What to Say? What to Plan?

Life is tough right now, isn’t it? I was mulling on the theme for this month’s blog, and asking myself, “What do people really want to read?” And let’s face it, who has time to read?

Well, we’re all in challenging places right now; so I thought, let’s talk about it. Just this last week, I had a conversation with a family member about her son’s upcoming school year. Her son is going into kindergarten … but … now with school being turned inside out, this mom is asking, “How do I teach this kid kindergarten while keeping my job?” It’s a question that parents across the country are asking. I don’t think anyone has THE answer to that. But there are things we can do to help.

We’re all looking for ways to keep our sanity with school, with work, with life in general. In light of our shared need to keep our sanity, I thought I’d make this month’s blog (hopefully) short and helpful.

Keeping Your Sanity: Routine and Connections

A routine, even at the most basic level, will create some sense of expected normalcy. Being realistic about your routine is important. The “perfect” routine will not happen. You are aiming for just a semblance of a doable routine, getting into some sort of schedule. These habits and routines will help keep decision fatigue at bay. And, no matter how rough it looks, a rough routine is always better than winging it. Just know, your routine will change as you get honed in on what works and what doesn’t. So keep a flexible mindset!

Tips for easy routines: have that cup of coffee or tea or whatever you look forward to every morning (even if you can only sit to enjoy it for 5 minutes!), get dressed in the morning, make your bed every morning, read a fun book with your family in person/on video each week, go on an afternoon walk, go to bed at the same time each night, or prep lunches the night before (even if you’re at home the next day; you still need to make eating real food a priority). And most of all, attempt to get your kids on a schedule! That by itself would be a game changer!

Find encouragement in connections. How you connect will be unique to you, but do make connections with friends, family, coworkers, and others. If you’re needing encouragement, ask for help before you get overwhelmed. If you have energy to give, reach out to others who need support.

Tips for connections: Yes, we are sick of Zoom, so maybe try a phone call, an email, or even an old-fashioned letter. Try outdoor activities with friends or family or even a health club that is doing classes outside. I’ve gone wine tasting with family and friends! Need to get thoughts and concerns off your chest regarding political and social issues? Call or email your local, state, and national representatives and participate (it might make you feel better). Find practical support for this unusual school year (homeschool support, Mom’s club, or the Pragmatic Parent). Reach out to your support group or church.

We function better when we’re connected. We function better when we have some sort of bare-bones schedule. Consistency in routines and friendships will help reduce those understandable feelings of “what in the world am I doing?”

There have been a lot of ups and downs in 2020. If I had to share one more tip, I’d say, look for laughter. Give yourself permission to laugh and try to find humor. I’ll leave you with this quote from writer Peggy Noonan: “Humor is the shock absorber of life; it helps us take the blows.”