Thriving During a Pandemic

1:40:00 PM

Let's face it, life has been completely turned upside down for every single one of us. In the midst of the Coronavirus Pandemic our world has been flipped on it's head. This is why I wanted to take some time to write my thoughts on how I, a mom of three (6, 4, and 2), am getting through this time and how I am choosing to find joy even in these really hard times.

Let's be honest with ourselves for a moment, whether you are on the front lines and fighting to save hundreds of thousands of lives right now, grieving the loss of a loved one or are healthy, but just trying to do your part by staying home and quarantining yourself and your family to protect others around you, it is not easy being anyone right now. We each are suffering in our own ways. We are each facing our own trials each and every day.

Here are some tips as a mom of three that I have found helpful during this time of digital learning and staying home to help us get through the days and thrive instead of just survive the times.

1. MAKE A SCHEDULE
One thing that I swear by is having a schedule in our house. I made a little board that hangs on the wall in our dining room for the kids to see. I tried to make it as much like a school schedule as possible and because my kids are little, I have basically every 15-30 minutes planned to change activities. That is about all they can handle.

Here is how our day (during the school week) generally looks:

WAKE UP                               7:00AM
BREAKFAST                          7:00 - 7:30 AM
DEVOTIONS                          7:30 - 7:45 AM
MAKE BEDS/CHANGE         7:45 - 8:00 AM
FREE PLAY                            8:00 - 8:30 AM (this is when I get breakfast cleaned up and everything we need for school organized)
MORNING WORK                  8:30 - 8:45 AM
MATH                                     8:45 - 9:15 AM
MUSIC                                    9:15 - 9:30 AM
SNACK                                   10:00 - 10:30 AM
WRITING                                10:30 - 11:00 AM
ART                                         11:00 - 11:30 AM
LUNCH                                    11:30 - 12:00PM
NAP/QUIET TIME                  12:00 - 2:00 PM (sometimes this goes a little longer depending on naps)
OUTSIDE PLAY/P.E.                2:00 - 3:00 PM
FREE TIME                              3:00 - 5:00 PM 

Here is a visual of our daily schedule. These are all velcroed so I can move them around and play with the schedule each day.
This schedule usually gets me to dinner time. We try very hard to get all school work done in the beginning of the day so that after nap/quiet time the kids are just free to play the rest of the day. Obviously we move subjects around to change the days up and the schedule is flexible depending on how the kids are doing each day. Some days are really good, others are a struggle, but I can tell you 100% our days would be much harder if we didn't have a schedule. My kids definitely thrive in structure and I think it helps them to know what their day is going to look like. I mean, we have calendars to help us stay organized, why would our kiddos brains work any differently? 

Whew! So now that you have a little look into our school day I hope this can help you organize your kids and your family as we continue digital learning for the remainder of this school year. I know that it is a lot and takes some planning, but I promise you, it is worth it. You will find your days will run just a little bit smoother when there is some sort of schedule.

2. FIND THINGS THAT BRING YOU JOY
One thing that has been really helpful during this stay at home order is to find something that helps fill me up with joy. Sometimes that is finding a few minutes to sit quietly in scripture while the kids are napping. Maybe a quick workout. Or a bike ride around the neighborhood with the family. Sometimes it is when my husband takes the kids outside to play so I can cook dinner by myself. Whatever that looks like for you, find it and work it into your schedule somehow. Even just 15 or 20 minutes can be really helpful to recenter yourself.

3. ELIMINATE OR LIMIT THINGS THAT STEAL YOUR JOY
I know you can think of at least one thing that has happened to you during this stay at home order that has brought you fear, anxiety or frustration. What was it? (Other than your kids having a temper tantrum over something silly). If you can't eliminate it completely, is there a way for you to at least limit it?

For me it comes down to media, negative people/posts, and social media. All of these things are not all bad, I just found that too much time with any of these were bringing me down and effecting my mood and overall mental health. We do not have regular cable, which is helpful to filter the media. I do however give myself about a 10-15 minutes window a day to catch up on local and global news. That way I am not completely out of the loop, but also that I am not bombarded with it all day long. And then I can choose the sources that I want to receive my information from. Not all are created equally.

The negative people or posts and social media really just come down to setting boundaries. If it is a person that is bringing you down, try to limit your time with that person (if possible). If it is social media, try to unplug for parts of the day and substitute that time with one of the things that bring you joy instead. Instead of scrolling through TikTok for 3 hours, go on a bike ride and bake some bread. Or watch a movie with a loved one. If you are alone, Zoom somebody that you love and play a game of cards. I mean, we have to get super creative here, but it can be done. 

4. PRAYER + TIME WITH GOD
The last thing that has been so helpful to me right now is prayer. There is power in prayer. Prayer doesn't have to be this ritualistic, well thought out, thing. Literally it is simply a conversation between you and God. Pour your heart out to him. Write it in a journal. Whatever way feels right, but I promise you, this is so healing.

Your time with God can also simply be time reading and studying scripture. Letting the holy spirit work in your heart and soul. Here are some of my absolute favorite scriptures right now:

"Consider it pure joy my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything."
James 1:2-4

"He will wipe away every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away."
Revelation 21:4

"Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."
Romans 12:12

"In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
John 16:33b

Spend some time today in God's word and in prayer. Spend some time today appreciating every single moment you have been given with your loved ones. For every single breath in your lungs, the sun shining through the window or the rain that produces new life. Do not let these hard times destroy you or make you become bitter, because that is how Satan wins. And all I have to say to that is, "NOT TODAY SATAN! NOT TODAY!"

We are all in this together and we will come out of this stronger and more connected as a community of people if we allow this time to heal us and grow us rather than destroy us. ❤

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