Today I looked at my March calendar, my goals and my to-do’s as I prepared for the upcoming month of April. I see a few things checked off at the beginning of the month and then a whole lot of nothing. The pandemic started and life was no longer about exercising 4 times a week, or which writing projects I hoped to do, or what spring cleaning needed to happen.
Life was suddenly about quarantine, our college daughters moving back home, our high schooler not returning to school. I was looking for toilet paper, making sure our pantry was full, and watching the numbers of infected rise. I was trying to find that line between watching the news and being aware with not watching too much when I felt the anxiety of it all turning in my stomach.
Suddenly life has become very small and the awareness of what’s important and what’s not important has taken on a great importance. Everything is weighed- against necessity, against practicality. Can we make due without it? Can we combine it with any other activities? Is it really even necessary?
Some things that I have found to be very important:
Grace with family members. None of us have every done this before. Everyone is stressed, has concerns and fears, disappointment and questions. Just let some stuff go….offer kindness in return.
Flexibility. Menu planning? Out the window. A schedule? Gone. Every day is bringing new concerns, rules or shortages. It is not in my nature to be this flexible, but I am learning. I used to make a weekly menu and then shop for those items. Now I make a menu based on what I already have. When I go to the store I see what’s there, buy it and it becomes the menu for the week following.
New routines. Routines comfort us, give us a grounding and starting place. They help us focus on next steps. If you are stuck at home, try to create a new routine, one that includes times of work, rest, exercise and study. Whatever fills your day. Without a purpose you may find yourself aimless, snacking (oh, my goodness the snacking that’s happening!) and only watching Netflix.
Make room for creativity. Study our past generations. Look at how they did things, the courage they had and how they overcame. Read books. Be inspired by this and try new things. Gardening, food storage, recycling.
Stay aware, but not obsessed. Find your news from reputable sources and follow guidelines put out by the authorities. Do what you can to be a part of the solution and not part of the problem. Use common sense and your instincts.
What am I taking with me into April?
This is a marathon, not a sprint. It doesn’t look like this is going to end in a month, or even two. We aren’t just getting by for a few days. This is real and it’s going to be a long while. Set yourself up within your home to be as healthy as possible and as prepared as you can be.
Prayer without ceasing.The Lord says to come boldly to His throne. I can’t think of a better, safer place to be.
Stay aware. Of changing circumstances, guidelines. your own health and that of your family. Allow your routines to ground you and give you a framework, but hold those plans loosely. Above all, focus on just doing the next right thing. When it all get to be too much, focus on just the next 10 minutes. And then the next.
Remember, it’s still okay to cry, or laugh, to be angry or tired. We aren’t robots pushing through. Make time to be still enough to notice your own emotions, how you are holding up, if you need a break, or someone to talk with.
Stay healthy friends,