These past few weeks have been crazy. We’ve all been pushed to places we’ve never imagined. The Covid 19 pandemic has impacted us all and driven us into forms of isolation we couldn’t have imagined even 1 month ago.
I wanted to take a few moments to share some ideas that may help you and your family cope with the isolation being experienced by all of us during this health crisis.
For families struggling to figure out a functional way of moving through this trying time, it could be really helpful to sit down and plan out a week. I know for those of us who can be a bit more “fly by the seat of our pants”, this may not be one of our strengths, but when the alternative is waking to another day rolling on just like the one before, a plan might be just the thing to help your family pass the time.
Here are a few ideas of what your plan could look like:
1. Each day, everyone is going to get up, do their morning routine, e.g. exercise, shower, shave, get dressed, eat breakfast, etc. This is to avoid lounging for too many days on the couch in your pajamas.
2. Together, make a list of projects ranging in difficulty and time to complete. These may be things that have needed to be done around the house or in the yard, or perhaps more enjoyably, a 2000 piece puzzle, a sourdough bread recipe that requires several risings, starting your seeds indoors for the garden you’ve wanted to plant. Projects can be a great way to focus the mind on more beneficial things, and diminish the boredom that can make this quarantine so difficult.
3. Plan your menu for the week. Make some meals that take time and require thoughtfulness. Try some international meals. My family just prepared a fantastic curry on Sunday night. Prepare the meal together. You may even light candles and dress up, making it feel like more of an occasion.
4. Plan for time alone and time together. Make sure everyone is spending some time alone, napping, perhaps reflecting, journaling about this experience, or reading a book. Try not to spend too much time mindlessly vegging out, binge-watching shows. Of course we’re going to do some of that, but as part of your plan, try to limit the vegging to a couple hours in the evening.
5. Let’s plan for video gaming too. Many parents have extended the amount of time they are allowing their kids to play video games each day. This makes sense, as it is often one way our kids can stay connected to their friends; but leave some boundaries intact, and help your kids find other healthier ways of passing the time. My family played 10 hours of Monopoly last weekend. I haven’t done that since I was a kid. Risk, Settlers of Catan, and many other strategy games are loads of fun and help families pass time in healthy, engaging ways.
Bottom line is, try to be really thoughtful about these days. Think about what it could mean for you to engage instead of disengage. Some of the most powerful images I’ve seen during this crisis have been communities around the world finding creative ways to engage, from evening balcony singing in Italy, to creative music videos posted online. These history making crises can bring out the best or the worst in each of us. Let’s all try to be really thoughtful about how we choose to identify ourselves at this time.
So from all of us at Cedar Tree Counseling, stay engaged, stay safe, and stay healthy.
Men & Couples Therapist | MA, LMFT
I help men and their families, who are hurting, angry, and struggling to find their way through life’s challenges, to create real and lasting change.
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