I saw this awesome meme the other day that the beautiful Roberta (Stylish Kids Australia) shared featuring Kath from "Kath & Kim" and the stages of Isolation and it made me laugh so much but also made me think…
I ask the question, what stage of ISO are you at? Are you completely on top of it, embracing it, being super productive or are you feeling unmotivated, in a negative head space and just scraping through it would seem? For me I feel I am smack bang in the middle of those two, there have been days where I just get so consumed by COVID-19, the devastation and overwhelming sense of uncertainty I am an emotional mess. Because of this, I have had to consciously try to change my mindset to not be consumed by it. To choose to be productive, to implement structure and to not let my emotions get in the way etc. We have no control over this so now it is all about making the most of what I have got, this extra time with my boys and taking each day as it comes, so here are some things that are helping me, my family and my mental health and hey, it may help you too.
I have two beautiful boys a 3-year-old (almost 4-year-old Little a) and 9 year old (Big A) so when it comes to home-schooling with my 9 year old I find my 3 year old is the biggest distraction because 1. All he wants to do is play with his brother and 2. He just thinks we are on a long weekend, so why does my big bro need to do schoolwork right?! I have had to change it up.
Create a space: 1st of all, what I did was create a space at home for all 3 of us. I am still working on Milki & Co at home and processing orders when they come through, so I have created a "make do" space for us to sit together for the time being. I have a workstation for all 3 of us. "Big A" has his workbooks, laptop (sharing with me) pencils etc, I have placed artwork on the wall he created so he feels like it his own space. For "Little a" he has his table and chair, chalk board, paper, pencils, books and I give him little activities to do while "Big A" does his schoolwork. It’s a juggling act that’s for sure but right now it is working.
Routine: Not going to lie, our routine has changed from our normal early morning school drop off and late work finishes however our daily routine for quarantine is pretty much the same day during the week and on weekends we have a lot more "just go with the flow" vibes. Our morning wake-up time, lunch, and dinner time are similar everyday Mon-Fri. I wake up, clean and tidy, I have my coffee while the boys have their breakfast, I open all the blinds, make all the beds, put a load of washing on, wipe down bathrooms, vacuum and clean/ wipe down all door handles, tables & kitchen so it’s all clean and ready for us to get to work / school work. (I do a big weekly clean every Fri or Sat which includes the windows, shirting boards, dusting, bathrooms, laundry, cars etc) I have also added 2 organisational tasks to complete every day like sorting out the cupboards etc. I find a clean, uncluttered and organised space helps me mentally and I feel much more productive. I also find having a routine helps keep us happy and at ease.
Get up, get ready: There were a few days we had a lounge and pyjama day however found that it made me feel sluggish and unmotivated and I just continuously ate snacks! So, I had to change it up. Yes it's cool to have days where you just chill and relax however getting up and ready for me as if I were going out for the day i.e.: Shower, hair & makeup, choosing an outfit I feel good in and maybe even putting on some lippy makes all the difference for me. "Wake up and Make up" this is what is really helping me feel more like me, feel good about myself and creating more of a normality in my everyday "ISO" life.
This includes the boys; they wake up and get ready like normal (minus the school uniform of course) and it is helping make a world of difference for them too.
Break Time & Outdoor Fun: Having a mid-morning break from home-schooling / work is helping. I must admit, when I am at work, I tend to not have a break and it creates exhaustion. It is important that when we are working from home and now home-schooling, we have regular breaks to keep our minds healthy and strong. On sunny days, we have a bit of outdoor fun and activities on our morning tea break and lunch break. Playing basketball and handball in our courtyard is a winner with my boys as well as riding their bikes and scooters. We got some chalk the other day and made hopscotch (reliving some childhood memories here) this is an awesome activity if you have concrete or pavement. Chalk washes off easily so you can wash off and create new art pieces every day.
Getting out of the house for a walk and to kick the soccer ball around is also a big hit with my boys. We can't go visit relatives or do our normal swimming and after school activities at the moment so finding little things outdoors that we can do just us together is really important. If you live in an apartment and are limited with outdoor space you can design a little "get fit" activity for the kids or make a picnic and sit on the balcony etc. This is the time for all of us to get creative and make use of the space we have.
On rainy days we are a little bit restricted, so playing some board games, doing a puzzle together or some art and crafts during break time is a really awesome idea. Also, putting on some gum boots a rain coat and umbrella and letting the kids jump in the puddles outside is also an awesome activity, just make sure you have the towels ready!
Afternoon Yoga / 30-minute YouTube workout: Every afternoon before bath time and dinner we have been doing 30 minutes of yoga together via YouTube. (There are so many awesome workout channels) and it's a great way to get fit as a family. My youngest does his own improvisation most of the time but my 9-year-old is making an awesome yogi partner.
Face time/ zoom: Right now, we are all missing our loved ones, family and friends so organising a face time / zoom catch up is an awesome idea. We all need to have some human interaction outside of our household, it's so important! So until we can all see each other in person again, this is the way to do it so if you haven't already downloaded the apps, do yourself a favor and do it now and start booking in those daily/ weekly catch up calls!
Cooking time: If you know me, you know that I am no way a cook. Mr is the cook in our house however, the kids absolutely love it! So, I have started to embrace some baking during this time. Even if it’s a box mix, the kids love mixing all the ingredients and it's a great bonding activity. I remember when I was younger some of my fondest memories with my grandmother and mum were when we were cooking together so really enjoying doing this more with my kids. It may get messy but the laughter and smiles on their faces are all so worth it!
We have made brownies & cookies so far so looking forward to creating some more baked goods. * This is also a great idea if you have loved ones, people in the healthcare and medical field that you can't see but you can drop some food off to them. Small acts of kindness go a long way.
Down time: Every day and during the weekend we have our own down time. Where we watch a movie, YouTube or just anything the boys individually want to do. "Big A" loves art, Xbox and YouTube (what 9-year-old boy doesn't right?!) "Little a" loves playing with his toys, PJ Masks, Teen Titans etc. So daily I let them enjoy their own time to do this. It might only be an hour or so during the week but on weekends I am more chill about it. Plus, I also like my own downtime, where I can scroll on my socials, do some online shopping, get some more housework done or just chill and relax on the lounge with them plus, who doesn't love a bit of downtime?!
Adult time aka Netflix & Chill with Mr: When Mr is not on night-shift and we are both at home together once the boys are in bed, we make time for just us. It's super important for both of us emotionally and physically (yes you know what I mean ladies) We are going on 11 years this year together and having "us" time is so important. He needs it, I need it, so although we can't go on date nights right now making our own date nights at home is super beneficial so if you have a partner, just do it! They will love it; you will love it. It's a win win situation.
Check on a mate: Especially during this time it's important to check in on one another. If it be sending a DM to someone via Instagram, sending a MSG to your bestie or calling that loved one you have been putting off calling for some time. Now is the time to do it! Get connected, show those you care about some extra love and check in on a mate. We all could do with a little bit of TLC right now and you never know, you might just make someone’s day.
And finally, REMEMBER YOU: With everything that is happening right now, our world is upside down. Our own mental and physical health are so important. I know for me as a Mumma sometimes I forget about me but now more than ever we need to be stronger for our kiddies, our loved ones and for us. So be sure to have some YOU time, give yourself a facial, paint your nails, read a book, pour yourself a glass of wine, listen to some podcasts. Whatever makes you happy and makes you feel good do it! For me, doing my tan, yoga, listening to music, ocean swims, singing and getting creative makes me happy.
Always, always, always remember you, be kind to yourself.
Wishing you so much love, stay safe, thank you for reading and if you have some cool ideas to help get us through ISO or want to connect be sure to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org