Now that Shelter-in-Place and self-quarantine has extended again, you’re probably starting to think more about how you’re going to spend your time.
You may have already noticed that you're spending time in new ways and spending more time with specific people, like your partner, your kids, potentially your parents, and more time at home, and cooking.
Needless to say, there are a lot of unpleasant and painful things that have come out of this Coronavirus epidemic, and that has been covered throughout the news and other outlets.
I happen to be an optimist and try to see the good in all situations. Perhaps you may already acknowledge some of the unforeseen benefits of this situation: you get to spend more time with your family, you no longer have to commute to work, be stuck in traffic, travel for work meetings, drive kids long distances for school, drive kids to multiple activities, or be in crowded places. You’re also probably spending more time walking in your neighborhood, spending more time outdoors.
In the midst of this global pandemic, we’ve been given a gift.
Something we never would have done for ourselves, but are only doing it because we’ve been forced to, which is to take more time to reflect, think, feel, and connect.
From the parents we’ve spoken to, it sounds like most families have been grateful for the additional time they’re able to spend with their kids. From eating midday meals with them, seeing their work from school, playing with them more, talking with them more. Parents are also seeing the sibling bond grow stronger, now that their kids are spending more time together.
Spouses are finding more unity because they need to act as one, in order to get through this tremendously challenging time together. They are connecting at a deeper level.
Before Covid19, your workdays were jam-packed with meetings, work, shuttling kids to practice, enrichment classes. The frequent phrase was “I'm busy”. If you’re a parent, your time is full. However, if you reflect on how you’re spending your time now versus before the Covid-19 pandemic, what's the same? What’s different? Have your priorities shifted?
Your mind needs space and time to breathe.
May is Mental Health Awareness month and we at SpringSpot are strong advocates of mental health for adults and kids, it’s a part of our DNA. It’s vital that you take time to recharge yourself mentally. Your mental health and physical health are equally important.
Right now, things may feel isolating and you’re craving that in-person social interaction. But in the absence of that, what can you do?
Tips for Taking Your Time
Now that we’ve been given this special gift of time, here are a few simple tips you can do to practice taking your time and giving your mind the necessary recharge that it needs:
1. Slow down. This is a tough one, especially for those of us that are always go go go. Don’t rush, take your time. Let your kids take their time. While eating breakfast, getting dressed, putting on their shoes, logging on for class. Give them time to experience. Allow them time to notice the small lady bug on the ground. More things come into focus when you slow down.
2. Celebrate the wait. Practice delayed gratification. Anticipation is good for you. It makes your brain produce dopamine and makes you feel excited and happy. In this get-everything-you-want-this-second culture, waiting for something can give you more satisfaction. We recognize the importance of delayed gratification for kids.
3. Write down wonderful moments. Take time to reflect on the things that have brought you joy and write them down. Allow yourself the time to remember the times worth reliving. According to research, recalling positive memories has positive effects on your mental health. No need to write long narratives, just a few sentences. Think about what made that moment so lovely. When you look at them again, it reminds you of what really makes you happy.
4. Focus on one thing at a time. You’re a parent and you regularly have to multi-task and plow through that to-do list. Though, try to focus on getting one thing done at the time so that you can take the time to do the important, not just urgent, things well.
5. Look around you. Really see your surroundings. If you’re on a walk, observe the trees, look up, down, side to side, behind you. Sometimes you’ll see things that were there all along, but you never stopped to notice them.
6. Take time to create. Some of you have already started doing this. You’re cooking, baking, sewing masks, writing stories, drawing, painting. Take the time to create something. Put your heart into it.
7. Listen. Listen to yourself and get attuned to what your mind and body need. Observe your feelings and behaviors. Act on them when you need. Listen to a guided meditation to calm down or help you let go.
Also, once the SIP and quarantine is over and things start opening up again, remember to keep doing these things. Continue to find ways to take your time and keep creating those wonderful moments. Don't just slide back into busy life. Use this gift of time now to keep the good things and let go of the rest.
The photo above is from my rose garden. It was the only rose that bloomed on this one particular rose bush. It was on the side, and I wouldn’t have noticed it had I not taken time to notice it. I hope that you’re inspired to do the same and stop to smell your roses too, whatever form that may be in. Your mind will be grateful and return the favor with more calm, clarity and energy.
For other ideas to help you take your time or give yourself a mental break, check out SpringSpot's guided meditations, including our Shelter-in-Peace meditation. It’s 15 minutes of calm to help you let go and rejuvenate your mind. You can also join some of our Live Classes or try our On Demand videos for adults and kids.