In the spring of 2020, the world changed quite a bit as a global pandemic, COVID19, swept across it. Businesses shut down, school closed, and everyone transitioned to a life at home. To say that most are ill-equipped to deal with this new normal would be an understatement. From this, we see a level of stress in society that we never imagined possible.
Source of our Stress
Although everyone’s situation will be slightly different, there are some basic stressors that seem to be common.
- This is a big one. While many struggle today, there is also a sense of fear in what the future will hold.
- Family Dynamics
- We love our families…but that doesn’t mean we want to be around them non stop non stop. Plus Home school… and Math…need I say more?
- Loneliness / Isolation:
- The single and the elderly who live alone, and let’s not forget those single parents with young children! These individuals likely relied on jobs or extracurricular activities for socialization.
- Mental Health:
- Those with Mental health issues being triggered by current events (trauma / Depression / OCD).
- Physical Health:
- Those with physical issues that require specific accommodations lacking in today’s world (compromised immune systems / Need for frequent hospital visits).
It is likely that everyone can relate to at least one of these areas.
Change and the Home Bound Life
Although there is no magic advice that will make all your financial and physical problems go away, there are some things you can do to manage stress and bring a little order to your stressful world.
It All Comes down to Schedule and Routine
Reflect on what your life was life before all of these changes occurred and compare that to your current schedule and routine. Most of you are probably realizing that you do not currently have a schedule or routine. And if you do, it is probably a far cry from the structure you are used to. But that’s Okay!
Why Does Schedule and Routine Matter?
We are creatures of habit. We like to have the freedom to make our own choices, but at the same time, we crave structure. Think about it, how often do you choose the same seat even when not required to do so? How often do you make shopping choices based on brand? Do you have a preferred coffee cup or favorite walking path? That is because we tend to prefer the familiar.These are small examples, but the same exists on the larger scale of our everyday lives. Go back to thinking about your pre-pandemic routine. Did you have a regular time you would eat? What did you do when you would take a break? What helped you be productive? These things are going to be just as relevant at home as they would in a work AND SCHOOL environment.
The Home Bound Kid
That’s right, the same thing applies to your children now stuck at home with you. Have you noticed them being a little off? Maybe a little hyper at times or constantly hungry? Is this a regular pattern you see during school holidays? Well, that is because just like your routine is off, so is theirs! These little people rely on the school to tell them when to eat, when to play and when to work.Coming from a background in education, I can tell you that the school schedule is not a random thing, there are actual science and research behind it. You will notice that the program will change a little based on age, and that is not by accident. It is designed based on what a child needs. Allowing for naps in younger years, more play in middle childhood, and slowly moving to more structure and focused learning by the teens. If you think your life is in chaos just think about what your child must be going through.
Setting a Schedule
Now that we understand why schedule and routine are important, it is time to set our own.
What to Consider in Schedule Making
- Bedtime / Wake uptime
- Eating times
- Productivity time
- Active time
- Personal time
- Needs of the family
Developing Your Schedule
Use What You KnowTaking from your previous schedule is the easiest way to form a new functional routine. If you are used to taking a block walk at 11am every day, set a reminder to do physical activity at the same time.Combine SchedulesNot every person in your home will have the same routine. It will be important to check in with other family members regarding their schedule and sync up where able. If you eat lunch at 11 and your spouse eats at 12. 11:30 might be a good time to eat together.Be Mindful of New RequirementsThe need for homeschooling, child supervision, food preparation, and house cleaning might be new things that need to be added to our routines.Get the Kids InvolvedAdults are better at adjusting then I child will be. When in doubt about what your new schedule should look like, follow the schedule of your kid. This might mean moving lunch to their regular lunchtime and planning a “recess” that the whole family can do together. (Tip: Most schools post their schedule online, and the best part is this applies to school breaks as well!)
Benefits of Your Routine
- Provides a sense of normal
- Helps reduce random snacking (This is big for kids who are not used to controlling boredom)
- Organization will allow all family member to be more productive
- Promotes physical activity (especially crucial for children with high energy)
- Creates an environment where everyone needs can be met
- Achievable goals and structure improves mental health
- Kid’s routines can also be used during school breaks!
Meet ALL of Your NeedsYou need to make sure your schedule meets your personal needs, not just your work needs. This includes mental, physical, and emotional needs. Don’t Try For PerfectWe are all just doing the best we can. Now is not the time to stress about how much screen time your child is getting, how clean your house is, or how perfect your hair looks. This is time to prioritize, not perfect!Get CreativeYou might need to think outside the box. Alternating physical activity time with a spouse to allow fr child supervision, Set alarm reminders, or get a special app or calendar to help stay organized.Make Each Day Count!Achieving goals and rewarding ourselves with a little self-care is the best way to make each day worthwhile.
One on one Schedule Building and Management Coaching service is now available!3 Session Package $100:This package will help you develop a personalized schedule that works for your entire family. Includes 3 / 1 hours long online sessions with a life coach discussing your families needs and answering any questions you have about creating a schedule that will work for you. You will learn tips and tricks that can help create an organized environment and develop the best self care habits.
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