“What day is it, exactly?”
I’m sure I’m not the only one who’s said this countless times during quarantine. It’s so easy to get caught in the monotony of our days at home, but I have personally found that I’m at my healthiest (and most sane) when I find ways to differentiate the days and incorporate new experiences into my routine.
It seems that everyone and their mother is blasting our feeds with their sourdough starters, new hobbies or workout regimens, but I’m here to share that I’m just trying to manage homeschool, work and make sure we all brush our teeth every day. The following new experiences are 100% quarantine approved and actually don’t require you jump too far outside your comfort zone. And to be honest, my own key to finding joy has been keeping it simple and slightly shaking up my routine. Here’s how I’m doing it.
Define the day.
One of the benefits of doing all of this with kids at home? It gives a natural structure to my days. For those of you who aren’t working, home schooling or taking care of little ones, from where I sit of course that seems a bit dreamy, but I know it’s not that simple. If you’re not working – there’s the financial stress of that, and if there’s nothing to fill your days I’m sure it can all become a blur. Aside from our work / homeschool schedules we have found ways to break up our weeks from weekends (no workouts on the weekends), we have instituted pizza Fridays, made a chores schedule (example: laundry Mondays, grocery Tuesdays) and as parents we have found ways to break up responsibilities so that it’s not all falling on one person every single day. This will look different in each household but don’t doubt the benefits of a schedule – even if it’s the simple tasks you wouldn’t traditionally write down like getting ready, working out, cooking etc.
Listen to a new song or playlist every day.
I’m the type of person who always has music playing, but if I’m being honest – pre-quarantine I rotated between the same few playlists and rarely mixed it up. Over the last couple months I have made an effort to listen to a new song, album or playlist every day. It’s turned something so routine into something I genuinely get excited about and gives me the smallest tinge of newness each day.
Mix up your workout.
I’ve been mostly working out at home the last few years, so for me, there was no transition from hypothetical mornings spent at the gym to attempting to stay fit in my living room. That being said, the online workout space has blown up over the last few months and there is so much to choose from. Whether you’re on board the Peloton train (guilty) or prefer jumping on a zoom call with your local yoga teacher there is no shortage of different workouts to try. If you’re in a good flow that makes you happy and feel good then by all means, no pressure to switch it up, but if you’re bored – don’t be afraid to explore your options!
Get creative in the kitchen.
No, you don’t have to bake bread or become the next contestant on Top Chef, but we all gotta eat. The kitchen has absolutely been my sanctuary through this. I’ve had so much fun searching for one of the ingredients we have in our fridge or pantry and cooking or baking new dishes. Trying something new with my hands (and taste buds) has absolutely added some variation to our days at home.
An important note – you don’t have to be a writer to journal. We shared some inspiring prompts to help guide you through this trying time at the end of March and I have to admit that even as a writer, prompts like these have been especially helpful these days. A lot of the time I sit down to write and I’m either overwhelmed by stress or my brain just feels like mush after a day of craziness at home. Answer a new prompt each day to get yourself thinking in a different way and to remember this wild time.
As a parent I’m fairly accustomed to the date-night-in approach, and while an actual date night away sounds more enjoyable than ever before, it’s simply not an option right now. This has forced us to be creative and try new things at home. I’ve heard from friends that they’re doing everything from online escape rooms to touring the Grand Canyon to experimenting with some new positions in the bedroom – whatever floats your boat and spices things up people, just make sure you try something new on your next date night in!
Turn the TV off and listen to a podcast.
We’ve been guilty of putting the kids to bed, turning the TV and sitting there until it’s time for us to go to sleep. And while I’m all for indulging in whatever gets you through this time, I will say that my husband and I always enjoy actually sitting down with a beer or glass of wine and listening to a podcast together. An audio book would work here too!
Schedule some screen free time.
Anyone else watching that daily screen time average go up and up and up? I’d rather not share how many hours I’m staring at my phone but I can imagine most of us are in the same boat. I highly recommend choosing an hour a day – I prefer first thing in the morning or last thing before bed to disconnect from it all. News, social media, calls, texts, it’s a lot right now. If you feel like you need a break – take one!
Start a virtual book club.
Initially, my anxiety made it difficult to sit down and read when this all started, but since this has become the somewhat new normal I have been trying to make it more of a priority. It feels like the one of the only forms of entertainment that is completely COVID free and a true break. If you need motivation, get a couple friends together and start an online book club!
Shake Up How You Video Chat.
While the screen time can be a lot, it’s helped to break up my week. There are some routine calls we’ve had in this time and while I don’t always feel up for virtually socializing, I am grateful for them. Here are a few ways we switch up the standard video chat or phone call.
- During the week I have a happy hour with a few girlfriends while my husband handles the bedtime routine
- We do a Friday night movie night with a huge group of friends made complete thanks to Netflix Party and a drinking game
- Every Saturday, one of my best buds and I “go for a walk” together – essentially we each take a walk in our neighborhoods separately while we chat on the phone (long walks were always our thing before COVID)
- Each weekend we have a family day Zoom call with my husbands side and we do a game night with my side using Quiplash.
It may sound like a lot, but this connection is so important through these times and has given us social events to look forward to.
I’d love to hear in the comments how you’re getting through this and making days feel fresh and new despite, well, every day feeling the same. Hang in there friends!