This post and photography are courtesy of Nic Abraham.
Let’s be honest. The last several months haven’t been easy. In all honesty, they’ve been quite stressful. Many of us have had to cancel or rearrange our entire lives to stay healthy. Working from home and homeschooling rambunctious kids have become the new norm–and wearing a face mask is a must. Thank goodness for summer, but unfortunately, change is a-coming.
This month, parents have to decide if their mini-me(s) will start the 2020-2021 school year traditionally or remain at home in a virtual setting. On top of that, many companies are requesting that employees return to work. These changes add a little more stress to our already hectic lives. The only way to approach these changes is with a structured plan to help your family remain grounded while settling into a new normal. Here are some considerations to ease the transition.
Create a Calendar
Create a weekly schedule to ensure all your I’s are dotted, and T’s are crossed. If you’re heading back into the office, ask yourself, “How will my day change?” Some areas of change include wake up/sleep times, meals, grocery store visits, exercising, as well as quality time with loved ones and pets. If office work affects any of these areas, create a 7-day schedule that will fit all of your tasks effectively.
For those with children, meal prep, homework time and extracurricular activities may also be a consideration.
Set Daily Routines and Goals
Break the weekly calendar down a little further and set daily routines and goals. This could be waking up at 7 a.m., exercising, preparing breakfast, journaling, showering, heading to work, getting gas on your way home, walking the dog, making dinner, doing a hobby and relaxing…
For those at home with kids, routines might include waking up at 5:30 a.m., spending quiet time or reading, showering, preparing breakfast, waking up the kids, getting them dressed, taking them to school or logging onto virtual school, washing clothes, enjoying TV time, helping with homework, preparing dinner, spending quality time, doing a hobby and so on…
Whatever your reality, writing down the things you’d like to accomplish will help you achieve them. A consistent structure and routine help to ground your everyday life.
I have a love/hate relationship with physical fitness. Right now, we are on good terms as I realize the power of a good sweat. It’s necessary, not only for our physical health but also for our mental health. It helps us stay grounded and people who exercise tend to be happier. Incorporating at least 30-minutes of exercise 4-5 days a week also helps to manage stress. Whether you opt for gym time, running/jogging/walking, biking, home workouts or fitness videos, find a way to stay active. This goes for kids too!
Additionally, if you’re in the house and start to feel stuck, get moving! Step outside for some fresh air, take a quick walk around your home or around the corner. Sometimes, a simple change of scenery will do the trick and reset your focus.
These are stressful times. One of the best ways to combat stress and anxiety is relaxation. Similar to exercise, enjoyable activities and hobbies help ground us and keep our mental health intact. Plan time to unplug, time to enjoy nature and time to spend with loved ones. Tending to a garden or fixing a broken item can also be relaxing for some. Remember, it’s vital to pour into your own cup (life) regularly.
Another way to help with relaxation is by diffusing essential oils. Some oils to consider are:
- Bergamot: Relieves anxiety and tension
- Chamomile: Decreases stress
- Frankincense: Helps fight depression
- Jasmine: Helps with depression, anxiety and stress
- Lavender: Calming, can relax brain waves
- Rose: Helps fight depression and stress
- Vanilla: Provides a safe feeling
- Vetiver: Calming effects, helps with panic attacks
- Ylang Ylang: Calming and relaxing properties
If focus is an issue throughout the day, try diffusing rosemary, basil, or peppermint essential oils.
Stock Up on Hand Sanitizer
Give yourself peace of mind and keep hand sanitizer close. Grab a bottle or two for your work bag or make your own World Health Organization-approved formula.
Homemade Hand Sanitizer
- 1 cup 99% Isopropyl alcohol or 1 cup + 4 tsp. 91% Isopropyl alcohol
- 1 Tbsp. hydrogen peroxide
- 1 tsp. glycerin
- Distilled water
- Mix all ingredients, except water, in a 2-cup measuring glass.
- Add water until the mixture hits the 1 1/3 cups line. Mix well.
- Add to a squeeze or spray bottle(s) and shake well.
Plan for Healthy Meals
When adopting or settling back into a new routine, it’s essential to choose healthy food options. Stress can prompt us to opt for fast food, which provides empty calories and worsens moods. Nutrient-dense foods provide energy and fuel. If this is a concern, take a few hours each Sunday and prep meals to eat throughout the week.
Lastly, for something really simple, don’t ever forget that fresh flowers around your home or workspace. They are sure to brighten any day!