outside with the kids. Go for a walk. Keep an eye on our pages for some workout ideas that you can do with or without your kids. And fresh air is good for everyone. Get as much as you can.
- Read: If you’re like me, you’ll have a pile of started and unread books in the house. Put down the phone and start to read. Let your kids see you do it. Have a “reading time” block in the day where you all sit and read. Monkey see, Monkey do.
- Cook: Again, most of us cook functionally and conveniently. Rather than firing on the slowcooker or cooking in a hurry, set your inner Nigella alight and get chopping. Let the kids cook too. They love it. And if you have a few of those “Betty” quick brownies in the press for the really long days, you’re winning at life AND you have something sweet and tasty for your cuppa.
- Stay in touch: For many of us who are used to social interaction with colleagues or clients, the sudden isolation and lack of communication can be upsetting. Talk to each other. Message friends. Set up messenger groups with people who you would usually see each day and check in on each other. Make phonecalls. Pick up the phone and call someone rather than always messaging. Some people might not hear another voice from one end of the day to the next. Communicate.
- Stay positive: yeah it’s easy for me to say isn’t it? But it’s hard to do. But go easy on yourself. You’re allowed to be scared. You’re allowed to be upset. Grief and fear are not signs of weakness. In order to deal with things, we first have to process it; to let it sink in. So allow yourself time to process. Then, look for the positives and focus on those.
We are in weird times. We are dealing with disappointments and stresses that are unprecedented. Much of what we are facing is new. and yet in the middle of it all, we’re seeing glimpses of human kindness and camaraderie that only the Irish can show.
We have a new reality. We will all have to find a new normal for ourselves. We can and we will.