Week one under quarantine with the kids has been interesting. Funny enough, they’ve behaved better than what I thought they would…but, I’ll keep you posted if that changes!
This past week, it has been raining practically every day in north Texas. So, I decided to bring out a 1,000 piece puzzle for me and the kids to do together. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking…maybe I was reminiscing from my childhood and how I’d work on puzzles with my parents or grandparents. Regardless, I really thought this would be a fun non-digital activity.
I called the kids down from their room as they were playing some game on Xbox and gleefully said, “Hey kids! Let’s have fun with this puzzle!” My two older kids looked at me…proceeded to say “isn’t that what old people do?” and left the living room. My youngest elected to stay.
We piddled around trying to find the pieces with the straight edge to make the “frame” of the puzzle…and I could tell he was quickly becoming agitated because we weren’t finding pieces fast enough. He was huffing and puffing, and I finally said, “Hey buddy – this is just part of the fun…finding the pieces!”
He just looked at me and said, “Mom, I’m going to be honest with you. The only reason why I’m down here helping you is because I feel sorry for you that you’re by yourself.”
Whoa. My kid felt sorry for me. He knew I had been alone all week. Yes, my husband is awesome and we spend time together in the evenings. But, all the meetings with people…the fun projects I had been talking about with others…the social part of work…it was gone. And we all know it’s likely to be gone for quite some time too. And my little guy…he knew I was a little sad.
Don’t worry. I didn’t make him stay with me to work on the puzzle. I told him to go play Xbox and be on his way…and then, I just sat there and started to think about this “new normal.”
You guys…. For those of us who are extroverts…those of us who have our energy fueled from being around others…let me tell you, quarantine and social distancing is HARD.
I’ve asked my friends what they’re doing to stay upbeat during this crazy time. I wanted to share some thoughts with you….
Text, call or FaceTime your friends, family and colleagues. Conversations don’t have to be work-related. In fact, I say – use this slower time of life to engage and build relationships. You have the time to reach out and say hi…so, do it. One girlfriend said, “set up a Zoom happy hour!” I love this one!
Take daily, physical activity breaks. Walk the dog, bike with the kids, yoga…whatever is your thing – go do it. If you see the neighbor out, say hi instead of listening to the latest podcast with airpods in your ears.
Schedule time for you. This past week has been challenging. Why? I’m having to homeschool my kids, and I’m NOT a teacher. I’m trying to work while having kids home all day (how many times can they say the word “mom”???). We’ve had to get used to doing everything online, and there’s been tons of glitches and system failures. It’s been frustrating. The other day it was nice outside, and I told the kids I had to have a break (they could tell I needed it too…it’s funny how your kids KNOW when your fuse is about ready to blow). They played outside for a few hours and never interrupted me. It was awesome. I did the same thing again today. Once we were done with school work, I got a two hour break. THIS will become my new normal!
In all seriousness, mental health IS your health. So, listen to your body…and when you feel you need a break – TAKE ONE. When you feel you need to talk to someone, pick up the phone. Believe me, that person on the other end of the line likely wants to talk as much as you do right now.
Stay connected. Find your happy place, and we’ll get to the other side of this craziness.
All my love….