Hello! Sending a big (virtual + social distancing- compliant) hug your way. I wanted to check in and see how you are doing.
I wanted to write this post right when things changed, but I was paralysed. I had no words. I wanted to act to support you all but didn't know how. I realize now that I was working through a lot of my own emotions, and it would take time for me to get to a point where I had words and actions figured out.
Apparently I am not supposed to use the actual names for the virus or I may scare advertisers off my site. Crazy huh?
How are you doing, friend? I am in an OK place right now, but I definitely felt like I was moving through the stages of grief. First there was anger, denial, sadness. But I have more recently gotten to a place of acceptance and 'how can we make this work?'.
I have good days and I have bad days. It's OK to feel sad, this is hard for everyone. I personally know I need to feel my feelings to get through them. I let myself sit and feel them.
How I am supporting my mental health
- being selective of how much news I consume- at first, I was glued to the TV and my phone. I wanted to consume all the news. I needed to know every single horrible detail about the pandemic. That was not helpful at all. Ben and I have started *just* watching the 6 o'clock news and that is so much more helpful. We get the information we need, and then we move on with our day.
- muting people on Facebook and Instagram- we all have those people in our lives. The ones who post multiple times per day about the pandemic. You can temporarily 'snooze' people on Facebook and 'mute' people on Instagram. So perfect to not see their posts without unfriending them
- start the day off right- I have been doing a 10-minute Yoga stretch routine from Yoga with Kassandra's YouTube channel, and it's such a great way to get your blood flowing first thing in the morning. My two year old joins me (and climbs all over me), and it's fun!
- incorporate movement- I know that I feel 1000 times better if I go for a walk or do a workout routine at 2 o'clock. I have been really committing myself to it daily and it immediately helped my moods. It's hard when you are sad and want to climb in bed but you will feel so much better if you move your body! I have done a couple workouts from Heather Robertson and really like them!
- meal prep- I know, we are home and it seems silly to meal prep, but LET ME TELL YOU, meal prepping will save your sanity so so much. I have been meal prepping our dinner components, and that means at 4 pm, all I need to do is pop something into the oven. It saves me so much sanity, and I find the process of meal prepping therapeutic (it's really a form of self care)
These five things have helped me SO MUCH. It can feel hard to do these things, but I promise that even just doing one of them can be so so helpful.
In addition to my own mental health, I am trying to be mindful of my children's mental health. Kai's school year is suddenly and unexpectedly over. We aren't able to go to playgrounds or see friends. I definitely feel emotional tension from him, and we are trying our best to work through our feelings and stay busy.
Over the past 3 weeks, we have found a few good resources for keeping our kids busy and not bored while in quarantine.
Here are my favorite kids resources:
- Daily schedule- this printable schedule from the Lean Green Bean has been really helpful in creating structure in our day. While I would love to let him roam free and play quietly, that's not my kid. He needs to know what we are doing in the day, and he also wants to be a part of the decision making. Having him write this schedule out has been helpful (although some days we really struggle to get him to write anything down).
- Go Noodle- apparently, they use the Go Noodle website in Kai's school for movement breaks. If you have a highly energetic child and it's cold outside like it is here, this is a great site to use!
- Busy Toddler- I follower her Instagram account and she has some really great ideas for keeping toddlers busy.
Tips I've learned over the past 3 weeks:
- New rituals- this whole situation is so new to everyone, but I thought it would be fun to develop some new rituals. That way when the kids think back to this time, they will hopefully not remember fear + anxiety, but these fun rituals:
- Saturday night movie night- we bake cookies, pop up some popcorn, and watch movies till we can't keep our eyes open
- Roald Dahl Box set- we are reading our way through Roald Dahl's books. So far we have read James + The Giant Peach and are onto Matilda. I love that when Kai thinks of these books, he will remember this time in our lives.
- Limit screen time- yes, we are doing way more screen time than normal, but it still needs to be regulated (for my child at least). If screen time is completely unlimited, we have an absolute nightmare on our hands 🙁
- Positive motivation- we are struggling with basic things again like getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating our meals, so I know we need to get our chore chart going again. Our chore chart has a bunch of basic tasks that must be completed to earn TV. We will add things like 'play outside' because that's another one we are struggling with right now.
We are really just starting to figure this out...we are suddenly expected to be home schooling parents with a toddler while working from home, and it feels pretty impossible. But I've realized over the past few weeks that we are so much stronger than we think we are, and we can totally do this!
We're having a Cook In
If you are a member of our Facebook group, you know we're having a cook in! We'd love to have you join us here.
Goals: motivate each other to cook with what we have in our pantries, connect with each other in this crazy time we are living through, bring some normalcy to the current situation
How it works:
1️⃣ cook a recipe using the pantry staples you have (no going to the grocery store to pick up extra ingredients and if you are wondering about swaps & substitutions, feel free to ask in the group!). Week 1 we will do lunch recipes and week 2 we will do dinners.
2️⃣ post a picture in the group
3️⃣ cheer each other on because we all need it right now
4️⃣ we will have a weekly prize. The winner gets a $50 Amazon gift card for themselves and a second $50 Amazon gift card to pay it forward to someone in need.
It has been so heartwarming to come together from all over the world, support each other, and get recipe ideas.
After getting over my paralysis with the whole situation, I got myself together and put together some resources to help you cook during the pandemic:
- 7 Meal Prep Plans + Shopping Lists- taking the guesswork out of meal prep, each meal prep plan contains a printable shopping list and a video prep demo (NEW!)
- The Ultimate Pantry Staple Meals Post- over 100 meals that you can make using pantry and freezer staples (NEW!)
- 12 Ingredients You Can Freeze- making the most of what we have is of extreme importance at this time. Here are some ingredients you might not know you can freeze, plus a bunch of cool ideas from the SPS community
I am also sharing what I am cooking for my family during this time on my Instagram stories. Please send me a message if you have any questions.
Friends, these are really tough times. No matter where you are, or what you are going through, I am sending lots of love to you. A HUGE thank you to all our front line healthcare workers and essential services. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!
Stay safe + well,