This 8 week series will help you get through the tough times of COVID-19. It will teach you how to cope with things like work / life balance, structure, appreciation, gratitude and a few others.
I have first hand knowledge with each section and have worked through many obstacles myself. Of course, they are not identical to yours, but they may be able to help. Seriously, if you ever want to talk about any of them, or dive deeper in, let me know. I’d be happy to assist. Until then, focus on week 1.
Anxiety Coping Skills by Week
3: Work / Life Balance
4: Appreciation of Others
7: Stop. Keep. Change.
8: Moving forward
Let’s dive in!
Week 1: Structure
Remember when you were in Elementary School? If you were in a school that required uniforms, even better. There was a very specific schedule to follow each day. Not only did it give teachers a break for you to go to art, but you knew exactly when that would be. You had to bring a change of clothes and shoes if you had gym, etc. It was mundane, sure, but also very easy to follow when you know what is coming.
When we are all stuck inside our homes, it’s easy to have feelings of depression creep up. Make sure to set up a schedule and stick to it as much as possible, it will ease your mind of the small every day stuff.
A friend of mine recently mentioned that it would be so much easier if he knew on Mondays he would be having meatloaf, Tuesday tacos, Friday pizza, etc. Instead, every night him and his wife are trying to figure out what to eat. Which is the better way, the easier way, the more efficient way? Maybe it is a mix of the two. Maybe you have a list of 30 items to choose from and you pick and choose at the end of each week what you will have next week. Make it a family affair if you have kids, everyone gets to pick one or two for the week. You can technically do this for each meal (including desserts – my favorite).
We will get into meal prep in a future post, that is for sure, but for now just think of the rest of this week and what you are having. Make sure you have all the ingredients and to add things to the grocery list if not.
Mark Zuckerberg (creator of Facebook) wears the same outfit everyday. Why you ask? It’s one less thing he has to concentrate on. Something he already knows, like how to make your coffee. It is the same thing every day. Boring for fashionistas, but for people that need to concentrate on other things, this is a great idea. Steve Jobs did this as well. Maybe try laying your clothes out the night before. Or on Sundays, make it a ritual to get prepared for the following week, clothes are washed, ironed, and hung out ready to be picked for the days ahead.
You might think you already have a schedule, you know you have to be at work for a certain part of the day, but you are working from home. Then you have a husband/wife to take care of, kids, laundry, food, etc that all seem to pile up. If you’re anything like me that leaves you feeling overwhelmed and you just procrastinate to get things done. Then you rush and things get missed, or even worse mess up.
The worst part is when you rush in the morning, then you stub your toe, then you hit every light, traffic, and spill your coffee. All because of poor planning. I hate to say it but it is true. When I start to notice those patterns, I stop what I’m doing and breathe. Then I realize I just need to slow down and think of what is coming ahead and how to plan right now for those things.
If it’s not an appointment at a specific time it just doesn’t get done right away. Putting a timestamp on things really helps me. If you schedule things like daily walks, showers, cooking; then it really opens up that part of your brain where you don’t have to to think about it. When you don’t have to think about the small tasks at hand, then you can focus on other things. Better yet, when the time comes and you DO have to think about the tasks at hand, you know you can focus on just that one task you’re currently working on, like cooking. Clear your mind of other things, and keep a notebook and pen nearby this way if something pops up you can jot it down and go back into what you were just doing.
I tend to use 2 calendars and a small notebook for things. Seems like a lot, but I use the calendar on my phone because if I am at the doctor or at work and need to schedule something I can. Then at the end of each week I look at the phone calendar and write it on the family calendar that we all add to. The notebook is more for things that I write down as I’m doing something else, so I don’t forget.
Keep lists for EVERYTHING. It’s that simple. Let me walk you through some idea of lists that will help you.
I keep a grocery list on my fridge. It is something that I learned from my sister. As soon as you run out or open the last one, you add it to the list. This way you never actually run out of anything. If I recall, she even has her grocery list on Excel on the computer and they input by category or aisle and print it before they go. I just re-write mine by aisle (because I know the stores to well), at least for now. This may change in the future.
Daily lists also keep me functioning on a regular basis. Having a list of things I need to complete daily helps me stay organized and the house cleaned. Check out the above photo for my weekly calendar. For example, here is my daily list with explanations to follow:
Do one load a day from start to finish. Wash, dry, and put away. It is not overwhelming because it is only one load and the majority of it gets done by itself. Unless you’re still using a washboard and hanging clothes (which I know a lot of people do through the summer). But it becomes a normal every day task that just gets done. Plus you can ask for help when it comes to folding and putting away depending on who the clothes belong too. This frees up some time over the weekend when you spend all day doing laundry. Or sometimes I feel like it piles up (dirty or clean). Then it is literally just a pile that becomes overwhelming and thus gets pushed to a different day or time.
Empty, fill, clean. Do it everyday, at least once. If it can wait until the next day (dishwasher isn’t full yet) even better. But at least put the dirty dishes from the sink to the washer each day. If you don’t have one, cleaning as you go works. Or if one person cooks, another cleans. You can also make this a family chore: clean, dry, put away. Either way not having a full sink before bed feels so much better in the morning.
Take Out Food
I do not mean call for take out either. Taking food out is as easy as pie, if you remember to do it. Every Sunday I write down what we are having for dinner each week. Every night I assess where we are with leftovers and then make sure there is enough for lunch tomorrow. Then I take out the meat or chicken, or whatever it is for the next day. It usually needs to defrost overnight and then I put it in the fridge in the morning or vice versa. To know what you are making keeps things SO simplified. It just makes sense.
Currently pregnant with Baby #2 I need to remember to take my pills each day. I have to take certain ones at certain times (twice a day) so I have that little reminder on my schedule so I don’t forget. I did try the alarm method a few times, but I don’t keep my phone on me 100% of the day, meaning when it went off it just annoyed everyone around it. Plus, I’ll dismiss it and forget about it completely. Having it on the daily plan makes me look at it millions of times throughout the day to be sure I take them.
Chores (In & Out)
I have a list of chores that need to get done such as vacuuming, dusting, deep cleaning, organizing, etc. Every day, Monday to Thursday, I have one particular indoor chore that must get done. The outside is usually my husband’s domain so he has that figured out in his own head and just works around the yard as need be each day. On the weekends, labeled above as Friday to Sunday, I have one HUGE thing that needs to get done. Maybe it is de-cluttering a closet or organizing a section of the basement. Either way, I have the weekend to do it. So I can work on it here or there, I can take breaks, or I can even skip a day. Don’t let skipping a day get you too excited, it still needs to get done, but it gives you leverage in case last minute plans pop up.
Sweep / Wipe Kitchen
This is an everyday task for me simply because the kitchen is where everyone enters and leaves. There is always something on the floor from outside, cooking, etc. The wiping up part, especially in the summer, just comes naturally to me as we are cleaning up after dinner. It’s so helpful to be sure it’s all kept up.
Picking up for us means putting the babies toys away, because he’s like a tornado that comes through when he’s awake. Sometimes it is loose papers or bills that need to get filed away that will pile up if we don’t do this non-stop.
Other things you might want to add – if it’s not already embedded into your system
- Make your bed
- Brush your teeth
- Pack lunches
- Lay out clothes / Iron clothes
Starting your day off right just feels better. It helps you to know that if you did that you can do the next thing. It helps to keep moving from one thing to the next and it doesn’t allow for you to drift into a state of depression. There is literally no time to dwell when you are constantly moving.
I would love to work with you more on this. There is so much more to uncover here like monthly items (birthdays, anniversaries, holidays) and household maintenance (usually done monthly or quarterly). Organization of schedules is my jam. Email me if you want to work 1-on-1.
See you next week for Gratitude.