In this time of national upset, our lives have been disrupted to say the least. Even though we are beginning to see businesses reopen with limited capacity, every day and each news report can send us into fits of despair and uncertainty. What can we do?
Take Precautions: Remember it is YOUR choice whether to go out more or stay home. Whichever you choose, protect yourself and your family. If you are sick (even if you feel it’s ‘just’ a “summer cold”) Stay HOME especially if you are running a fever! Have to get out? Wear a mask! Go where you must but try to avoid large crowds.
Start your day on a positive note: Statistics have shown people with positive attitudes live healthier, less stressful, more productive lives. If how you begin your morning sets the tone for the entire day, then start each morning off by writing and/or reciting positive statements for at least five minutes. This can be done individually or as a family around the breakfast table.
Kids have been home for more than two months now and I’m sure they are bored to distraction. Instead of viewing this as a disruption or hassle, look at it as a time to reconnect. Here are a few ideas…
Board Games/Puzzles: If you don’t have any, the local Wal Mart stores should have a variety to choose from. Think of ways to make them fun instead of boring. For example: Monopoly can teach your children how to add, subtract and value money. Yahtzee can help with math. Clue can aid in deductive reasoning, puzzle solving and awareness of subtle hints. Even those played online or with phones and other electronic devices can be utilized as a family event.
Coloring has become the go-to stress reliever. Set up times each day or evening and pass out the color books or sketch pads, pens, pencils and crayons. Use this time to talk quietly about what’s going on and to alleviate fears and concerns your children may have about the direction of their lives once things get back to normal.
Learn a new language: YouTube is overrun with free videos that can help you and your children learn ASL or many foreign languages. Don’t worry whether they, or you, will use this in the future, enjoy learning something new.
Family exercise time: Nature is the one thing that is not closed off. Even if in your own back yard, find ways to be together and get some exercise. Corn hole, badminton, softball, bicycles, roller skates, jump rope are just a few ways getting outside and being active can be fun.
State and City parks aren’t open completely yet, but the hiking trails and walking paths are available. Make your excursion an all-day event by going to one a couple hours away from home, pack a picnic lunch and plenty of water and you’re all set. Bring a camera and/or journals so your children can record their experience.
Inspire creativity by having story time. Whether you read aloud a classic or have your kids write their own and share with the family, writing and/or painting are practices which have been proven cathartic.
Renew the art of letter writing and phone calls. Face-Time, Zoom, Facebook Messenger or Facebook Live are wonderful ways to connect with those family or friends you’re unable to visit face-to-face right now but nothing beats old-fashioned letter writing. Let each family member pick out his or her preference in stationary, or pull out the colors, markers and sketch pads, and create unique and personal pages to write on. In this day and age where a text message counts as conversation, pick up the phone and call someone! Sometimes hearing your voice can brighten a loved one’s day or evening and give them a sense of hope they may not have felt just moments before.
Go Camping or Plant a Garden. Don’t want to mix and mingle at a campground? Throw up a tent in your back yard and/or build a small fire and roast marshmallows for smores and ghost stories. Even if you don’t have a lot of room, patio or small space gardens are known to be hugely successful and a lot of fun as well as beneficial to ensure your family is getting the freshest produce.
Dance! Move the furniture or clean out the garage, put on some music and show your children how you partied before they were born. As far back as the ‘Loco-Motion’ (1962) line dancing has been something fun to learn and do. Teach your children those from your clubbing days and have fun learning theirs.
Meditation and Yoga. Studies have shown that meditation and yoga are beneficial mentally, emotionally, even physically. No child is too young to learn to sit still and get quiet. Again, YouTube can be one of your greatest friends in helping put these holistic practices in place. Who knows, you may enjoy them so much you incorporate them into your daily routines even after the stay home restrictions have been lifted completely and we’ve adapted to our new normal.
Have ‘honey do’ projects? Now’s the time to get them done, but don’t discount the fun and lessons this can be for your children. Even girls could use lessons in painting and plumbing (minor projects of course). Boys benefit from learning to do laundry, spring clean, etc.
End your day on a positive note. Prayer and Bible reading/discussions are two more activities when done regularly can bring peace, comfort, strength and assurance in these uncertain times. Along this note, end your day with a gratitude journal or expressing gratitude around the dinner table or just before bed. Start your list with, “I am so happy and grateful for (fill in the blank)” OR “I’m so happy and grateful now that (fill in the blank).” Just as beginning your day on a positive note sets the tone for the entire day, ending it on a positive one will aide in more restful sleep, less stress and worry that will invade your dreams, and help you wake up to a brighter day.
These are a few ideas that have, hopefully, encouraged you to reconnect with your family in ways you hadn’t considered in quite some time. Who knows, you may even adopt new, healthier beliefs that change your entire future!
Until next time remember....Life is all about perception - keep yours in perspective.
Tommy Curtis and Staff
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