In these most uncertain times of chaos and turmoil, one thing is certain—the virus is rampant.
It is turning over this country with a force that hasn’t been seen in our modern generation. Some of us are or have family members who are considered “high risk.” I am one of those individuals. I have moderate persistent idiopathic asthma. According to a new study conducted by researchers at Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and Massachusetts General Hospital, those with nonallergic asthma are at a higher risk for developing severe COVID-19. I also help care for an elderly family member who is in the highest risk group for severe complications.
Due to this, 2020 has been a year of solitude for my family. My daughter was unenrolled from preschool. I started working remotely, and my husband was forced to quit his job in order to help take care of his aunt and our daughter. We have been trying to adhere to CDC advice and stay away from crowded and indoor places. I order my groceries for delivery every Sunday. We avoid all kinds of events. I think the worst part of it all is, that we just moved to Nebraska from California right before the pandemic hit the United States. I haven’t even had the chance to really experience my city for its inner livelihood. The quarantine life is all I know of this unknown place.
Initially, it was tough not to fall into depression, as I am one of those people who enjoy socialization and the company of others. Events always filled me with joy and a feeling of satisfaction. After my first breakdown in May, I knew that I needed to find a way to navigate this inner turmoil. This way I could come out of quarantine a better person than when I first entered it.
These are eight different things I did to keep me engaged and at peace:
1. Joined a virtual weekly book club.
This was one of the most engaging things I did for myself during these last few months. I joined a book club that workshopped The Artist’s Way: 12 Week Program. I began writing again and instilling healthy habits in regard to my inner artist. This workshop actually helped me find my love of painting furniture!
2. Co-hosted a weekly virtual meditation group.
Having a weekly grounding and aura cleansing with the girls really helped serve as a pick-me-up of sorts. I think this is also a healthy way to replace the “Friday night drinks” I used to use to unwind.
3. Weekly nature walks.
I am a full-time working mom who also helps take care of other family members. I don’t have all the time in the world to go on a walk every day. However, I do make time every week to get out and explore for a few hours. Doing this has helped establish a sense of normalcy for my family. And I personally believe that it is not healthy to stay indoors all the time. This weekly activity has helped our bodies ground with the elements.
4. Inner child day.
I used to call it “Bella Day.” This is one day a week where I put all of my tasks and responsibilities aside. I use this day to “play” with my daughter. We find activities to do, such as painting, dancing, playing pretend house, doing makeup, drawing, riding our bikes. For Halloween, I rented a giant bouncy house just for us to jump in for the weekend. I changed the name because this is the day I stop being a “busy parent” and just be a kid with my little one.
5. Family game night.
I try to do this at least once a month to keep things lively. I have a giant container of games in my basement. Once a month, we take all the games out and play at the table as a family. I think it is a great way to have my daughter learn new things and keep her mind engaged.
6. Weekly movie night.
Every week, I try to make it a point to rest. It can be so easy to get caught up in all of the shenanigans. Some of the best times in my life have been cuddling in my giant bed with my family. We usually just watch a good flick with some popcorn. I have found it is the simple things in life that bring the most joy. Granted, excessive TV is never good, but I try to keep a balance as far as my rest and work goes. I think that one night a week is sufficient.
7. Implemented an exercise routine.
I think this is one of the most important pieces to the puzzle that the coronavirus has brought upon us. If we exercise, we are not only purging our stagnant thoughts, but we are also physically preparing our bodies for the worst. My favorite workout is actually yoga because it is a great way to decompress. I try to do this at least twice a week, but I don’t punish myself if I accidentally skip.
8. I found a hobby.
Painting furniture has become one of my favorite pastimes. I enjoy every brushstroke and feel great satisfaction with each piece I finish. If you asked me three months ago what I would be doing in November, I would have never guessed it would be painting furniture. However, this has become such a spiritual fulfillment in my life. It is not what you do that makes you happy, it is how you do it. I do this for the love of crafts, not with the idea of making money. If I ever do make money off of though, I won’t complain!
There is one thing I have learned through all of this—you can always sit and ask yourself, “What do I need in this moment of my life?” Your spirit will answer. And it is through your spirit’s intent that life will unfold in ways that will surprise you. The hill is always going to be intimidating to look at, but we can always take baby steps to climb up it.